Hometown: Manchester, IN
College: College of Agriculture
Major: Natural Resources and Environmental Science (NRES), Wildlife

I live for adventure, the outdoors, and teaching others about the environment and how to conserve its integrity. As a child, the outdoors was my escape, a wonderland of ponds and gardens and forests. I was climbing trees before I could complete a coherent sentence. My desire to bring others to nature through education and adventure sports led me to apply for a 2015 Gilman Scholarship to study abroad at Monash University in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia, this fall.

At Purdue, I study Midwestern hardwood forests, grasslands, and wetlands, with an emphasis on specific wildlife species and the influences of a temperate climate. In contrast, Malaysia is a tropical hotspot. I will be able to experience new species, new climates, and learn about new environmental conservation issues. Environmental science and wildlife are dynamic fields with a massive variety of components and issues, all of which influence each other. Malaysia is also a crossroads of culture with its proximity to Indonesia, Thailand, and Singapore, which subsequently creates incredible diversity among the people and culture of the region as well. Studying in Malaysia will connect my current knowledge of the Midwestern environment and temperate climates to Southeast Asian tropical climates. Developing a “big picture” perspective of how each different ecosystem interacts with the next is crucial in forming a holistic worldview and solving the environmental challenges humans face today.

College has not only taught me about the environment, it has afforded me the ability to do what I do best – teach others. I have taught students how to hang glide, rock climb, and backpack, while bringing my knowledge about different ecosystems to my students. The health of this planet is critical to these sports, and having the opportunity to inspire others to care for the earth drives me as a student and an instructor. My goals post-college include expanding on my instructional experience through outdoor adventure education with a focus on environmental health and species conservation. By speaking to students in an active, fun environment, I hope to teach people about these processes and educate them about what they can do to help.

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