Erica Fox (Class of 2013)

Update: July 2014

enlarged photo of Erica Fox on graduation day"After graduating Cum Laude from Miami University in the spring of 2013, I joined the corps members of Teach For America. I was placed in the rural Eastern North Carolina region to teach special education. I was very excited to be accepted and chosen to become a special education teacher. What has made this experience even better is that I was placed at a high school to teach special education science. My environmentally focused co-major at Miami gave me the content knowledge and background to assist in my science lesson plans, but my major in Anthropology gave me everything I needed to adjust to new surroundings and living situation.

"In the summer of 2013, my Teach For America training began with 'teacher boot camp' called Institute in Cleveland, Mississippi. For 5 weeks I lived in the dorms of Delta State University and received training primarily in pedagogy and behavior/classroom management. I taught with 3 other new corps members in a high school English summer school classroom in Greenville, Mississippi.

"Given that I was not an education major, this past year has been a roller coaster of experiences and I have been challenged greatly. I have to thank Miami's professors, advisors, and rigorous classes that without that background, I'm not sure I would have survived my first year teaching.

enlarged photo of Erica Fox and colleagues"Although I am currently teaching at one of the lowest rating high schools in North Carolina, I could not imagine completing my two-year TFA commitment anywhere else. I love the students of Northwest Halifax High School. They mean the world to me and I am looking forward to making my second year even better. Hopefully this year will include starting up an environmental awareness club on campus and educating students more about the importance of living sustainably.

"During the school year of 2013-2014, I taught Biology, Earth and Environmental Science, Physical Science, OSC Biology, and Life Skills Science 1. I was also a member on the School Improvement Team, and as a special education teacher I had the responsibility of over looking and managing 8 students in writing their IEPs (Individualized Education Programs), which includes their academic and transition goals for this upcoming school year. Lastly, I solely organized the opportunity for the Thirst Project to come to the high school and speak to the students regarding the global water crisis and what they can do to get involved."

Original Conversation: January 2012

"My name is Erica Fox and I'm from a small town in New Jersey. Choosing to attend Miami is the best decision I've made in my adult life thus far. Going away to school was a scary thought at first, but once I became a part of the Redhawk community, I knew I made the right choice. I've had some of the best experiences and created fantastic memories that I will remember for a lifetime. Classes, professors, friendships, relationships, travel, fun, organizations, honor societies, internships, and social events are just a few words to sum up my years at Miami—so far!

"I entered Miami knowing that I was going to major in anthropology and this became my steppingstone to adding the environmental principles and practices co-major (now the sustainability co-major) and the global perspectives on sustainability minor. These areas of study fit together perfectly. I knew I would be able to handle it and still graduate in 4 years with time to take extra classes that fulfill my curiosity. It has been challenging, but very enjoyable."

Green Oxford

enlarged photo of Erica Fox at Green Oxford event"As a member of Green Oxford, the student environmental organization, my interests and connections blossomed. I made wonderful friends and was elected secretary my freshman year. I helped organize the 2010 Trash Pile Display, the Great Miami River cleanup, and the 2011 Earth Day 5K. I also did trail maintenance around campus, as well as a trail in Hueston Woods State Park.

"Green Oxford is a fantastic organization and I've learned a lot! At our meetings, we welcome speakers and often our own members give presentations on their environmental experiences and other topics of interest."

Sustainability Committee

enlarged photo of Erica Fox working at event"Green Oxford is also a gateway to other opportunities. In 2009, I applied for an open position on Miami's newly formed Sustainability Committee. As a first semester freshman, I was nervous because I did not know much about committee demeanor. I got the position of undergraduate representative and I really enjoyed working with professors, other undergraduates and graduate students. It took a few weeks for me to be comfortable to speak in front of these important and prestigious members of the Miami community, but soon I felt like they respected me and my ideas.

"The subcommittee I served on worked to update the environmental principles and practice co-major. This was a great experience to learn about the inner workings of the university. I never knew how much time it took to create (or change) a major or minor. It took almost a year to have all our changes approved, but I learned a lot about my co-major and how important most of the classes are to understanding environmental studies."

Student Employee

"I work as a student-aid in the Department of Anthropology office. Through this work opportunity, I met almost all of the professors in my major and I've gained some handy office skills. Working as a student-aid is a smart way to earn cash, learn a great deal, and create many useful connections within one's field of study. It also looks great on one's resume and of course, it's an awesome and pleasant job!"

Environmental Internship in India

"I've always wanted to study abroad. Given that Miami has excellent study abroad advisors and many amazing programs, I just had to figure out which program was best for me.

enlarged photo of Erica Fox with cow in India"One day, an anthropology professor asked if I'd be interested in spending fall semester in the foothills of the Himalayas. She talked to me in detail about the program and then she said the one thing that really received my attention: a guaranteed environmental internship with the Tibetan Government in Exile's Environment and Development Desk (similar to our EPA).

"Of course I liked the idea of living in beautiful mountain scenery, but it took a lot of courage to finally say yes and organize everything to go. I now consider India the hidden treasure of the world, because if you look hard enough, you can find the most peaceful and beautiful parts of life.

"I was able to combine my interests of cultural anthropology and the environment and come out with new friendships (domestic and abroad), memories that I will never forget (good and bad), and a new understanding of the eastern hemisphere. I learned about Tibetan and Indian culture, in class and out in the real world. I lived at Sarah College and in the city of McLeod Ganj, both in Himachal Pradesh, India. My home stay, in the staff quarters of a school, was with a mother and her 23-year-old daughter; the mother was the school's chef.

enlarged photo of Erica Fox and friends in India"The other students and I took classes at the college and then at a monastery. I learned about Tibetan Buddhist philosophy and the beginning workings of the Tibetan language. I also took a class in applied anthropology, for which I did a research project on running water availability among households in the McLeod Ganj area and its connection with socioeconomic status. This project definitely allowed me to connect all my interests and put everything I've learned so far at Miami to use.

"And I did get the internship at the Environment and Development Desk! My job was to research and write a small report summary about Tibetan nomads and their connection to grassland degradation on the Tibetan Plateau as well as with the effects of Chinese policy. Surprisingly, this topic was very interesting and I was able to take an anthropological perspective on an environmental topic, which I fully enjoyed.

"It sure will be different this semester because when I look out the window, I'll see brick buildings instead of beautiful mountains, but I cannot wait to see what else is in store for me at Miami!"

[January 2012]