Environmental studies graduate looks forward to career making positive change

Rising up at KUEC: In this Q&A series, outstanding 2022 KU graduates share how the KU Edwards Campus has helped them start, advance, or change their career. Meet Cloey Adrian. 

Cloey Adrian graduates with environment studies bachelor's degree

Cloey Adrian, 21-year-old Bachelor of Science in Environmental Studies May 2022 graduate, said choosing KU and the Edwards Campus was the best decision she has made.

“The environmental studies degree is unique and versatile and has provided me with new opportunities in both my academics and future career options,” Adrian said. “The staff and professors are all kind and caring and have been essential to my success in getting my degree and finding a career path that is perfect for who I am and what I am wanting out of life.”

Adrian completed an internship with the City of Overland Park under the direction of another standout KU graduate from the Edwards Campus, Ian Fannin-Hughes, in the summer of 2021. During her time as an intern she helped discover a serious sewage leak into Tomahawk Creek and alerted city staff. She also discovered concentrations of tubifex worms (indicators of poor water quality) in several places in Indian Creek and decided to follow that discovery up with more in-depth research for her senior capstone project, highly acclaimed by her professor, Mark Jakubauskas.

Learn more about her story and experience at KU.


What is a typical day in your life like?

A typical day in my life looks like a balance between work, school, family, and finding some personal time. I see my family as often as I can and focus a lot of my free time on my academics. I consume a lot of caffeine and making time for my dog and loved ones is always a must.

What makes you the happiest?

My loved ones and family are what makes me happiest in life. Besides them, what makes me the happiest is when I get to spend time outside!

What motivates you?

I am motivated by the idea that I need to leave this Earth as a better place than how it was when I got here, in every way. The earth and nature itself, as well as leaving a positive impact on the people I have gotten to meet and the ones I have yet to meet.

Why did you choose KU and the Edwards Campus?

It was always a dream of mine to go to KU, but with out-of-state tuition, it was not a realistic option. I stumbled upon the Edwards Campus when I was trying to find biology or environmental degrees within the KC area. After seeing what the degree had to offer and speaking with the staff, I fell in love with the campus and the environmental studies program. I was able to make that dream come true and choosing KU Edwards Campus was one of the best decisions I could have made.

How did KUEC meet your personal and/or academic needs?

KUEC met my personal and academic needs by being both affordable and providing an exceptional educational opportunity. The environmental studies degree is unique and versatile, and has provided me with new opportunities in both my academics and future career options. The staff and professors are all kind and caring and have been essential to my success in getting my degree and finding a career path that is perfect for who I am and what I am wanting out of life.

How has your degree prepared you for the future?

This degree has prepped me for my future by providing a variety of opportunities through my education, from resume and recommendation letter help, essential classes on the variety of topics in this field, and even outside opportunities such as internships and potential jobs. The courses and their professors focus on helping their students succeed not just in school, but when their students are done as well.

What was the most difficult part of earning your college degree and how did you overcome it?

I would say the most difficult part of earning a college degree would be finding a balance between school and outside life. Finding the time to work hard on academics becomes challenging between working full time and maintaining a social life and finding time for yourself. Overcoming this took practice, creating set schedules, sacrifices and even failing on some occasions. Finding a schedule, amount of credit hours, and taking courses that you enjoy and are motivated by make the struggle all worth it.

What is your proudest accomplishment?

I would say my proudest accomplishment is that I have been able to maintain working and full-time school for the past four years. This has allowed me to succeed both in school, and outside of school and has better prepared me for life when I am no longer in school.

What is your favorite memory of your time at KUEC?

I think my favorite memory from during my time at KUEC would have to be the outdoor classes I got to take in field ecology, with Mark Jakubauskas. It was truly a fun class, getting to meet other classmates; being outside lets us learn hands-on and was a nice change of scenery.

What are your long-term career goals and how do you plan to achieve them?

My long-term career goals are to find a path in environmental science that I am passionate about and can find a career that allows me to do work that is making a positive change. After gaining some more work experience and finding what exact field I am most interested and passionate about, I would love to pursue a master's degree, potentially in water quality or ecology.

What advice would you give others who are thinking of earning a degree, whether a first-time bachelor’s, a second bachelor’s or a master’s?

My advice for anyone pursuing a higher education, would be for them to not be afraid to choose a different style and to get their degree at a pace that works best for them. Even if it’s not as many credit hours or courses that others are taking. To get your degree in a way that works best for you and your life is the easiest guarantee of being successful and achieving a degree.


Learn more about the environmental studies bachelor’s degree.


This program is supported by the Johnson County Education Research Triangle.

Learn more about the Environmental Studies program

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