Photo by matt d'annunzio

Rennie Meyers ’15

environmental studies & history

Hometown: Bronx, NY

Who I was when I got to Reed: I was ready to have integrity matter and to set my own high standards.

How Reed changed me: Ask for what you need. Reed is hard enough as it is. Students owe their classmates and professors good work and commitment, but the school owes you support—and it’s usually there. Own your community.

Word to prospies: If you were that kid who was pissed off because people cared more about the grade than the material at hand, you will find a home here. Professors are brilliant and excited to work with truly engaged students, and other excited students make you better.

Favorite class: In History of Science, 1680–1880, Prof. Mary Ashburn Miller [history 2008–] showed us how to deploy historical methodology and theory, while critically engaging the methodological origins of Western science itself. The ways that we come upon ideas or revelation, the ways we approach the biological world, are deeply embedded in human social norms.

Outside the Classroom: Lived in the Reed pool. Was student body vice president. Went surfing with the Gray Fund. Let off steam in the ceramic studio. Led a trip to see the lunar eclipse with Sky Appreciation Society. Worked as a divemaster in Puget Sound. House adviser.

Thesis: Justifying the Field: the Evolution of Marine Science in Monterey Bay, 1880–1970

What it’s about: How industrial, military, and social interests altered the meaning of ecological thought in Monterey Bay, California. Over a century of shifting social priorities and new funding sources, educational institutions prioritized different parts of Monterey’s ecology over time to capture those changing interests.

What it’s really about: People (with the resources to do so) will find any excuse to be in the field. Scientific success often went hand-in-hand with a sense of wonder. 

What’s next: I’m off on a Watson Fellowship to investigate coral conservation in Thailand, Fiji, Brunei, and Japan. Coral restoration highlights the different ways that people think about their own agency in dealing with the impacts of global climate change.

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