Sara Xing Eisenberg
Sara Xing Eisenberg grew up in Manhattan and attended the Bard High School Early College (BHSEC). After four years immersed in BHSEC's advanced curriculum, she knew Bard was the next step. “I already had a sense of the academic life, with the small classes at BHSEC and great professors, so I wanted to continue that type of education.” All of Sara’s credits transferred to Bard, which opened up opportunities in her course schedule and even allowed her to work on her Senior Project abroad. Sara is now completing a joint major in Environmental and Urban Studies (EUS) and Asian Studies.
Sara chose EUS in part because she grew up in a sustainably conscious, vegetarian household. “Protecting the environment has always been present and important in my life." She wanted to connect her interests in the environment, Chinese language, and Asian cultures. Undertaking the joint major allowed her to take classes in all these areas.
When asked what surprised her the most about Bard, Sara spoke about the prominence of the international population. “I really love that there are so many international students. I have so many international friends. Being a person who loves to travel, it is helpful to have friends all over the world!” Even coming from Manhattan, she was struck by the diversity of Bard's campus. Sara credits Bard for her newfound independence and sense of responsibility. She reflects, “The most rewarding part of Bard is the freedom I have to write what I want to write and do the projects I want to do, both inside and outside of the classroom.”
Sara has participated in a number of clubs, activities, and programs during her time at Bard. During winter break of her first year, Sara joined the tropical ecology program on the Caribbean island of Montserrat with Bard College at Simon's Rock. While there, she was able to delve into her love for fieldwork and a hands-on approach to learning, while exploring the outdoors through hiking and snorkeling. She has been active in the Harvesting Justice TLS project, which aims to help small farms in the Hudson Valley by working with the Freedom Food Alliance to address social inequalities. She also held internships with Hudsonia, an environmental research group based in the Hudson Valley, and with the Jane Goodall Institute in Beijing, China. Additionally, she has competed as a member of the soccer, track, equestrian, and rugby teams at Bard.
Sara’s Senior Project expands on Professor Chris Coggins's research on the culture, landscape, and wildlife of the Southeast Uplands in China. She credits her biology courses at Bard for giving her the blueprint to create her Senior Project. Her research explores the species richness in four dominant habitat types in Meihuashan Nature Reserve in Fujian Province. Her project also investigates the land use management, forest composition, and hunting regulations in the reserve. She set up 20 camera traps to collect data on the number of individual species detected within each habitat type and the relative abundance of each species. She is simultaneously interviewing local villagers and reserve officials in order to collect data on the cultural ecology and local perceptions of hunting and wildlife in Meihuashan.
Sara hopes to live in China after graduating from Bard. After interning there twice, she wants to return and become fluent in Chinese. She looks forward to continuing her environmental work and expanding her knowledge of Chinese culture.