Living and Researching 'Down Under'

Zoey RogersThe academic peer-review journal Ecophyscology has published “The Power of Connection: Sustainable Lifestyles and Sense of Place” by Zoey Rogers ’13.

Rogers, an environmental studies-sociology major from Seattle, co-authored the paper with her advisor, Elizabeth (Eshana) Bragg.

“My submission looks at the role that sense of place, which refers to a psychological construct of a place you feel attached to and has meaning to you, plays in motivating people to live a sustainable lifestyle in an urban setting,” she said.

Community gardens, farmers’ markets and political action organizations, Rogers argues in her paper, are components that can encourage individuals to connect with their community while being compassionate, environmental citizens. 

Rogers conducted her research while working with the SIT Sustainability and Environmental Action program in New South Wales, Australia, where she spent spring semester in a study abroad program.

Rodgers credits Whitman’s Miles C. Moore Professor of Political Science Phil Brick’s environmental politics class as part of the inspiration for her paper.

“I read a lot about the notion of sense of place in Phil’s class and found it incredibly fascinating,” she said. “I wanted to apply what I had learned in class into tangible research.”

Rodgers spent four months revising her paper and re-analyzing data with her advisor.

“It took a lot of editing; since it was peer-reviewed, we had to take their comments and edit it and revise it,” she said. “It was a very intense process.”

Rogers had never previously conducted such vigorous research as was required for her paper. However, she said that Whitman’s own academic standards helped her feel confident that she, too, could succeed at SIT.

“This whole process was really hard, but Whitman professors assign a lot of writing so I went into this project pretty prepared,” she said.

Though Rogers doesn’t plan to conduct environmental psychology research in the near future, she was thankful to have had the opportunity to study at SIT.

“I was living in Melbourne, in a totally new environment, in the same area with the people I was researching. It was a great experience to learn and be independent,” she said.

--Shelly Le ’14 is a politics major.