Meet Erin Rhodes, Fall Intern
Erin has moved to Birmingham for the semester to volunteer with Gasp as an Environmental Justice Intern through Wheaton College’s Human Needs and Global Resources (HNGR) program. Welcome to Birmingham, Erin!
What is your major and why did you choose it?
I study Environmental Science with a certificate in Human Needs and Global Resources at Wheaton College, a liberal arts school in the Chicago area. I have always been interested in many disciplines, so was drawn to the interdisciplinary nature of Environmental Science that includes both natural systems (Ecology, Chemistry, Geology) and the social side of how we interact with our environment (History, Politics, Ethics, Anthropology). Keeping in mind our place in relation to the earth grounds my study of how to promote human flourishing.
What do you hope to do after you graduate?
After I graduate this year, I hope to work with an organization like GASP that links environmental issues with community engagement. I want to have my own garden, get to know my neighbors, and spend a lot of time outdoors.
What is your dream job?
Oof, what a question. My dreamiest dream is to be part of an intentional community that has a hospitality or education outreach program. Cooking, teaching, living with others, learning about the place I’m living, all the great stuff.
What do you hope to learn while interning with Gasp?
I am excited to see how communities are resisting environmental injustices through organized action.
Why is our mission to reduce air pollution important to you?
It is so important to call attention to the injustice that corporations and consumers benefit from the toxification of other people’s air. I am particularly moved because air is so personal – becoming part of your breath and always surrounding you.
What is your favorite food?
Fresh peaches, sauteed zucchini, curried lentils with good rice, pumpkin muffins.
What are your hobbies?
Singing! Hiking, biking and gardening. Drinking tea, journaling, reading poetry, and baking.
Who or what are your influences?
My parents, mentors, friends, and professors but also authors:
- Wendell Berry (poet, novelist, essayist)
- Jared Diamond (historical geographer)
- Richard Foster (theologian)
- Jayakumar Christian (theologian)
- Gustavo Gutierrez (theologian) and
- Mary Oliver (poet)
What are some other fun facts about yourself?
- I have a twin sister who is almost 6 ft tall! (I am 5’6”)
- I speak Thai but can’t read
- My favorite animals are cows
- My superpower is finding four leaf clovers
- I haven’t paid for a haircut in 5 years
Deputy Director, Outreach
Kirsten has been part of the organization since its inception. After a year of volunteering to help establish Gasp, Kirsten accepted the role of executive director in 2009. It is Kirsten’s hope that future generations will inherit a healthy Alabama where clean air and water are valued and protected.
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