Involvement within the School of Forestry and Wildlife Sciences student organizations provides opportunity for students to exercise leadership skills, build relationships with their classmates, and foster community between students and professionals in the varying occupations associated with forestry, wildlife and natural resources. In their own words, learn how their participation has positively impacted their student experience:

Maurlan Dickerson, Forestry

Major: Forestry
Expected Graduation: Spring 2020
Involvement: Forest, Environment and Wildlife Leadership (FEWL) Academy, Forestry Club

What led you to choose this major? 

I grew up in the agricultural industry; my family raised cattle and I was initially drawn to working in that field, but I learned about forestry because my friend’s father, Trip Winters, is a forester at Coastal Forest Products of Chapman, Alabama. Seeing that he was able to make a career out of his love for the outdoors made me curious about forestry, so I decided to do some background research on the procurement aspect of the field.

Why did you decide to attend Auburn University?

I have always been infatuated with Auburn, ever since I was a kid. I always knew that it was the school I wanted to go to; I love the culture, the football team. So, I knew that I would attend Auburn and I knew because of my family’s involvement with agriculture that it was a prestigious school for that field, and once I decided to pursue forestry I saw that Auburn was very well recognized for its programs in this field as well.

What is your favorite part about being a student in the School of Forestry and Wildlife Sciences?

My favorite part about being a student of this school is being able to meet and connect with the people in the forestry industry; it has a kind of family feel, it’s very close knit. Auburn has set up their forestry program so that upcoming juniors go to the Solon Dixon Forestry Education Center in Andalusia, Alabama, for eight weeks of the summer for our procurement practicum where we learn about the process of buying timber, inventory and estimates, types of products that can be harvested from tracks, and the eventual delivery of the timber to mills. In those eight weeks you’re living with your classmates so you form a really close bond with them and that bond continues to strengthen; throughout our careers we’re gonna be friends and colleagues and I think that’s really special.

Describe a class that you have taken as Forestry major that has left an impact on you.

Dr. Gallagher’s harvesting course has been the most intriguing to me because of my particular interest in that aspect of forestry. Currently, forestry in the private sector, taught by Mr. Paul Schrantz and Dr. Gallagher, has been really beneficial to me as it brings in industry individuals who tell their story and explain where they came from, how they have progressed in the field, what they are passionate about, and what they think is important for the modern forester to know in order to be successful. Those narratives really bring everything full circle because you are able to see where these professionals started and what path of forestry they took in their careers.

What opportunities within the school have helped ensure your academic success?

The faculty really goes the extra mile to prepare us to succeed in our careers with the knowledge they depart to us and really emphasize the importance of representing ourselves and Auburn with integrity. This can be especially seen in the creation of the Forest, Environment and Wildlife Leadership, or FEWL, Academy by Dean Alavalapati and Dr. Adam Maggard.  Being a member of that allowed me to meet policy makers and government officials in both Alabama and Washington D.C. Those opportunities and the leadership skills that we learned showed me how to aptly apply my knowledge in the classroom and in the industry.

If you are involved in a student organization within the school, describe the group’s purpose and why being a member is important to you.

The Forestry Club gives a broader understanding of the field and stresses the importance of being stewards of the land. I believe that it gives students a sense of purpose through outreach and networking. We do an annual fundraiser called Log a Load for Kids that raises money in support of the Children’s Miracle Network of Alabama. Considering networking, the club brings in industry individuals that give an overview of their company for prospective employees and interviews are held the next day and this process of being able to meet the representative before applying often leads to students earning internships and jobs. I think that opportunity is very beneficial for forestry students beginning their careers.

What are you doing right now as a student that is giving you supplemental experience in your desired field?

As a senior in forestry, I am completing my senior project which entails a team of forestry students working together to act as a consultant to a private land owner. We visit the property, find out the client’s objectives, and from that we apply the knowledge gained from our four years of studies to create and carry out a detailed management plan for the private land owner. This project provides a bridge from being a student to being a working member of the industry, and you can even put the consulting experience on your resume.

What are your career plans after graduation?

I have been hired by Weyerhauser where I’ll start off as a resource forester. From there I have aspirations of becoming a harvest manager which would include working with loggers to cut timber and then organizing the  transportation of the timber to mills.

What are you passionate about? How does SFWS allow you to pursue those passions?

I am passionate about sustainability and stewardship of the land. I feel that forestry can have a negative reputation to the public because of misinformation. Because I am an active member of clubs and am able to take on leadership roles within the school, I am allowed a platform where I can inform others about what forestry is, what we do as foresters, and how the practices that we utilize are sustainable.  We want this resource to be around not only for our use but for the use and enjoyment of future generations.

