Keelan Long

Keelan Long What is your major?
Global Development Studies with a minor in Ecotheology

What is something you wish everyone knew about your major?
Whenever I tell people that I am majoring in Global Development Studies, their response is usually “Oh, what is that?” It can be hard to explain due to the complexity of the field and its history, but one of the easiest ways I’ve found to describe it is finding ways to alleviate the effects of poverty while increasing the agency and capabilities of individuals and communities in lesser developed areas of the world (which is still a complicated description, but usually tends to clear up most confusion).

What was your most impactful class or professor?
I don’t think I can choose one class or professor as the most impactful as I had so many amazing professors and interesting classes. However, one of my favorite classes was environmental science with Dr. Long and Dr. Nelson. It was cool to be able to fulfill some of my general education requirements by exploring the forests and beaches on Blakely Island for a week. 

What are some of your career goals?
Global Development is such a broad field that there are multiple career paths that I would love to pursue. However, one of my main goals is to find a career where I can work at the intersection of human and environmental concerns. The environments the world’s poorest live in often coincide with the areas hit hardest by the effects of climate change; caring for our planet is important, but so is caring for the people. 

Post-grad, my summer plans are working on a small farm on San Juan Islands so that I can learn more about climate resilience in agriculture and other sustainable agricultural practices. I’m looking forward to learning how to apply this knowledge to the global development field, and spending my summer outside all day is a plus!

What advice do you have for incoming students?
Study abroad! It can seem intimidating at first, but it is so worth it. Living in a different context can help broaden your global perspective and you’ll gain a deeper understanding and appreciation for other cultures. I made lifelong friends with both American and Thai students through my program in Chiang Mai, Thailand. It’s helpful to meet with the SPU Study Abroad Office early on during your time at SPU so they can help you plan!