Yes, you will learn how to use a chainsaw … and that’s just the beginning.
You will graduate with a robust résumé, a senior thesis, and a deep, abiding determination to reshape humanity’s relationship with the natural world.
Sterling College’s graduating ecological stewards go on to careers as ecologists, artists, professors, writers, farmers, entrepreneurs, directors of environmental organizations, librarians, city planners, foresters, Peace Corps volunteers, and teachers. They become the doers, thinkers, scholars, and practitioners that will transform the environmental landscape of the 21st century.
“The strong and lasting relationships with my professors were also some of the most effective and memorable things about Sterling. The whole model is based around relationships with the students, the faculty, the field of study and the place. I feel Sterling has and does continue to offer experiences that do just that, exactly what we need in all educational experiences.”
of alumni were employed in their field within one year of graduation.
of alumni feel their community contributions make the world a better place.
of Sterling alumni are satisfied with their work, compared to the national average of 51%.
of alumni felt better prepared for the workforce as a result of the Work Program.
of alumni work in a field of their choice.
of alumni feel their Sterling experience empowered them.
of alumni strive to live by example.
of alumni identify as environmental stewards.
of alumni use the hands-on skills they learned at Sterling in their lives.
If they could start their college experience over again, 74% of alumni would still choose Sterling.
of alumni said Sterling influenced them to live authentically.
Sterling College inspired passion in 95% of alumni.
of alumni have a stronger appreciation for rural places because of their Sterling experience.
of alumni volunteer in their communities.
graduation rate and 100% retention rate based on 2019 IPEDS.
Meet Sterling Alumni Ecological Thinkers & Doers:
A Sterling College education builds the skills, knowledge, and experience of its students holistically. Not only will you leave with the skills to survive and thrive on an expedition and the interpersonal skills needed to live in a community, you will also develop the following competencies:
1. Ecological Fluency
Achieve a sophisticated understanding of and personal engagement with ecological systems.
- Understand the processes underpinning ecosystem function and the distribution of life on Earth.
- Recognize and assess interrelationships among human and non-human communities.
- Practice place-based field observation and interpretation, using methods from different areas of study.
- Engage with the natural world through direct experience outdoors in a variety of environments and seasons.
2. Knowledge of Intersecting Social Contexts
Understand societies and cultures as dynamic and complex systems of relationships and interdependencies.
- Understand and critically engage with intersecting social systems.
- Demonstrate cross-cultural understanding.
- Integrate contextual understanding in real-world situations.
3. Critical and Creative Thinking
Use research and creative endeavor to explore concepts, experiences, and artifacts.
- Gather information from a wide variety of primary and secondary sources.
- Analyze and synthesize information.
- Design and conduct qualitative and quantitative research.
- Demonstrate creative problem-solving across areas of knowledge.
- Exhibit proficiency with appropriate technical skills and tools.
4. Communication Skills
Articulate ideas and share information clearly, using a diversity of approaches.
- Express ideas in a clear, informed, and engaging manner.
- Demonstrate fluency with oral, written, and other forms of communication in a variety of contexts and to a variety of audiences.
- Listen respectfully to others and participate in civil dialogue.
- Develop the capacity to express individual voice, perspectives, and creativity.
5. Socio-Ecological Engagement and Practice
Become effective environmental stewards and community members.
- Demonstrate responsibility within human and ecological communities.
- Cultivate and practice self-awareness and personal resilience.
- Apply skills and knowledge to help build community and ecological resilience.
- Participate in discussion and decision-making in a range of situations.
- Exercise leadership and cooperation, including when facing challenges.