Dorothy began her Rutgers journey as a biotechnology major. A second semester course in human ecology led by associate teaching professor George Clark and then a fall semester course in environmental design with professor Laura Lawson changed everything. She had an epiphany and realized that she wanted to learn more about our ecosystems and how we and other organisms interact with and affect it. During her first year, Dorothy also participated in one-week internship experience at Key Foods grocery store in New Brunswick as part of a Douglass program externship that pairs students with non-profits, businesses and organizations. While there, she realized they needed to compost the food scraps from their juice bar. This made her wonder what Rutgers did for food waste management. She created the Compost Club at Rutgers and built three compost bins behind the Cook Organic Gardens (by the Ecology building). Not only have the bins provided finished compost to gardeners, but since Fall 2017, it has also been incorporated into a Rutgers course, “Sustainability: Tackling Food Waste,” to educate students about the importance of composting and to teach them how to do it. The bins have become a living classroom! They also started a food scrap collection service encouraging students to drop off their scraps. The club also does outreach events in the New Brunswick community talking about composting and the importance of our soils.
Dorothy's post-graduation plans include a bike ride across the country to Portland, Oregon. And she isn’t peddling just to see the country. Dorothy and 10 other students are doing this to raise funds for Elijah’s Promise, an organization with whom they’ve been volunteering 8 hours each month, learning about the nonprofit soup kitchen and the fight against food insecurity and poverty. Afterwards, Dorothy plans on gaining additional experience by working in the public or nonprofit sectors, focusing on waste management, the environment, and/or equity. She is considering AmeriCorps or the Peace Corps programs to gain perspective and then possibly continuing her education in graduate school.