Shanti Belaustegui Pockell

We enjoyed a recent visit from one of our 2015 graduates, Shanti Belaustegui Pockell, currently in her second semester at Humboldt State University in Arcata, California. Her major in Environmental Studies allows her to indulge in an interdisciplinary, liberal studies-style curriculum through an environmental lens. She loves her new school and lives on campus in environmental-themed housing with nine other girls.   

“Here at HSU there are three branches of environmental pathways you can choose: Environmental Studies (focusing on social and political sciences),  Environmental Science (focusing on the scientific aspects,) and Environmental Management and Protection (focusing on things like park ranger services and educational outreach),” explains Shanti. “I am excited to be focusing on the humanitarian type of work associated with the environment. Some of the required classes for the major include: Power Privilege and the Environment, Politics to a Sustainable Society, Ecofeminism, and Earth Resources.”

“I also hope to possibly minor in Native American Studies, as I feel that we can base and alter many solutions to contemporary issues off of ancient indigenous belief and practises.”

“The cultural exposure that GS brought to me has made it incredibly easy for me to relate to things I am learning, and people I am meeting. Also, being in a community that did embody sustainability has given me a great background [for] my new pathway.”

“I am so happy and grateful that I was able to experience and learn in such a great environment, with such amazing teachers,” says Shanti, who these days walks into the redwoods with her guitar when she needs a study break. “I would say that Green School has definitely shaped me into the person I am, and given me the inspiration for what I want to be.”

Shanti attended Green School for four years, beginning in grade 8 and progressing through high school at an accelerated pace to graduate in only three years. Upon the completion of her sprint through GS HS, Shanti wowwed the community with her Green Stone presentation entitled  Why Question?

“The greenstone experience also has been very beneficial to me, as it was amazing to have something of that level to focus on for a year.”

“Honestly, Green School prepared me very, very well for college. I feel that Green School is a school where if you do take ownership and responsibility for your own education, you can get far, and be prepared. However, the opposite is true for the opposing attitude.”

Upon completing her freshman year at Humboldt, Shanti plans an internship working to preserve biodiversity in the world’s largest rainforest with Colombia-based Gaia Amazonas, a contact she made through Green School.

Written by Ibu Melinda Chickering

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