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Undergraduate Student

Kelley Anderson

Senior, Forestry


When I first applied to Virginia Tech, I had no clue what career path I wanted to take. The one criterion I had in mind was that I wanted to love my job. Growing up, I always wanted to be outside, whether fishing, hiking, or playing sports. After looking into the many options Virginia Tech has to offer, I finally landed in the College of Natural Resources and Environment.

At first I was a wildlife science major. I loved learning about the interaction between animals and their ecosystems, but I was not quite satisfied. I transferred into the natural resources conservation major and loved learning about the connections between people and their environment. But in the fall of 2011, I joined the Forestry Club and finally found my niche. Not only did I love working outside in the woods, but the group of people in forestry will forever be my lifelong friends. I finally felt at home. That was when I decided to change my major one last time to forestry with an option in forest resources management.

Going into the major, I hardly knew anything about trees and the forest products business. Now, after several years in the field, I can’t get enough of it. I enjoy every aspect of it — the biology, ecology, silviculture, operations and harvesting, and landowner interaction. I feel very fortunate to be in a field in which I truly enjoy going to class every day. I like to spend my free time with the Forestry Club, whether just getting together on the weekends and enjoying each other’s company or practicing timbersports at the wood shop. I never imagined myself chopping and sawing wood in competition with other people, but now it is one of my favorite activities!

I am also involved in Pi Beta Phi Sorority. I sometimes feel as though I lead two completely different lives. My sorority participates in a lot of community service activities to raise money for our philanthropy, literacy. When I am not out with my forestry friends, I spend time reading to local elementary school children, volunteering at book drives, and working with the Literacy Volunteers of the New River Valley. Luckily, I am still able to pursue my love of animals by volunteering at the Montgomery County Humane Society.

My intention is to start a career in land management assistance or timber procurement. Another path that interests me is continuing school to study biomass harvesting and efficiency for renewable energy. I am very excited to be a part of the Leadership Institute and cannot wait for what’s in store!

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