What advice would you give to upcoming SFWS freshmen?

Learn as much as you can about forestry so that you can find what interests you the most and become well rounded in the field so that you know the ins and outs of the industry. Forestry can be very specific but knowing the roles of corresponding positions will help you succeed in the field.

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Megan Justice, Wildlife Enterprise Management

Major: Wildlife Enterprise Management
Expected Graduation: Spring 2020
Involvement: Wildlife Society, AU Chapter of American Fisheries Society

What led you to choosing this major?

I had originally been in Wildlife Ecology & Management, but when I heard  about this new degree it really interested me because the enterprise aspect really focuses on interacting with people and working at the intersection of wildlife and the public. It’s also been exciting because I feel that this major is opening new doors in wildlife and it’s been great to come into it as it gains momentum in the field.

Why did you choose Auburn?

Auburn was really always my first choice for my college education; I was raised in a family that loves this school, and the opportunities in wildlife here have not only validated my decision but have gone beyond my expectations.

What is your favorite part about being a student in the School of Forestry and Wildlife Sciences?

Because of its smaller student body, you can easily get to know your classmates and professors. You’re able to surround yourself with like minded people and really work together as a group. Considering the breadth and number of majors that the school offers, you also find your niche or motivation so that you can succeed as an individual as well.

Describe a class that you have taken as student of Wildlife Enterprise Management that has left an impact on you.

Oh, wow, there’s been so many…  Right now I’m taking a mammalian ecology course taught by Professor Ditchkoff. I like it because it’s been challenging but also really conversational and discussion focused. The way its taught is also very practical; he makes sure to prioritize the need-to-know information and explain in it in a way so that we understand how to apply the knowledge.

What opportunities within the school have helped ensure your academic success?

Just recently a handful of Wildlife Enterprise Management students were selected to visit Reno, Nevada to attend the Safari Club International Conference. It was really incredible to see what enterprise jobs are out there and to be able to network with so many people as a representative of the school and this new degree program. That’s a great example of how SFWS invests in their students and shows that they really do want us to succeed.

If you are involved in a student organization within the school, describe the group’s purpose and why being a member is important to you.

In the school, I am a member of the Wildlife Society and its purpose is to make connections between wildlife students and professionals; being a member is important to me because its really helped me develop relationships within the school. I also want to mention my membership in the university’s chapter of the American Fisheries Society. I think it’s really important to be involved in the fisheries side of wildlife because it’s an extension of your knowledge as a wildlife student and I feel that having experience in both of those aspects has better equipped me for the enterprise industry.

What are you doing right now as a student that is giving you supplemental experience in your desired field?

I actually have a job in the university’s Fish Genetics Lab and although it’s not wildlife it’s definitely given me a lot of opportunity; I’ve been able to give talks at conferences and really put the concepts that I’ve learned into perspective and explain them to a broader audience- such as the Alabama Department of Conservation and Natural Resources and other state agencies- than just my professors and classmates. I really appreciate being responsible for presentations like that as a student because those experiences have really prepared me for what will be expected of me in the professional world.

Where do you plan to take the knowledge you have gained here once you graduate?

I’m thinking of being in the marketing or business side of the hunting and fishing industries, whether that be working for lodges or outdoor products companies. John Burrell, who owns the High Adventure lodging company, visited the school this year and gave an overview of the organization and significance of outdoor recreation and lodging. In that, he talked about how there needs to be people in those companies with a detailed understanding of wildlife so that they can successfully explain to clients why they have those hunting procedures while also having those marketing skills to distinguish the lodge from other companies and bring in clients.

What are you passionate about? How does SFWS allow you to pursue those passions?

I’m really interested in being able to teach the public about the importance of protecting wildlife. The enterprise major allows you to enter a career field where you’re able to focus on that explanation of why forestry and wildlife sciences is important and put into motion the actions we should be taking to conserve and preserve our resources.

What advice would you give to upcoming SFWS freshmen?

Get involved so that you can build a support system and make yourself known to professors, show that you care about gaining that knowledge more than just getting a good enough letter grade to check their class off your course requirements. Don’t be afraid to ask them questions and see what opportunities are in your field because your professors are your biggest asset here and are a direct link to the professional world that you have as a student.

Alex Merchlinsky, Wildlife Ecology & Management

Major: Wildlife Ecology & Management
Expected Graduation: Spring 2020
Involvement: President of Wildlife Society

What led you to choosing this major?

 

Why did you choose Auburn?

 

What is your favorite part about being a student in the School of Forestry and Wildlife Sciences?

 

Describe a class that you have taken as student of Wildlife Ecology & Management that has left an impact on you.

 

What opportunities within the school have helped ensure your academic success?

