Ecopsychology Student Experiences

There are many ways students use their MA Ecopsychology degree after they graduate. Below are some student experiences as well as information about their career paths post graduation.

Dakota Limon, MA Ecopsychology 2020

Dakota is currently pursuing a PhD at the California Institute of Integral Studies in Ecology, Spirituality and Religion, where her skillsets cultivated in the MA Ecopsychology program directly affected her ability and desire to do so.

"The benefits of the Ecopsychology program at Naropa for young professionals is multifaceted: it provided me with a conceptual understanding of transdisciplinary approaches to creative problem solving for our world’s ecological crises. I came to the Ecopsychology program with a background in the natural sciences and the understanding that, while significant, that particular paradigm of methodologies for engaging the world was greatly limited. It allowed me the space to explore for myself what is most meaningful in service of all life, where my particular gifts were in engaging that, while also providing me with the applied tools to follow these insights professionally. Now, I am well-equipped to be on a PhD track with teaching opportunities, work for the California Institute of Integral Studies as a program manager in the department of Professional Psychology and Health, and explore the realms of teaching and leading group mindfulness meditation, which comes directly from the Ecopsychology program’s dedicated encouragement of it students and communities to engage contemplative practice. It fulfills the holistic requirements of resourcing its students both inwardly and outwardly, particularly where proficiency in community building and engagement, leadership, creative entrepreneurship, and written/communication skills are concerned. I am so thankful for my time spent at Naropa University and would not hold this wealth of professional opportunity without my experience as a master’s student in Ecopsychology."

Jakob Ledbetter, MA Ecopsychology 2017

Jakob is the Assistant Program Director or Rites of Passage Journeys, overseeing Rite of Passage Programs for youth and contract programs for youth, as well as designing and facilitating leadership training programs. Having been introduced to ceremony, depth work, and rites of passage by the MA Ecopsychology program, coupled with his Vision Quest experience redirected his life toward pursuing a career in the file of wilderness-used rites of passage.

"Rite of Passage Journeys fosters self-discovery, community belonging and connection with the natural world in youth, adults and elders. Through contemporary rite of passage experiences and education, we initiate soulful leaders for the next generation. We guide wilderness retreats and adventures for ages 8 - 80+ and provide training, mentorship and support for schools, organizations, houses of worship and individual leaders. We honor soul-work, deep human values. Our heart and soul is supporting kids to transition into adolescence in conscious, healthy, mentored and empowered ways through wilderness rite of passage experiences.  Our vision is a world of vibrant, multi-generational communities in which all people are guided to recognize and give their gifts in service to a thriving planet."

Carly Chouteau, MA Ecopsychology 2020

Carly has a Transformational Midwife and Coaching business: Celestial Mud. She works primarily with millennials who are struggling with feeling stuck, lost and powerless to change their circumstances to breakthrough and rebuild trust with their intuition, activate their purpose, identify how they want to show up in the new paradigm and to co-create that reality.

"Transpersonal Ecopsychology program was crucial to creating this coaching program. Ecopsychology studies the interconnection of our health and well-being to that of the planet. The issues plaguing our society today: consumerism, hatred, depression, anxiety, obesity, etc. stem from a disconnection with self and the larger Self (the more-than-human world). To regain trust with oneself changes the game. Hearing the call of our souls and activating our purpose creates a sense of fulfillment not addressed by the current societal norms. The knowledge I gained in Ecopsychology allows me to integrate nature-, energy- and mindfulness-based practices into the work. It allows me to see what's happening on the micro (with my clients) and the macro in a deeper way. And supporting shifts on the individual level ultimately supports the larger shift in paradigm that we are currently experiencing."

Zahara Indigo Rønlov, MA Ecopsychology 2014

Zahara is the owner and operator of Mysteries of Egypt, LLC, offering sacred pilgrimages in the land of Egypt. She is also Owner and Operator of Khemenu Wisdom Center, a school fostering wholeness in those who attend. Zahara also owns and operates a private practice, Sacred Witness, working one on one with clients.

“The Ancient Egyptian Pantheon is deeply ecopsychological by nature and is tied into much of my work. Egypt was a focus of my thesis. This program enhanced my ability to offer what I do to my clients whether on tours, in classes, or in private sessions. Everything I do focuses on the unity/balance of the psyche, ecology, and spirit. Ecopsychology is an essential field that is helping the future be whole.”

Azul Degrasso, MA Ecopsychology 2020

Azul works for Denver Public Health and is a Senior Workforce Development Specialist, training public health professionals around racial equity, cultural responsiveness, and sexual health. For her, the Ecopsychology program shifted her work to approach these topics from a non-dual lens and was essential to her personal and professional growth.

