Zoie Dalby grew up in tiny Chester, California, on the shore of Lake Almanor not far from Lassen Volcanic National Park. The wealth of wilderness inspired a love of the outdoors in Dalby, as well as curiosity about the world outside her town. Dalby is pursuing these passions with a double major in religious studies and environmental science and management.

“Growing up in a rural area, I wasn’t exposed to a lot of different cultures and a lot of different identities, so that was something I really wanted to focus on at college,” Dalby said.

I always like to joke that studying religion is like getting to see the world, but cheaper.

On the surface, religious studies and environmental science may appear to have little in common. But Dalby said her courses complement each other because both majors focus on ethics and making the world a “more cohesive unit.” “I see environmental science as the scientific side of how we should do things, and religious studies as more of a moral side of how people view the world,” she said.

Although Dalby aspires to a career that allows her to address environmental issues, she plans to continue exploring her interests in religion after graduation. “I would love to travel and see many of the cultures I have studied, and perhaps even study with religious communities,” she said.

Best advice: Start early on a double major

What I did was only declare one major, but take courses in the other early on to see if I liked it. It is easiest if you make some headway early, even if it is just a class or two. I still remember the first time I tried to declare for my second major and having an advisor tell me they typically did not do that for first year students, but they were willing to because I already made headway on both degrees by taking at least one course every quarter. 

Favorite class: RST 30 (Abrahamic religions)

This was one of my first religious studies classes and it was with my absolute favorite professor, Eva Mroczek. She made us feel welcomed and got to know all of us. I think it was in this course that I built my religious literacy.

Find out more about a major in Religious Studies.