Major - Environmental Science
Hometown - Renton, WA
“It is truly through your kindness and generosity that I am able to attend Western and fulfill my dreams of helping the world, one restoration site at a time.”
I attended Kentridge High School in Kent, WA, where I spent four years running in cross country, participating in many community service and multicultural clubs, volunteering with local environmental organizations,and ultimately falling in love with the earth and the idea of environmental preservation. When I was searching for a university that would support my dream of making an environmental difference, I found Western Washington University. After touring the college and staying for a weekend during the Western Scholars Invitational, I felt an instant connection with the campus, people and environmental awareness of the university. This, coupled with the affordable tuition, was what led me to excitedly apply and get accepted to Western in the top 10 percent of students.
During my first year at Western, I was determined to get involved with the college community early so that I could meet new people and expand my interests. I started by taking an environmental science FIG, where I got the chance to be exposed to Bellingham’s amazing volunteer organizations, including the Nooksack Salmon Enhancement Association (NSEA) and the City of Bellingham Parks and Recreation Department. Excited that I was able to continue participating in restoration work as I had in high school, I looked for a club that would also correlate with this. It was then that I found LEAD (Learning, Environment, Action and Discovery). It is both a program and an Associated Students club on campus whose goal is to promote service-learning opportunities in the community through environmental restoration projects. After attending meetings in the spring of my freshman year, I got a position as a volunteer coordinator with the LEAD program and became president of the LEAD AS Club. LEAD has been an integral part of my college experience so far and has enabled me to gain experience in my chosen major of Environmental Science.
However, despite getting a work study job with LEAD as well as having a second job with Target during summer and breaks, I am still struggling to pay for the large portion of college tuition which I am paying without aid from my parents. Because of this, I have applied for numerous scholarships to help offset these costs and allow me to continue taking advantage of all the opportunities Western has given me and continue making a difference in the community. I have also been dedicated to keeping my grades up and maintaining a 3.83 GPA so that I can be academically successful and also financially successful, as this enables me to potentially get more scholarships.
This past spring, I took another step forward in my academic career by applying and getting accepted into Huxley College of the Environment. I have also recently been accepted into an internship with the Bellingham Parks Volunteer Program as an environmental restoration intern. This will help me gain experience in the field for restoration and ecology work. I plan to graduate by 2018 and will then continue my education in graduate school, after a year or two of working in my field to gain more experience. However, this plan wouldn’t be possible for me without financial aid, like the help that this scholarship provides me. Through hard work, dedication, and continuous involvement in the Western and Bellingham communities, I hope to continue furthering my academic career and also gain new financial opportunities such as this.
My current academic plan at Western also includes getting an internship, study abroad, research, or field work position after my junior year so that I am able to gain more experience in the environmental science field. This scholarship greatly helps in offsetting these costs and helping me gain the experience I desperately need for such a competitive career. Overall, this scholarship will allow me to continue building my academic career to be as solid of a foundation that it can be for me to base the rest of my environmental career and graduate education upon.
The greatest experiences that I have had at Western so far are all related to the LEAD program and LEAD AS Club. First of all, being employed as a Volunteer Coordinator with LEAD has really allowed me to develop and shape skills that are required for my job position, as well as build my experience with environmental work.
My involvement with the LEAD AS Club has also really made an impact in my life by allowing me to greatly improve my leadership skills and help me connect with students on campus. Being the President of the LEAD AS Club, it is my responsibility to be a leader and role model for club members, divide responsibility among members, promote continuous improvement, set new goals, motivate members, organize meetings, and recruit new people. It helped me realize the ultimate purpose of a leader is to bring people together to achieve a common goal while staying motivated to be the best that one can be, and support others to do the same.
Both the LEAD program and the LEAD AS Club have also connected me to a lot of people within Western and the Bellingham community. This has impacted me by giving me the chance to gain new perspectives and new relationships that have shaped my Western experience in one of the best ways possible. It has truly helped me become a part of the Bellingham community, and helped me make an impact through leadership opportunities, connections with people, and local habitat restoration.
When I am not studying, I can usually be found running, hiking, backpacking, skiing or camping throughout the forests of Washington. The Pacific Northwest is one of my favorite places and I love exploring every mile of trail that it has to offer. In addition, I also enjoy listening to and playing music. I play three different instruments: the violin, which I have been playing for 9 years, the guitar, which I have been playing for 6 years, and I am currently trying to teach myself how to play the ukulele. Music is a great way to help me de-stress and has also always been a big part of my life.
Volunteering is another activity that I really enjoy doing when I am not studying. While volunteer events are a part of my job requirements, I would be participating in them even if I did not have my job. Restoration work is what I did during high school when I volunteered with Friends of the Cedar River Watershed to restore local environments that are key parts of the watershed and salmon runs. Giving back to the community is something that is important to me, especially when it surrounds environmental service, since this is something that impacts future generations to come.