Kristin Weeks ’15 is proof that good things come in threes. Case in point: She is a triple major in biology, sociology, and political science. As such, she takes classes in both the College of Arts and Sciences and the Maxwell School of Citizenship and Public Affairs. Weeks also has been nominated as a University Scholar, one of Syracuse’s highest undergraduate honors. Although graduation is a few months away, she is already is one of the College’s more decorated seniors.
We recently caught up with Weeks, who plans to go to graduate school, to find out how the Rule of Three has applied to her Syracuse experience.
What inspired you to become a triple major?
I’ve always been intrigued by the biological sciences. While doing research in ecology, I began to realize that many environmental issues have sociological causes and implications. As a result, it’s important to know how they relate to government and policy. With biology, sociology, and political science, I’ve been able to create a trifecta that addresses the facts, causes of, and solutions to environmental and public health issues.
What do you like about the departments with which you’re affiliated?
Each department has a distinct program that enables me to work with a research mentor, present research to my peers, produce capstone projects, and participate in research presentations. Combined, all three departments offer considerable depth and breadth of scholarship.
What sort of research are you doing?
I’m doing research in all three majors. In biology, I’ve conducted five greenhouse experiments on campus and have done fieldwork in Mulobezi in Zambia [Africa]. Most of my work has involved nutrient limitation on plant growth, particularly in conditions that mimic the environmental stresses associated with climate change.
In sociology, I’m doing a qualitative study of sexual discourse experiences of members of the Conflict Generation.
My political science research consists of a study of the Global Environment Facility [a partnership for international cooperation, where 183 countries work together with international institutions, civil society organizations, and the private sector to address global environmental issues]. I’m looking at how GEF’s output meets the environmental and economic needs of developing, non-Annex 1 countries.
What else are you involved with at Syracuse?
I volunteer for the Office of Health Promotion [a unit within the Division of Student Affairs], where I serve as co-chair of the Athletics Committee for Take Back the Night; and as a Mentor in Violence Prevention, conducting peer facilitation.
I’m also a member of the Honors Advisory Board [part of The Renée Crown University Honors Program, administered by A&S]; a Remembrance Scholar; and, this semester, a member of the Coronat Scholars Selection Committee in A&S.
Lastly, I work part-time in the University’s Tutoring and Study Center; and, every week, I volunteer as a breakfast chef at the Ronald McDonald House Charities® of Central New York, where I create menus, using my own recipes and ingredients, which I purchase with the money I make from tutoring.
What do you like most about Syracuse?
The campus community is made up of kind and giving people who are engaged with the world. One way this is evident is with SU Abroad. I’ve been able to study abroad, thanks to the guidance, financial support, and flexibility of the Honors and Coronat programs, my three academic departments, and A&S administration. All of them made it possible for me to study conflict and nutrition, while doing a sexual health communication internship in Florence, Italy; to conduct two field studies in Mulobezi; to study global governance at the University of New South Wales in Sydney, Australia; and to complete a climate-change research rotation at the University of Edinburgh in Scotland.
How does it feel to be a University Scholar nominee?
It’s very humbling. In a way, it represents a step toward achieving one of my first goals at Syracuse: to give back to the University through research, in order to thank them for giving me the opportunity to attend SU as a Coronat Scholar.
Also, it’s a way to acknowledge my parents, Tom and Paula, and my brother, Joshua, for being such fantastic teachers and role models.