Jackie Hausle is studying Fisheries, Wildlife and Conservation Biology. For as long as she can remember, she wanted to be a veterinarian. However, after attending a STEM-based boarding school in Durham, N.C., she discovered a love of ecology and field biology. During her first year at NC State, she eventually realized that animal science wasn’t the path for her and began attending Leopold Wildlife Club meetings. Last summer she interned with an amazing group of aquarists at the Virginia Living Museum, and fell in love with fish. She is now studying how fishery systems adapt to rapidly changing climates and how to keep urban aquatic environments as healthy as possible.
As part of the Doris Duke Conservation Scholars Program at NC State, administered by the University of Florida IFAS and supported by a grant from the Doris Duke Charitable Foundation, Hausle traveled to Northern Wisconsin to work on a long-term forestry project with Dr. Jodi Forrester. The long-term research project tracks the changes in a forest over time, both old-growth and recently-managed forests, to determine if and how debris and/or canopy gap addition affects the progression from second to old growth.
How did this experience impact you?
This was my first research internship and my first time having any amount of responsibility and independence working on a project. It was eye-opening to make decisions on my own and to actually work in the field I’ve been studying for so long in school. It made me confident that I am on the right path and that I’ll be able to handle and enjoy working in similar settings in the future.
How did this opportunity enhance your experience as a College of Natural Resources student?
There’s a big difference between learning about things in a class, or even a lab setting, and actually working at an internship like this. It really helped me click all the puzzle pieces from my time during the school year into place, which has made my classes make more sense.
What did you enjoy most about this experience?
My favorite part was being able to geek out over cool things we saw in the field. Also, just being so isolated in nature was amazing. I remember one day, it was like 5 in the morning and still kind of dark outside, we saw a porcupine climbing a huge tree and it was surreal; I don’t think I’ve seen a porcupine before that, much less one in the wild. Being able to share moments like that with other people who really appreciated them was truly amazing.
What did you find most challenging?
Honestly the hardest thing about my summer wasn’t the internship, it was the location. Spending an entire summer with only 3 other people, very far away from home, was really rough. I lucked out and got along with everyone else working on the project, but it was still hard to do, and I can’t imagine working on a project like this and not being friends with the other people.
Any advice to incoming students?
Fear of rejection is never a good enough reason to not try something. Your teachers want to help you do well. If you want an internship, apply for it! If you want to help a professor with their research, just shoot them an email! Eventually, someone will take a chance on you and it’ll pay off.
What do you enjoy most about being a College of Natural Resources student?
My favorite part of the College of Natural Resources is how welcoming and fun a community it is. I transferred from a different college at NC State, and the vibe of the College of Natural Resources is so much friendlier; all of the students and faculty go out of their way to help each other succeed, and everyone genuinely seems to enjoy what they do.