Student Feature: Maria Arantes
What are you studying, and can you tell me about yourself?
I am an international student in my junior year majoring in psych/science on a pre-med track with a minor in studies of consciousness. After college, I want to go attend graduate school to study Psychology and receive a PsyD. I have lived in Italy and Brazil my entire life until I came to the United States to pursue my studies. I am a trilingual individual who speaks English, Portuguese, and Italian, which is why I am interested in studying the intersection between language and psychology.
What are you involved in on campus or in Tucson?
I am a Communications Assistant at the Arizona Institute for Resilience under the Environment Program. Arizona Environment builds and supports a vast network of cross-campus, interdisciplinary research, environment-focused experts, and community engagement and outreach programs and events. I am in charge of the Environment Program’s Instagram and Twitter accounts and carry out other marketing tasks when needed. I am also a Communications Assistant at the Confluence Center. The Confluence Center is a research institute that supports interdisciplinary artistic scholarships at UArizona. I also have an internship with a program called Growing Girls at the College of Public Health at UArizona and work in a child cognition lab where I run studies about language development in infants. In this role, I present weekly after school lectures at Estes Elementary School about mental health and help young girls navigate elementary school, puberty, and growing up.
What sparked your interest in environmental sustainability? Which environmental issues are you most passionate about?
Since I have lived in many countries throughout my life, I have seen differences in how and why each country cares for sustainable practices. I find it very interesting that these countries vary significantly in their perspectives towards environmental sustainability. The topic I find most interesting is how consumerism has contributed to the climate crisis across the globe. Working for AIR was my first step into the environmental field and learning more about the climate crisis through my role has made me realize that there is still hope for people to restore the planet’s health. I’ve learned that there are many things we can do to protect our planet both collectively and individually. We all have our own part to play, and it is important for individuals to start small.
How does your major shape your outlook on sustainability?
Since many people may think that psychology and medicinal studies are unrelated to environmental sustainability, they can impact one another. Climate change affects the mental and physical health of people. When associating psychology with sustainability, I think about how environmental factors affect stress levels in individuals and societies. On the other hand, physical health is affected from our altered environment by health-related issues like respiratory and heart diseases.