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Department ofPsychology


Sammi Bennett

Sammi Bennett

Sammi Bennett '19 forges her own path of environmental psychology

Sammi Bennett is a senior Psychology and Environmental Studies double major. Throughout her time at Santa Clara, Sammi has been passionate about conducting research at the intersection of these two fields. During her sophomore year, Sammi was able to travel to Bolivia through the university’s Global Fellows Program and the Hayes Fellowship. While there, she conducted research on understanding people’s intentions for seeking greenspace, and whether time spent in greenspace leads to sustainable behaviors. Now, Sammi is building off of this research and completing a senior thesis under the guidance of Dr. Birgit Koopmann-Holm in which she is conducting a cultural comparison of the United States and Bolivia. Through her project, she hopes to understand how individuals in different cultures perceive and use green spaces as well as human beliefs and actions concerning environmental problems. Her research may inform sustainable behavior change and focus localized pathways of sustainable development and urban infrastructure planning.

Recently, Sammi was awarded a Fulbright scholarship. After graduating this spring, she will be moving to India to research women’s participation in economic development activities, specifically in the field of clean-energy technology and entrepreneurship. She will partner with Pollinate Group, a social enterprise that micro-finances solar lanterns and other clean-energy products to impoverished residents in urban slum areas in India, as well as the Centre for Women Studies at Bangalore University. She will be delving into ways in which Pollinate Group can further involve women in its business model and advance women in the energy sector. Sammi says of her time at Santa Clara:

“I am extremely thankful for my time at SCU and the opportunities I have had to conduct research that bridges together psychology and environmental studies. I could not be here without the support of many mentors along my intellectual journey. In the future, I hope to pursue a degree in sustainable international development or environmental psychology, to continue learning how people interact with the natural world.”