Erica Berejnoi ’16 Earns Ph.D. in Sustainability


Erica Berejnoi

Erica Berejnoi ’16

In less than a month, Erica Berejnoi ’16 will defend her Ph.D. dissertation in Sustainability at Arizona State University.  This monumental educational achievement is a milestone in a journey of learning that began at Berea College, where she majored in Asian Studies and Business Administration.  As a Berea student, Erica spent time in China and discovered a love for Chinese culture that later blossomed into an exploration of holistic spiritual traditions that have informed her work as a scholar of sustainability.  “The classes I took on Asian Studies have helped me a lot during my time at the Ph.D. program at ASU,” says Erica, who has authored or co-authored six scholarly articles and one book chapter thus far. Her dissertation, entitled Dancing through the Inner Dimension of Sustainability: An Autoethnography, investigates the connections between sustainability, spirituality, and happiness – research that was supported, in part, by a Phi Kappa Phi Love of Learning Award.  She writes, “Sustainability goes beyond the numbers: you can see it at the table with the foods you eat (or do not have), on the streets with people and animals passing by (if you are fortunate to live in a place where you interact with animals outside the home), on your ability to get up from bed each day, or how you treat yourself and others…Sustainability is a journey we live every day.”  Congratulations, Erica!  We are very proud of you!