I grew up in Chesterfield, Virginia, and moved to Blacksburg when I was in seventh grade. I spent all of my free time outside, running through the woods, playing in the creek, and doing whatever else my imagination took me to. My dad is a geologist, so I also grew up surrounded by rocks and mineral hunting. He would teach me little things about our Earth and the foundation for what we see today, so it was no surprise when I decided I wanted to major in geology.
The only school I applied to was Virginia Tech. I watched my brother, sister, two cousins, and boyfriend come to Virginia Tech and love every minute of it. I could not wait to be a Hokie and start my career in geology. After fall semester in my sophomore year, I realized that geology was not for me. I felt like geology was just tearing apart the Earth, and I wanted to save it. I jumped blindly into wildlife conservation. I had never taken a class in the College of Natural Resources and Environment before, but I followed my heart and could not be happier.
Through my experiences working with a few forestry professors, I am really enjoying looking at the big picture. Instead of focusing just on animals, I have been able to focus on the ecosystem as a whole. I am hoping to work for the National Park system in my future, and I cannot wait to see what other experiences I will get to enjoy in my last year of college. Becoming a wildlife conservation major and being able to study the animals I grew up loving while learning to conserve our natural surroundings has made me very excited for my future. Participating in the Leadership Institute will only help me feel more prepared and excited for my future.