Environmental Sciences Spotlight: Braiden Quinlan

Each month, the Environmental Sciences Academic Program highlights a current student who represent the diverse and involved student population within the program. This month, September, the spotlight focuses on, Braiden Quinlan.

Name: Braiden Quinlan

Braiden this summer collecting data from a tranquilized bear.
Braiden this summer collecting data from a tranquilized bear.

Focal Area: Wildlife Management

Year: Senior

Hometown: Cary, NC

1. What lead you to select Environmental Sciences at NC State?

My junior year of high school I took AP Environmental Science and I really enjoyed it. Around that time, I was searching for places to go to college, and discovered that NC State offered a respected environmental science program. I decided on the program because of the flexibility in choosing a focal area. For me, the freedom to choose a course path was important because although I knew I wanted to be an environmental science major, I was not quite sure what path I wanted to take.

2. What is your favorite aspect about the Environmental Science program?

My favorite aspect of the Environmental Science program would be the ability to design and implement your own focal area. The required courses for the major introduce students to a range of career paths from sustainability and energy to political science. Offering a range of courses allows students to narrow down what they want to focus in.

3. What has been your favorite course at NC State?

My favorite course at NC State would probably be one that not many Environmental Science students take. I have a double major in Fisheries, Wildlife, and Conservation Biology as well, and for that major there is a required course during FWCB ‘summer camp’ called FW 314- Coastal Ecology and Management with Dr. Jeffrey Buckel. During this course, students go deep sea fishing, trawling, hiking in longleaf pine savannas, and much more- all while learning about coastal ecology and its management. I enjoyed this course the most because it was heavily ‘field’ based, meaning the majority of the learning and teaching was hands-on and done in the field.

4. How did you select your focal area?

I have always enjoyed wildlife and hands-on research. While taking courses for my Fisheries, Wildlife, and Conservation Biology major, I took several courses in different aspects of wildlife management (including FW 314). All of the courses fit in perfectly with what I decided to be my wildlife management focal area.

5. What is something you wish someone had told you when you were a freshman?

I wish someone had told me to really get to know your professors. Your professors are a great way to get a foot in the door to the professional world. If you establish a good relationship with your professors, they can open a world of possibilities for you, including (but not limited to) jobs, references, undergraduate research, graduate programs, and mentorships. Possibly most importantly, professors network, meaning if they cannot help you, they will put you into contact with another professional who can.

6. What is your favorite thing to do outside of the classroom?

I love fishing. Not only do I like the thrill of not knowing what may be on the end of the line, but also the serenity of being out in nature. Aside from fishing, I enjoy the outdoors in general, doing activities such as hiking, camping, and ‘herping.’