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Faces of DePauw

Erika Marchant Alumni

The problem-solving processes I apply in the workplace are inseparable from the skills I gained in my classes.

Empowering Change

Because of my interest in Chinese language, culture, history and philosophy, I declared a major in Chinese studies during my freshman year. Professor Sherry Mou encouraged me to pursue the major, as I planned to study Mandarin the following summer in Beijing through Duke’s intensive language immersion program. 

My environmental geoscience minor offered a more focused lens to understand environmental sustainability, enhancing my understanding of the natural world and our relationship to it. Studying geology and earth sciences furthered my understanding of waste management, fossil fuels and climate change, and food production systems.

Particularly in my senior year, my coursework emphasized ways that environmental issues and phenomena precipitate ethical issues for both human and non-human stakeholders. With this, I saw the new ethics in society minor (environmental sustainability focus area) as a fitting way to summarize my ethics education. Each of the courses in my minor taught me how ethical and philosophical frameworks can assist in promoting sustainability and environmental justice.

One of the key learnings from my time at DePauw was the value of being a generalist, and the importance of a holistic perspective for approaching and responding to problems. Being a curious generalist serves me well in my new role. Despite being new to the tech industry and the business world, I’ve been able to make meaningful contributions to my project team at eimagine.

Owing to my classroom and extracurricular experiences, I am able to both recognize and act upon unlikely connections across my team’s work and effectively communicate with business-minded peers. Although my professional work is not directly related to my studies at DePauw, the problem-solving processes I apply in the workplace are inseparable from the skills I gained and the frameworks I was exposed to in my ethics and philosophy classes. Likewise, my ethics education strongly influences my current perspective on both environmentalism and corporate responsibility. Professors stressed the need for alternative understandings of nature, society and self in order to more ethically work toward a sustainable and abundant future; and readings answered a question of how one might live and learn in a way that is conducive to environmental justice.

Although my ethics in society minor taught me the many historical and institutional contributions to modern environmental ills, I also learned how individual action can empower positive change. With this, I am now committed to inclusive and sustainability-minded practices in my work and personal life. I feel empowered to maintain a climate-optimistic perspective, and hope to inspire others towards an action-oriented attitude!