Hunter Geography Alumni Focus


An Interview with Emily Li, BA, Environmental Studies, 2020

I graduated from the Department of Geography and Environmental Science in May 2020 with Honors in Environmental Studies. During my undergraduate career at Hunter College, I was able to focus on studying environmental health, urban ecology, and wildlife in the city of New York.

Double majoring in environmental science and Chinese, I was able to combine all my interests and take advantage of all of the opportunities that not only New York City offers, but also Nanjing, Beijing, and Shanghai. The courses that I took at Hunter such as Earth Systems Science, GIS Analysis, and Field Ecology of NYC, provided the skills necessary and prepared me for my internship at The Nature Conservancy in Shanghai, along with my current internship.

Currently, I am interning at the Bronx River Alliance in New York City, aiding with the improvement and restoration of the Bronx River Corridor, so that it can be a healthy recreational, educational, ecological, and economic resource for adjacent communities. Many of these communities are socioeconomically disadvantaged and have been hit hard by the COVID-19 pandemic. As an intern, I design interactive virtual story maps using ArcGIS, and analyze water quality monitoring data and the disparity between upstream and downstream areas along the river.

My Environmental Studies Honors Thesis focused on soil pollution; I worked with Dr. Sara Perl Egendorf and Professor Haydee Salmun to produce Effects of Soil Lead Concentration, Soil Management, Washing, and Washing Techniques on Urban Grown Lettuce, and my Chinese Capstone Thesis focused on China’s air and water pollution, yet I feel as though I have only scratched the surface of the effect of pollution on cities. I now wish to study in greater depth, while focusing on specific urban challenges, which has inspired me to seek a Master’s degree so that I may gain additional knowledge and skills in order to analyze and apply data most effectively.

I hope to bring people and nature together, establishing a new legacy of environmental stewardship through research, collaboration, and commitment.

Published: March 30, 2021