 

If you are involved in a student organization within the school, describe the group’s purpose and why being a member is important to you.

 

What are you doing right now as a student that is giving you supplemental experience in your desired field?

 

Where do you plan to take the knowledge you have gained here once you graduate?

 

What are you passionate about? How does SFWS allow you to pursue those passions?

 

What advice would you give to upcoming SFWS freshmen?

Marisa Jaurez, Natural Resources Management

Major: Natural Resources Management
Expected Graduation: Spring 2021
Involvement: Forest, Ecology, and Wildlife Leadership (FEWL) Academy, President of Society for Natural Resources

What made you choose this major?

 

Why did you choose Auburn?

 

What is your favorite part about being a student in the School of Forestry and Wildlife Sciences?

 

Describe a class that you have taken as student of Natural Resources Management that has left an impact on you.

 

What opportunities within the school have helped ensure your academic success?

 

If you are involved in a student organization within the school, describe the group’s purpose and why being a member is important to you.

 

What are you doing right now as a student that is giving you supplemental experience in your desired field?

 

Where do you plan to take the knowledge you have gained here once you graduate?

 

What are you passionate about? How does SFWS allow you to pursue those passions?

 

What advice would you give to upcoming SFWS freshmen?

John Ellis, Natural Resources Management

Major: Natural Resources Management
Expected Graduation: Spring 2021
Involvement: Forest, Ecology, and Wildlife Leadership Academy (FEWL), SFWS Student Ambassadors

What led you to choose this major?

 

Why did you choose Auburn?

 

What is your favorite part about being a student in the School of Forestry and Wildlife Sciences?

 

Describe a class that you have taken as student of Natural Resources Management that has left an impact on you.

 

What opportunities within the school have helped ensure your academic success?

 

If you are involved in a student organization within the school, describe the group’s purpose and why being a member is important to you.

 

What are you doing right now as a student that is giving you supplemental experience in your desired field?

 

Where do you plan to take the knowledge you have gained here once you graduate?

 

What are you passionate about? How does SFWS allow you to pursue those passions?

 

What advice would you give to upcoming SFWS freshmen?

Amanda Wenzel, Natural Resources Management

Major: Natural Resources Management
Expected Graduation: 2021
Involvement: Secretary of Society for Natural Resources

What made you choose this major?

 

Why did you choose Auburn?

 

What is your favorite part about being a student in the School of Forestry and Wildlife Sciences?

 

Describe a class that you have taken as student of Natural Resources Management that has left an impact on you.

 

What opportunities within the school have helped ensure your academic success?

 

If you are involved in a student organization within the school, describe the group’s purpose and why being a member is important to you.

 

What are you doing right now as a student that is giving you supplemental experience in your desired field?

 

Where do you plan to take the knowledge you have gained here once you graduate?

 

What are you passionate about? How does SFWS allow you to pursue those passions?

 

What advice would you give to upcoming SFWS freshmen?

Andrew Baumhauer, Geospatial and Environmental Informatics

Major:  Geospatial and Environmental Informatics
Expected Graduation:
Involvement: Student Ambassadors

  • What made you choose this major?

 

  • Why did you choose Auburn?

 

  • What is your favorite part about being a student in the School of Forestry and Wildlife Sciences?

 

  • Describe a class that you have taken as student of Geospatial and Environmental Informatics that has left an impact on you.

 

  • What opportunities within the school have helped ensure your academic success?

 

  • If you are involved in a student organization within the school, describe the group’s purpose and why being a member is important to you.

 

  • What are you doing right now as a student that is giving you supplemental experience in your desired field?

 

  • Where do you plan to take the knowledge you have gained here once you graduate?

 

  • What are you passionate about? How does SFWS allow you to pursue those passions?

 

  • What advice would you give to upcoming SFWS freshmen?

Bethany Foust, Geospatial and Environmental Informatics

Major:  Geospatial and Environmental Informatics
Expected Graduation: 2021
Involvement: 

What made you choose this major?

 

Why did you choose Auburn?

 

What is your favorite part about being a student in the School of Forestry and Wildlife Sciences?

 

Describe a class that you have taken as student of Geospatial and Environmental Informatics that has left an impact on you.

 

What opportunities within the school have helped ensure your academic success?

 

If you are involved in a student organization within the school, describe the group’s purpose and why being a member is important to you.

 

What are you doing right now as a student that is giving you supplemental experience in your desired field?

 

Where do you plan to take the knowledge you have gained here once you graduate?

 

What are you passionate about? How does SFWS allow you to pursue those passions?

 

What advice would you give to upcoming SFWS freshmen?

Myles Fellows, Forestry

Major: Forestry
Expected Graduation: 2021
Involvement: Forestry Club

What made you choose this major?