"As a graduate student of Naropa University's Transpersonal Ecopsychology program, I have gained a robust understanding of material culture related to transpersonal psychology, the more than human world, non-duality, and how a contemplative approach refers to learning as a whole. The education I received at Naropa is why I applied and was accepted to a Ph.D. program at the California Institute of Integral Studies. The 2020 cohort produced three applicants to CIIS, who were admitted to doctoral programs. Two of us decided to move forward with our Ph.D programs. The faculty of the Ecopsychology Department showed me I could further career in an integral way of developing and evaluating the use of 5-methoxy-N, N-dimethyltryptamine (5-MeO-DMT), and other entheogens from an ecopsychological perspective. I want to see if such compounds can create a transcendent experience of interconnectedness with the natural world. I want this examination to emphasize the hypothesis that 5-MeO-DMT can facilitate beneficial shifts in human consciousness on both individual and collective levels through a deeper understanding of ecological identity and climate crisis."

Shea Armstrong, MA Ecopsychology 2017

After graduation, Shea founded Rite in the Wild – a business that offers nature-based support for people going through life’s important transitions. Shea is also a conservation coordinator with the Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission (FWC).  As the Florida Shorebird Alliance Coordinator, Shea oversees a statewide partnership that aims to recover endangered shorebird and seabird populations. Additionally, Shea is the editor of The Wrack Line newsletter about shorebirds and seabirds. As editor, she more than doubled subscribership, attributing that increase to changing the newsletter from purely scientific, technical writing, to a story-telling format that she learned during her time at Naropa.

"The ecopsychology program gave me the confidence to build my own business and work one-on-one with clients. It taught me how to listen and give attention to people in need. My business helps transform the world by being an ally to people during their pilgrimage home to Self and Place, by building lasting relationships between people and the non-human world.

The Ecopsychology program is one of the greatest opportunities in modern academia, as the program at Naropa is at the forefront of the academic field of Ecopsychology and is the leading influence of applied ecopsychology outside of academia. Humanity is in the midst of a reckoning with nature and programs like Ecopsycholgy at Naropa will be mainstream in future higher education."

Tessa Stuart, MA Ecopsychology 2017

After graduating from Naropa, Tessa received an opportunity to work for the Denison Pequotsepos Nature Center (DPNC) in Mystic, CT as an Environmental Educator. DPNC’s mission statement is to inspire and nurture appreciation and scientific understanding of the natural world and foster a personal environmental ethic.  DPNC is situated on a nature preserve of many acres, and as an educator for this organization, she plans lessons and activities and provides opportunities for nature play on a daily basis for students on this land.

“I feel everyday I am actively engaged in supporting children through nature, and by doing so I am preserving the future of this land and our global ecology through these children. I am privileged to both recognize my responsibility in advocating for the plant and animal species in my bioregion and to have a platform that makes this possible. Without the Transpersonal Ecopsychology masters program at Naropa, I would not have recognized my own deep, ancestral connection to the natural world, nor would I have come to understand my responsibility to the natural world through direct action and education of younger generations. Without this program and Naropa, I would not be continuing my education further to gain additional skills and knowledge in the science of ecology and conservation in order to have a greater personal impact on the preservation of the natural world."

Susan Loonsk, MA Ecopsychology 2007

Susan Loonsk is an artist, Professor Emerita of Art & Ecopsychology at University of Wisconsin- Superior, master Naturalist, and founder of ART-TO-EARTH.

"As a Professor at the University of Wisconsin-Superior, I taught Art and Art therapy courses. Over the years with increasing climate change and paralleling political and social unrest I found that Ecopsychology practices provided students and myself with a deeper, wiser, and broader understanding of ourselves within the world. Ideas that the  students seemed to crave.  I developed and taught  a course, called "Ecopsychology and Art".  It was popular for  art and non-art majors.  I no longer teach in Wisconsin but have  moved to West Virginia and with the help of my Ecopsychology degree I've become  a Master Naturalist with the Potomac Valley Audubon Society.  I hold occasional Workshops in  Art and Ecopsychology. I have also formed a Non-profit, ART-TO-EARTH ® Inc,  which is a center for Expressive Ecopsychology encouraging  environmental awareness through art. We hold Workshops and Activities in Expressive Arts with the Earth in mind and heart."

Patricia Hasbach, MA Ecopsychology 2008

Patricia, founder of Northwest Ecotherapy, and a self-employed Private Practice Clinician, where she sees adults and couples, employing a variety of treatment modalities including ecotherapy. She is also the co-Director of the Ecopsychology Certificate Program in the Graduate School of Counseling & Education at Lewis & Clark College, having taught there for 12 years. She is the co-author of two MIT Press books : Ecopsychology: Science, Totems, and the Technological Species (2012) and The Rediscovery of the Wild (2013) and sits on the Editorial Board of the academic journal, Ecopsychology.

“I had my PhD in Counseling Psychology and was a practicing psychotherapist when I came to Naropa in 2006. I wanted to learn all that I could about the emerging field of Ecopsychology. I developed a firm foundation in the field under the mentorship of John Davis and Jed Swift. I have been a leader in the development of Ecotherapy and nature-based methods of treatment since."

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