Environmental Sciences Spotlight: Nathaniel Chapman

Each month, the Environmental Sciences Academic Program highlights a current student who represent the diverseand involved student population within the program. This month, March, the spotlight focuses on, Nathaniel Chapman.

Name: Nathaniel Chapman

Nathaniel Chapman

Focal Area: Plant Biology

Year: Senior

Hometown: Golden Valley, Rutherford County, North Carolina

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

I selected the Environmental Science program at NC State because I have an earnest interest in understanding and preserving our natural world. I was introduced the area in high school and it quickly expanded as I noticed the disturbing changes to our world.

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

My favorite aspect of the Environmental Science program is the ability to learn and be introduced to so many interesting and imperative aspects of the field. This has provided me the ability to tackle certain problems that may be highly difficult if it was perceived from one angle, but addressable with multiple perspectives.

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

This is a difficult question. So many courses here at NC State have shaped my interest and increased my understanding of my place in the world. I would state that the Rare Plants of North Carolina, PB 464, was my favorite class. This class focused on the protection and identification of North Carolina’s rare plant species. The reason it was my favorite class was because it allowed me to see the rare plants first hand, gain further respect for their intrinsic and environmental values, and to see the diversity North Carolina has to offer.

4. How did you select your focal area?

I selected my focal area in Plant Biology based on my interest in plants that developed as I grew a vegetable garden and hunted in the mountains. I was lucky to witness so much diversity and have access to it as I pleased. I deemed plants as my interest area because they have striking complexity, intrinsic value, human uses, and an important role in ecosystems, but most of the time they are overlooked or taken for granted. I wanted to gain knowledge in Environmental Science and Plant Biology to understand the complexity and importance of plants and to educate others, encourage respect for, and foster an interest in plants.

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

The main thing I wish I was told as a freshman was that you should pursue your interests based on what impacts you want to have on the world. Do not be afraid to go against what others may think you are best at or what they think is best for your life, go for what you want to commit your energy and time into. I was encouraged to pursue another subject area that many people felt was more important/impactful, but I felt it was against my views and would not have fulfilled my interests.

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

My favorite thing to do outside the classroom is to immerse myself in any form of nature. This could be searching for plants, fishing, bird watching, hunting, or simply hiking. I make certain to watch how the environment works around me and how human actions could or have impacted the ecosystem.