Alumni Profile: Emily Litvack '03 (Pre-U '04)
Emily Litvack can’t trace the origins of her passion for environmental causes, but she says that it was nurtured at LCC. With the support of Linda Gendron, former assistant head of student life, Emily and her classmates created an earth club focused on environmental issues. And science classes, she says, were inspiring, with teachers like Chris Olive, Kevin Callaghan and Marguerite Comley, who were all invested in their students and demonstrated that science was theirs to discover.
Emily’s love for science has only grown since leaving LCC. With a bachelor’s degree in environmental science and conservation biology from McGill University, Emily spent a year in Israel at Hebrew University working as a research assistant on a variety of environmental projects. But it was only once back in Montreal that she developed an interest in environmental education while working at Teva Quebec, the Quebec Jewish coalition for the environment.
“It is important to me to combine my commitment to the environment with activism and social justice,” she says. “So it was particularly meaningful when, as part of a Teva program, I led a group of high school students on a community service trip to New Orleans following the BP oil spill. For one weekend, we worked in the wetlands to restore the habitat that had been destroyed.” In another community service trip that Emily led, students participated in an intercultural environmental justice program with members from the Mohawk, Anishnabe and Atikamekw First Nations communities.
Already fully immersed in the world of environmental protection, Emily wanted to deepen her understanding of the field. She completed a master’s degree in environmental and conservation education at New York University, after which she continued to educate students and motivate them to take up environmental causes. At the Central Park Zoo Emily taught ecology and conservation in a summer enrichment program for children ages 6-12 and led the Summer Teen Internship program. She also served as the head biodiversity conservation instructor at the American Natural History Museum and currently teaches science and conservation at the Hewitt School for girls.
“One of the things I am most proud of is being a part of so many different projects that empower young people and equip them with tools to become more aware of the world around them,” Emily says. “This is how they can make a difference and it’s a privilege to guide them through the process.”
The LCC motto, Non Nobis Solum, is a value that Emily carries with her and tries to instill in her young students. “Collectively working for the common good was a real motivator at LCC,” she says. “What I try to share with my students is that environmental issues are actually about helping people, because our communities can’t thrive without a healthy environment and resources.”