Looking back at my childhood, it doesn’t add up that I’m in the College of Natural Resources and Environment. My exposure with the natural world was limited. As a child I came home from school and watched television or played video games, but those habits changed as got older. In high school, I found an affinity for photography and reading National Geographic. If I would have to attribute anything to my sudden interest in the natural world, it would have to be those two things.
I accepted my admission to Virginia Tech without ever visiting campus, so I had no idea what to expect when I came to Blacksburg my freshman year. However, I got involved with Freshmen Leadership Experience (FLEX), a branch of the Student Government Association, and quickly realized I made a good decision by coming here. One of the best things I got to do as a student is work with New Student Programs as a Hokie Camp Counselor and Orientation Leader, in which I served the school and welcomed new students to Virginia Tech.
As a wildlife conservation major, I have noticed that when I tell relatives about my major, they usually relate it to charismatic mega fauna. There is something about the underdog species that don’t get their spotlight as a stuffed animal or animated protagonist that interests me. I want to be able to change the perception of wildlife conservation to one that is inclusive of all species of wildlife, no matter how ugly a species might be, by highlighting the contribution that misunderstood species bring to the world. People can easily gain an appreciation for nature and for those animals that are commonly overlooked by having the proper people relaying information to the public. With a minor in peace studies and violence prevention, I hope to work out the interdisciplinary issues within the field of human-wildlife interaction.