Mckenna Bean

SNU Tahoe Sustainability student Mckenna Bean.

Major: Interdisciplinary Studies in Sustainability

Class of: 2019

I started college as a psychology major at Western Washington University. Then I saw a documentary series on NatGeo called “The Years of Living Dangerously”. Learning from this documentary about what we really are doing to the environment really hit me hard. I live in an agricultural valley where there are water problems, like crops dying because farmers aren’t able to water them, which hurts the local economy as well. I changed majors to Environmental Studies, but it wasn’t exactly what I wanted. SNC’s Sustainability program is unlike any other program I have found – it’s exactly what I had been looking for.

My strengths in the interdisciplinary program I think come from my enthusiasm. I’ve always have had a mind where I can’t focus on just marketing, or digital arts, or something. I’m really excited about incorporating so many different things into everything that I do and melding them into sustainability.

SNC Tahoe Sustainability student Mckenna Bean backpacking in the Sierras.“I’ve always wanted to make a difference in the world, and I think sustainability is the best way for me.”

And it’s beautiful here! I love to hike. I used to live in Mammoth, CA, so I’ve always wanted to be around the Sierra Nevada mountains. I love the summer time here, and fog on the mountains. That’s my favorite thing in the whole world. When I see the fog I know it’s going to be a good day, it just makes me happy.

For my service learning project, I am working with the Boys and Girls Club of North Lake Tahoe. I am in the “chop shop” with chef Kristen, teaching about sustainability and healthy habits. It’s an after-school program for kids where they learn how to cook in their own kitchens. I’m teaching them about decreasing food waste, seasonal fruits and vegetables that are good for them, composting, and how palm oil and corn impact our environment. I’m really trying to influence the lives of these kids so they can have a healthier future.

In the future, I really would like found my own high school. I went to a private charter school that was very project based. I’ve always been inspired by education, and I think it’s really important to build that foundation for the people who are going to run the world in the next generation. They need a good education. My idea is to incorporate sustainability, immersing students in active learning in the outdoors. They would farm, learn about agriculture, and go hiking. In Bend, Oregon probably. I love it there. Getting good results from hard work pushes me into working even harder.

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Katherine Zanto
Program Chair, Interdisciplinary Studies

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