I grew up in the suburbs of Columbus, Ohio. This may seem like a strange environment to foster a passion for the outdoors; however, from a very young age I would visit the Columbus Zoo and Aquarium on a weekly basis. A summer vacation to Yellowstone National Park opened my eyes to the possibility of a career in the field of wildlife biology. Since that trip I’ve focused all of my efforts on accomplishing this goal. While in high school I participated in a two-year Zoo School program where I conducted research and gained insight into the responsibilities of a zookeeper.
I was drawn to Virginia Tech by the beautiful scenery of Southwest Virginia and the reputation of the College of the Natural Resources and Environment. Coming into college, I was extremely passionate about predatory mega fauna — wolves, bears, and mountain lions. My time here at Virginia Tech has helped open my eyes to other interests. I am now also interested in broader issues involving environmental policy, land management, and global climate change.
Since entering college I have had the opportunity to engage in undergraduate research. I spent the past summer working as a wildlife ecology intern at The Wilds, a conservation science center in southeastern Ohio. I also assisted with camera trapping and data entry for the Wildlife Habitat and Population Analysis Lab here at Virginia Tech. I’m currently serving as the camera trapping chair for the Student Chapter of The Wildlife Society.
I have become increasingly interested in the interface between scientists and government officials. It has always been my goal to make a lasting impact on this planet by conserving wildlife species and their habitat. I believe the best way to make this impact may be through a career as a leader in a natural resources agency, either a nonprofit or at the federal level. I hope to develop my leadership skills and make lasting connections that will aid me in the pursuit of my goals.