Your NameSanjana Roy
Cohort AssignmentAmericas with In-Person Intensive in Boston 2023
1. What do you see as your primary work at this stage of your life?

Having recently graduated college (May 2022), I still see my primary focus at this stage of my life as trying to learn and absorb as much as I can from the world around me. My current role is as a GIS Technician at an environmental consulting company called Stillwater Sciences. We focus on watershed and riverine science, restoration, and management. My position involves working with various groups of scientists across the company to support their spatial data and cartographic needs. This unique position allows me to work with many people and understand the many different kinds of projects my company handles. Through my work as well as engaging in personal exploration and learning outside the office, I have learned a lot about California's ecology within a short span of time. I feel like like my work at this stage of life also involves trying to understand the many complexities, systems, and processes that structure our environments. I am grateful that what I do allows me to piece together parts of this puzzle.

2. What role do you see as yours to play?

Given my passions as well as my concern for the future, I see my role as being able to facilitate a greater connection between people and their local, natural environments. I believe that the divide between our natural and 'man-made' worlds is the source from which many of the issues we face today stem. I aspire to help design landscapes that bridge this connection, build community health and an appreciation for local systems, and develop a unique sense of place, especially within urban landscapes.

3. What goals or aims do you have in regard to the above?

My goals, for now at least, are to be able to understand the dynamics of landscapes, both urban and natural, as said in the first answer above as well. I hope to be able to read landscapes and see them as a set of complex, intertwined processes, whether they be ecological, geological, social, historical, etc. It is with this foundation that I wish to act on restoring healthy processes and functions within ecosystems.

4. Where do you feel your next arenas for personal growth are?

Similar to the above, I think a big area that I want to develop in personally is learning how to see, or more so, learning to infer deeper meaning behind what I witness on a daily basis. A lot of what goes on around us, we take at face value and don't often question. Unlearning what we take for granted and questioning what can be different, what are the reasons behind which things are the way they are is something I want to get better at reflecting on. Therefore, developing my reflective capacity is what I see as an arena of personal growth for me.

5. And for professional growth?

I am currently in my stage of absorption and developing my understanding of landscape dynamics. I believe my next arena of professional growth is learning how to put concepts into practice: how to go about a restoration project, how to involve community in conservation, etc. I hope to be able to take more of a hands-on approach to the projects I work on. I wish to pursue a Master's degree in Landscape Architecture in the next few years and I believe this would help me grow in the practical aspects of this field.

6. What have you invested in to get you where you are?

At this stage of my life, I believe most of what I have invested has been my energy, passion, and time in learning, developing connections, and fueling my own desires to grow and move forward in the directions that I have chosen. I have been fortunate and privileged to have received an excellent education and the safety and security of healthy spaces in order to be able to devote all these 'investments' to my growth.

7. What fields of learning and which thinkers have been important in your life?

A field that I always look back to that has fueled my current professional trajectory, has been my discovery of the concept of Biomimicry, "innovation and design inspired by nature." Learning about this term in high school opened up a world of discovery through which I was able to make sense of a lot of my interests and how I envisioned them coming together (specifically design and science). Reading about Janine Benyus led me to go on to discover many other concepts and thinkers that have shaped my understanding of the world and the role I wish to play in it (The Ellen MacArthur Foundation, Robin Wall Kimmerer, Bill Mollison, etc.).

Of course, my parents have been thinkers that have naturally played a role in developing many aspects of my life, including my reflective practices, my determination, and my desire for learning. Many of these characteristics are mirrors of what I have seen in them.

8. Can you frame your philosophy or cosmology of life? What role(s) do humans play in it?

As someone who doesn't enjoy being very philosophical, I have honestly never thought about this question or have attempted to define what I view as 'life'. I guess I don't like to dwell too much on its greater meaning. I will say that I approach life with a need and desire to give back to the communities as well as the places that I have been fortunate to be a part of. I also approach it by trying to appreciate the wonderful natural bounties and beauties that our world presents and that everyone deserves to experience. This is what motivates me and fuels me to move forward in the direction I have chosen for myself.

Date CreatedApril 25, 2023