Jurin, Richard

Committee Member

Lahman, Maria

Committee Member

Gaede, Diane

Committee Member

Franklin, Scott


Biological Science


University of Northern Colorado

Type of Resources


Place of Publication

Greeley (Colo.)


University of Northern Colorado

Date Created





158 pages

Digital Origin

Born digital


In the natural sciences, countless studies have sought to quantify the environmental impacts of varying anthropogenic activities and have predicted and modeled future scenarios for the natural world under the siege of human forces. Faith for the study of and action to ameliorate environmental impacts is often put in the hands of scientists. However, little research has been conducted to look at the attitudes and perceptions future scientists have towards the environment with regard to anthropogenic environmental impacts, sustainability, and the future. Therefore, the purpose of this qualitative case study was to take an intensive look at one such group of future scientists, the Sputnik Institute (pseudonym) 2010 scholars. Specific questions addressed through the research included: What do students with an aptitude for the sciences perceive as our greatest environmental threats and solutions to said problems? What emotional impacts are associated with internalizing thoughts on environmental issues? How do thoughts on environmental issues impact perceptions of the future? What role does spirituality/religious beliefs and family play in perceptions of environmental issues? What are participant's major sources of information regarding environmental issues? When interviewed post-program, have participants gained further knowledge regarding Sustainability and what would they wish to cover if given the option to take a course on Sustainability? Multiple approaches were employed to answer the outlined questions including, but not limited to: pre and post open ended questions, multiple semi-structured interviews, post program interviews, participant reflexivity, critical self reflexivity, and participant observations. Findings of the study indicate that indeed, the future generation of scientists are concerned for both current and future anthropogenic environmental impacts as well as the feasibility of achieving sustainability, though they may currently lack the educational tools necessary to make a switch to a sustainable paradigm a reality.


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