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Kathleen Broadhurst '05

Photo of Kathleen Broadhurst, Class of '05

My time at PVPA gave me the skills to blend together ideas from multiple disciplines, taught me to see patterns beyond the obvious and kept my imagination alive. Today I work with a mix of qualitative and quantitative approaches that would’t have been possible without a background in the arts.

After PVPA I studied History at UMass Amherst which gave me a strong grounding in research technique. After graduating with my BA I took a job working as a travel writer for the local magazine GoNomad. As I traveled and wrote I became exposed to more and more environmental issues. From solid waste in Nepal, health conditions in India, animal rights in Thailand and more. I began to explore alternative ways for living with ecological problems and visited several eco-villages to study and write about them.

After traveling on and off for several years I returned to the States and began my own company The Good Life Collective which operated for 4 years. Eventually I realized I wanted to be able to do something about the many global issues I had seen up close in my travels and to deepen my knowledge of Climate Change and sustainability.

I moved to Boston with the intention of attending Harvard University’s Extension Sustainability program, one of the first of its kind. While at Harvard I concentrated on Environmental Policy and International Development with a focus on South East Asia. My thesis “Understanding Canals in Bangkok Using Historic Maps and GIS” explored the ways in which urban development, waterways, and Buddhism interact in Bangkok, Thailand. I still have a strong academic interest in She has a special interest in environmental history, GIS, urban planning and sustainable tourism.  

After graduating with my master’s I became a consultant for EplerWood International a sustainable travel and development consultancy. There I had the privilege to work on several large projects, including for the United Nations and a report to Congress.

Too often today we see Science and Art as separate entities in competition with one another. The reality is much more interesting and complex than that. My understanding of science has allowed me to more fully appreciate the creative nuances of art. My creative work has improved as I have learned the scientific method, it has helped me ground my ideas in form. On the other hand art makes science come alive. Without imagination to see possible outcomes hypothesis lay dormant and unexplored and data that can be riveting falls flat. There are amazing stories waiting to be explore and shared that are currently locked away in string of numbers.

GIS, Global Imaging Systems, has been a key gateway for me to combine both my artists and scientific sides. By combining data and story telling you end up with a richer, more real experience, of an issue. Maps can be beautiful and I never make one without thinking of it as art. It can be amazing the patterns that can be revealed in maps!

I encourage everyone from PVPA to explore the way the Arts can be shared with the world in non traditional ways. The STEM world is hungry for imagination and design skills, for those people who can help convey information without losing meaning and for those who can communicate. Drawing, acting, singing, dancing all of these allow you to hone your imagination, your ability to tell stories and convey truth and are very needed in our world today.