ASU student becomes global scholar of sustainability

Monday, May 7, 2018


Editor’s note: This is part of a series of profiles for spring 2018 commencement

Kylie Southard says she came to Arizona State University from her hometown of Eau Claire, Wisconsin, to explore the possibilities of many different fields, and to collaborate with people with different backgrounds, ideas and passions.

She began her ASU career in the field of earth studies, but it didn’t hold her attention.

“The fervency wasn’t there,” Southard said.

Then the environmental and resource management program at the Polytechnic campus caught Southard’s interest.

“I wanted something more math and science intensive that also had a clear focus in environmental science and sustainable concepts,” said Southard, who also is completing a minor in sustainability and is a Fulton Schools Outstanding Graduate.

Southard earned a Walton Scholarship from the ASU Global Sustainability Studies Program in 2017, a scholarship given to students who exemplify the kind of leadership needed to create a more sustainable world. As part of the scholarship program, Southard studied water resources and wildlife economy in South Africa. The experience built on Southard’s previous global work as a volunteer at a Thailand elephant sanctuary in summer 2016.

Besides studying environmental and resource management and sustainability, Southard served on the ASU Club Tennis Team officers board as the event coordinator and sang in the ASU Women’s Choir. She also loves to play the ukulele and piano, practice yoga and run — two years ago she ran her first half marathon.

After graduation, Southard plans to study field archeology and geophysical testing over the summer at the Center for American Archeology at ASU’s Kampsville Field School in Kampsville, Illinois. Then she’ll start an internship at Honeywell’s Aerospace Headquarters in Phoenix that continues through the fall. Southard also will begin the Environmental and Resource Management master’s program at ASU in the fall with support from the Phoenix Panhellenic Scholarship.

Southard sees her future as a hopeful place where she can positively influence the environment and people around her.

“I would like to engage in research globally and become a better public speaker,” she said. “I hope that I will be able to collaborate and be inspired by many remarkable people while also influencing other people with my own work.”