• Anne-Marie Hanson '03

    “What’s funny is that I completely switched my majors because of experiences in my anthropology and study abroad courses.”

Anne-Marie Hanson '03

Changing Majors

“I originally chose Luther because of the music and science programs,” Anne-Marie says. “What’s funny is that I completely switched my majors because of experiences in my anthropology and study abroad courses,” which, she says, had a huge impact on her.

Recognizing Gender Biases

“In one of Dr. Lori Stanley’s courses, we had a unit on gender and linguistics where we timed faculty speeches at a meeting and surveyed the group afterward to ask who spoke the longest. It was telling that both men and women thought female faculty spoke the longest, even though the timer said otherwise!”

Anne-Marie says this activity introduced her to normalized gender biases and cultural expectations for how men and women should behave in different settings. “As a female faculty member, I distinctly remember that assignment,” she says. “I also see its relevance in inspiring my work in feminist political ecology, sustainable development, and environmental justice.”

Working Toward Sustainability and Gender Equality

Anne-Marie’s career has been inspired by her study abroad courses. “I went to the Brazilian Amazon with Dr. Nick Gomersall for an environmental economics course, urban and rural areas in Nepal with Dr. Stanley for an anthropology and development class, and studied abroad in Mexico City at UNAM [National Autonomous University of Mexico] for nine months,” she says. “All of these experiences were life-changing and inspired my current career and research,” she says.

“In my current role as an assistant professor of environmental studies, I teach courses in international sustainable development, environmental justice, environmental ethics, environmental sciences, and social sciences,” she says. “I also work with the Gender and Water Alliance, and I’m a gender and social science consultant to the UNEP [United Nations Environment Programme] on their initiatives linked to the Clean Seas campaign to keep plastics out of oceans.”

Anne-Marie supplements her work with research that focuses on two environmental topics. “The first links plastic pollution in Illinois rivers to the current global health and environmental crisis of marine plastic debris,” she says. “The second intertwines politics and ecologies of community waste management, nature protection, and gender and climate change in coastal Mexico and the Caribbean.”

Advice for First-Year Students

“Try new experiences and take advantage of opportunities for travel, volunteer, and join co-curricular groups. Try a class (or several!) outside your major. Find what inspires you.”

—Anne-Marie Hanson

Anne-Marie’s Co-Curriculars at Luther:

Her Work-Study at Luther

“I worked at Marty’s café. I met lots of great students and friends whom I otherwise would not have known.”