Environmental Sciences Spotlight: Matt Wacenske

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

Name: Matt Wacenske

Matt Wacenske
Matt Wacenske

Focal Area: Fire Ecology

Year: Senior (Class of 2017)

Hometown: Raleigh, NC

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

I chose ES because I have been interested in environmental studies since 7th grade when I did a science fair project on solar panels.

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

My favorite aspect of ES is the faculty and staff.  Everyone is happy and willing to help.  It is almost impossible to do poorly with an adviser like Greg Wilson.

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

I have had so many favorite courses in my time here, but my number one is a Wildland Firefighter (FOR 532) certification course through the Forestry department where those in the class learn to operate a fire engine and how to conduct prescribed fire, among other skills.

4. How did you select your focal area?

I selected my focal area after many attempts at forming one with Greg Wilson; it was not easy.  Fire Ecology/Wildland Firefighting fell into place, though.  There is so much interesting information to learn about fire, and the post-graduation job opportunities can provide a great traveling experience and/or a thrilling job for anyone.

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

I wish I was told about less-mentioned focal areas like mine.  I went through, at least, five different focal areas before I was able to focus in on this one.  Everything is working out well, but I could have avoided taking some unnecessary classes had I found this focal area sooner.

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

My favorite things to do outside of the classroom are: playing baseball (on the club team here), woodworking, and working outside, whether it be landscaping or cutting up wood for fires in the winter.