 

Why did you choose Auburn?

 

What is your favorite part about being a student in the School of Forestry and Wildlife Sciences?

 

Describe a class that you have taken as student of Forestry that has left an impact on you.

 

What opportunities within the school have helped ensure your academic success?

 

If you are involved in a student organization within the school, describe the group’s purpose and why being a member is important to you.

 

What are you doing right now as a student that is giving you supplemental experience in your desired field?

 

Where do you plan to take the knowledge you have gained here once you graduate?

 

What are you passionate about? How does SFWS allow you to pursue those passions?

 

What advice would you give to upcoming SFWS freshmen?

Allison Dees, Wildlife Sciences Pre-Vet

Major: Wildlife Sciences Pre-Vet
Expected Graduation: Spring 2021
Involvement: Vice President of Wildlife Society

What made you choose this major?

 

Why did you choose Auburn?

 

What is your favorite part about being a student in the School of Forestry and Wildlife Sciences?

 

Describe a class that you have taken as student of Wildlife Sciences Pre-Vet that has left an impact on you.

 

What opportunities within the school have helped ensure your academic success?

 

If you are involved in a student organization within the school, describe the group’s purpose and why being a member is important to you.

 

What are you doing right now as a student that is giving you supplemental experience in your desired field?

 

Where do you plan to take the knowledge you have gained here once you graduate?

 

What are you passionate about? How does SFWS allow you to pursue those passions?

 

What advice would you give to upcoming SFWS freshmen?

Ilya Kristensen, Wildlife Sciences Pre-Vet

Major: Wildlife Sciences Pre-Vet
Expected Graduation: 2022
Involvement: Wildlife Society

What made you choose this major?

 

Why did you choose Auburn?

 

What is your favorite part about being a student in the School of Forestry and Wildlife Sciences?

 

Describe a class that you have taken as student of Wildlife Science Pre-Vet that has left an impact on you.

 

What opportunities within the school have helped ensure your academic success?

 

If you are involved in a student organization within the school, describe the group’s purpose and why being a member is important to you.

 

What are you doing right now as a student that is giving you supplemental experience in your desired field?

 

Where do you plan to take the knowledge you have gained here once you graduate?

 

What are you passionate about? How does SFWS allow you to pursue those passions?

 

What advice would you give to upcoming SFWS freshmen?

Brock Story, Forestry

Major: Forestry
Expected Graduation: 2022
Involvement: Forestry Club

What made you choose this major?

 

Why did you choose Auburn?

 

What is your favorite part about being a student in the School of Forestry and Wildlife Sciences?

 

Describe a class that you have taken as student of Forestry that has left an impact on you.

 

What opportunities within the school have helped ensure your academic success?

 

If you are involved in a student organization within the school, describe the group’s purpose and why being a member is important to you.

 

What are you doing right now as a student that is giving you supplemental experience in your desired field?

 

Where do you plan to take the knowledge you have gained here once you graduate?

 

What are you passionate about? How does SFWS allow you to pursue those passions?

 

What advice would you give to upcoming SFWS freshmen?

Victoria Stack, Geospatial and Environmental Informatics

Major: Geospatial and Environmental Informatics
Expected Graduation: 2022
Involvement: 

What made you choose this major?

 

Why did you choose Auburn?

 

What is your favorite part about being a student in the School of Forestry and Wildlife Sciences?

 

Describe a class that you have taken as student of Geospatial and Environmental Informatics that has left an impact on you.

 

What opportunities within the school have helped ensure your academic success?

 

If you are involved in a student organization within the school, describe the group’s purpose and why being a member is important to you.

 

What are you doing right now as a student that is giving you supplemental experience in your desired field?

 

Where do you plan to take the knowledge you have gained here once you graduate?

 

What are you passionate about? How does SFWS allow you to pursue those passions?

 

What advice would you give to upcoming SFWS freshmen?

Sarah Cain, Wildlife Ecology & Management

Major: Wildlife Ecology & Management
Expected Graduation: 2022
Involvement: 

What made you choose this major?

 

Why did you choose Auburn?

 

What is your favorite part about being a student in the School of Forestry and Wildlife Sciences?

 

Describe a class that you have taken as student of Wildlife Ecology & Management that has left an impact on you.

 

What opportunities within the school have helped ensure your academic success?

 

If you are involved in a student organization within the school, describe the group’s purpose and why being a member is important to you.

 

What are you doing right now as a student that is giving you supplemental experience in your desired field?

 

Where do you plan to take the knowledge you have gained here once you graduate?

 

What are you passionate about? How does SFWS allow you to pursue those passions?

 

What advice would you give to upcoming SFWS freshmen?