Jake Greenberg '18 is mapping his future at Brandeis

The Environmental Studies and Business double major has a passion for building maps with geographic information systems

Jake GreenbergPhoto/Mike Lovett

Jake Greenberg '18

Jake Greenberg '18 was so sure he wanted to come to Brandeis that he applied early admission. He was less sure about exactly where he wanted to concentrate his studies. 

That uncertainty was one of the reasons Brandeis was the right fit for him.

"I liked that Brandeis encouraged opportunities to take classes from different disciplines and even to double major," Greenberg said.

That's just what he ended up doing. The Old Tappan, New Jersey native is double majoring in Environmental Studies and Business, and he's always finding places where his two primary studies intersect. He took some time to answer some questions about his Brandeis experience with BrandeisNOW.

What do you nerd out about?

For about the past year I've been nerding out about maps. I've been taking a course in geographic information systems this semester where I’ve learned how to use a GIS program in the class, and I've been using it to make a variety of maps about where I'm from in New Jersey.

I find it so cool that you can project important data onto maps. And it relates well to my environmental studies major. When you're trying to highlight environmental issues it's important to project it in a spatial, visual way, like a map. This summer I'll get to apply what I've learned in GIS when I work for Green Maps System in New York City.

What is your favorite place on campus?

Sachar Woods is definitely my favorite spot on campus. I'm a Community Advisor and I've taken residents out there to explore nature. It's especially nice in fall when you can see the changing leaves. It's a great representation of ecology in the area. You can also see turkey and deer. It's just a picturesque example of New England.

What has been your most rewarding experience outside the classroom?

The club involvement I've had has been remarkable. There's so much freedom in running the clubs and the scale. The more effort you put in and the more you work with others the better the events will be. I'm co-chair of the Senate Sustainability Committee, and we got a $20,000 grant through the Brandeis Sustainability Fund for a project to install more water fountains and water bottle filling stations around campus. To work with others who are really passionate about sustainability has been great for me.

How do you describe Brandeis to folks back home?

I describe Brandeis as an open-minded and discussion-filled place where people with different perspectives have the opportunity to pursue issues they care about. People here are so diverse in their perspectives that no issue is overlooked.

Which professor or instructor has had the greatest impact on you?

I took a class with Prof. Carmen Sirianni called Environmental Sociology, Politics, and Policy that I took with two graduate students. During the course Professor Sirianni encouraged me to go beyond reviewing the research of others and to pursue a topic that interested me and to do my own research. I interviewed the director of the Hackensack River Keeper about the organization and its history and the impact it has had. In all the classes I've taken with Professor Sirianni, he's really let me explore the environmental and development issues that effect where I'm from. That's really meaningful for me.

Jake Greenberg '18 is the Ted Bigman '83 and Family Scholar. He is also a 2017 World of Work Fellowship recipient, a 2016 Giumette Award winner and a 2016 Sorensen Fellow.

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