Cristina Bahaveolos

What are your majors? Chemistry with a certificate in environmental studies and Chicana/o and Latina/o studies

Expected graduation: May 2021

What inspired your interest in the environment and/or community? I grew up in a small town in Wisconsin where words like “sustainability” and “global warming” were not part of my daily vocabulary. However, a desire for and commitment to social justice was always a prominent force in my life. When I came to UW-Madison, I learned how immediate the climate crisis was and how it would only continue to exacerbate the social, economic, and political issues I cared about most — including those prevalent in my hometown.

Having grown up deeply influenced by this community, I’ve always understood how important community is in the education and values of the individuals who grow up in them. My interest as a scientist in the intersection between the environment and community lies in scientists’ capacity to inform and empower communities to defend themselves against environmental injustice and implement effective and socially sustainable practices.

What would you say (or do you say) to other students about CESP and the Nelson Institute? If you are passionate about the natural environment, the Nelson Institute is an amazing place to develop the skills and network needed to have the impact you want. If your passion for the natural environment is intersected with a social commitment to your community, CESP is an incredibly nurturing and supportive environment that gives you the resources to start helping your community now, as well as the development opportunities to really grow as an agent of positive change.

Something few people know about you: I was originally a political science major.

Something else about you? I love to cook and am really interested in how to consume more sustainably in a way that both reduces cost and improves heath.