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When Sierra Generette began studying environmental science at North Carolina Agricultural and Technical State University, she assumed that her major would lead to a career working in nature or doing lab work.

But that changed when she learned about the human costs of pollution and people who are taking action to protect vulnerable communities.

“I never got to see environmental science in that lens, and I just thought it was so interesting,” she says. “It kind of made me feel like someone was a hero advocating for people that look like them.”

She wanted to help other young people connect environmental science to social justice. 

So as an intern with the Department of Energy’s Mentorship for Environmental Scholars program, Generette developed virtual environmental and climate justice trainings for middle and high school students.

Now the courses she created are offered for free through a program called Pre-College University.

Generette says she hopes they inspire young people to become a voice for change.

And she says the experience helped cement her interest in pursuing a career in environmental justice.

“I just feel like this is a place for me and I really hope that in the future that I can … make myself aware and just continue my journey in this field,” she says.

Reporting credit: ChavoBart Digital Media