Celeste Gunderson

What are your majors? People-environment geography and environmental studies

Expected graduation: May 2022

What inspired your interest in the environment and/or community? While growing up in the city of Milwaukee, I had the privilege of living next to the Milwaukee River green space, where I continuously interacted with nature and the wildlife of Wisconsin. Each walk in the woods presented a new and exciting discovery of our environment; a wild turkey, a family of deer, a great horned owl, a lone coyote, or a once endangered and still scarce Butler Garter Snake.

This proximity to Wisconsin’s wildlife meant that the environment played a large role in my life from a very young age. These positive experiences have developed my desire to protect green spaces within every environment, therefore allowing everyone to have some form of access to the natural world.

What would you say (or do you say) to other students about CESP and the Nelson Institute? CESP is a wonderful way to meet other students who are interested in environmental issues. While we share the similarity of an environmental major or certificate, each student also comes with their own interests and majors which make discussions super interesting. The seminar highlights how career fields of all different backgrounds can be oriented towards environmental initiatives. CESP is also a great way to learn about environmental and community related opportunities offered at UW-Madison.

Something few people know about you: I volunteered at the Wisconsin Humane Society Wildlife Hospital two summers ago and had the chance to care for a variety of adorable baby wild animals, including baby possums, squirrels, and goslings.

Something else about you? I love running (especially trail running) because it is a great way to relieve stress while also getting to enjoy the outdoors!