Student Spotlight: Samantha Wetherell

Jan. 26, 2022

Samantha Wetherell, Environmental & Water Resource Economics major

As a life-long environmentalist and recent student activist, I have long been involved in the conservation and environmentalist movement, but, in all the time I have spent in these arenas, I have seldom seen an environmental initiative that does not have a solely STEM-focused perspective. Oftentimes, discussions of environmental issues are discussed by STEM scientists for STEM scientists, leaving out nuances that social science, humanities, and the arts could bring to the conversation. I have thus witnessed - time and time again - people turn away from environmental movements as they feel overwhelmed by scientific jargon and as if the seemingly abstract effects of issues like climate change are divorced from their reality. Being a non-STEM student activist myself, I long felt disheartened for the lack of a diverse perspective in environmental activism and longed for ways to better communicate with people about the material reality of the effects of environmental issues.


I am therefore excited and honored to be a part of a program that addresses such issues— the Liverman Scholars program! The Liverman Scholars program, named after esteemed climate scientist and UofA professor Diana Liverman, connects diverse UArizona undergraduate students to each other and to local environmental realities while fostering dialogue and understanding across academic and community solutions for grand societal challenges. As a part of the first cohort of Liverman Scholars, I am proud to be representing the AREC department and demonstrating how it has prepared me to take on such an exciting initiative.


As an Environmental & Water Resource Economics (EWRE) major, one of the reasons I love my degree is due to how it stresses an interdisciplinary perspective. Using applied economics, EWRE has taught me how to use critical thinking skills, data analysis, communication, and policy, to look at the management of natural resources. By doing so, EWRE and the AREC department have given me the tools to help make a difference and bring about lasting environmental solutions. I’m grateful for the AREC department and my professors in EWRE for helping prepare me for a life of environmental work and helping employ me with the ability to start making environmental solutions with the Liverman Scholars Program!

Learn more about Samantha and connect here.