What is your name and current title with the University of Montevallo?
Dr. Susan Caplow, associate professor and program coordinator of environmental studies.
Where are you from and what city do you currently reside in?
I’m originally from Minneapolis, Minnesota, and I currently reside in Montevallo – I love to walk or bike to work!
If you hold any degrees, what are they in and from what schools?
I have a B.A. in Public Policy Analysis/Biology from Pomona College, an M.Sc. in Environmental Sciences & Policy from Central European University and a Ph.D. in Environment & Ecology from UNC-Chapel Hill.
How long have you worked here?
I’m in my 10th year at Montevallo.
Did you hold any previous positions here? If so, what are they?
I came here straight from my Ph.D. program, but before I went back to school I worked in environmental education. I worked at Carolina Raptor Center, Haw River State Park, Monteverde Butterfly Garden, Warner Nature Center and Rancho Santa Ana Botanical Garden.
What brought you to Montevallo?
I was offered the opportunity to work with awesome people to create the first Environmental Studies major in public higher education in Alabama. The position was a great fit for my interests and experience in interdisciplinary environmental programs.
What’s the best thing about working for Montevallo?
The people – everyone here is so helpful, kind and supportive.
Do you have any interesting stories about one of your favorite experiences here?
In 2019, I was lucky enough to plan and lead a Coastal Conservation Education class trip down to the Florida Keys. While we were there, we got to meet dolphins, sea turtles, birds, fish, alligators, etc. and we got to go snorkeling with President Stewart. An amazing time was had by all.
What’s your proudest accomplishment since being at UM?
I’m really proud of two things. First, creating the Environmental Studies major filled an important niche that students can’t find anywhere else in the state. I’m also really proud of the UM Environmental Education Program – we started this in 2019 to connect K-12/public audiences to the swamp, garden, lake, observatory and main campus. It’s been so fun to see UM students and field trip groups learn and play together outdoors.
Why do you belong at Montevallo?
I belong at Montevallo because I love being in a place where people really care about others as individuals. There is so much support here – not just for students, but for faculty and staff who want to follow their passions and interests for the good of the community, on and off-campus.
Anything else you want to say?
Come find me if you have any ideas for sustainability projects or programs on campus!