Emily Nagamoto, an Earth & Climate Sciences (ECS) major, recently shared insights into why she chose to major in ECS, what she has learned, her favorite experience and advice for students considering the major or ECS coursework. 

Why did you choose to major in Earth & Climate Sciences?

"I love being in nature and seeing the incredible processes of Earth. In particular, I am fascinated by the different cycles and interactions of the atmosphere, the ocean, and humans, and I want to learn more about Earth systems and dynamics.

Given the gravity of the climate crisis, I am passionate about learning about the climate system, and I want to conduct climate science research in order to help move our societies in the right direction. Additionally, the field courses seemed like an awesome way to experience real earth/climate science and looked like a great opportunity. I also really like the ECS community, everyone comes from different backgrounds and are very friendly." 

What have you learned from the major and its courses?

"I have learned about climate change and the climate system from scientific and social lenses. I have learned about past climate through taking a paleoclimate class, about the physical properties of the atmosphere through an atmospheric chemistry class and an atmosphere and ocean dynamics class, and about how climate science interplays with economics and policy through an interdisciplinary climate class. Most importantly, each class shows me how important our relationship with nature is, and how through science we can better understand our impact in order to change it."

What's been your favorite experience as an Earth & Climate Sciences major?

"My favorite experience has been studying abroad in Copenhagen and taking a class called Ice Cores and Ice Ages, where we investigated past climates and climate data in order to understand how ice ages shaped the planet and our understanding of climate.

Through the class, I was able to travel to Kangerlussuaq, Greenland and visit the Greenland ice sheet, which was an awe-inspiring experience. The experience drives me even more to pursue climate research, both because of the urgency I felt from seeing the effects of climate change so visibly on the ice sheet and because it gave me a taste of what field work might look like."

What advice would you give a student considering majoring in Earth & Climate Science?

"Do it :)! If you are interested in the science behind natural processes, if you want to understand earth’s systems especially as they are related to climate, if you think rocks/the atmosphere are cool, if you like the idea of being outside and working in nature or the idea of working with data that means more than just numbers… this major is for you.

Reach out to anyone in the department, everyone is very nice and friendly and will most likely be happy to talk about the major and the possible classes. Feel free to reach out to me too! Also, even if you don’t think you want to major in ECS, still take ECS classes!! Earth and climate science is appliable to every field and will go a long way."