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Student Spotlight: Sarah Hallyburton

Sarah Hallyburton in Namibia

Fisheries, Wildlife and Conservation Biology major Sarah Hallyburton studied abroad in Namibia as part of African Ecology and Conservation program. With a heavy focus on field work, the group travelled throughout the country studying a range of topics from the biodiversity of insects in the Namib desert to practicing wildlife surveys on a game drive in the Na’an Ku Sê Wildlife Sanctuary. Hallyburton is also very interested in conservation in North Carolina. She is heavily involved in the new Wolves 4 Wolves Club, which focuses on red wolf conservation. Check out Hallyburton’s unique experiences abroad, supported by the CNR Student Assistance and Enrichment Fund.

How has this experience prepared you for your future career?

This experience prepared me for a future career in conservation biology by providing me with a new insight into the struggles surrounding this field. I especially gained a lot of new perspective into human-wildlife conflicts and why they are so hard to manage.

How has this opportunity enhanced your experience as a CNR student?

By participating in this study abroad program, I became more involved in the College of Natural Resources and gained new lifelong friends who were also in the college. Not only did I gain new friends I might not have ever had the chance to meet otherwise, I started a new working relationship with the CNR professor that led the trip, so I have someone new to go to for information and advice about a future in this career field.

Why was participating in this experience important to you?

Participating in this trip was important to me because I did not have any real field work experience until this trip. This helped me understand more of what I was heading into if I continue this path into a conservation biology career. It also helped build my resume.

What did you find most challenging about your experience?

The most challenging part of studying abroad was not being fully prepared for the new environment and climate. The first week of the trip, it was freezing cold at night. I thought I would be fine with what I had packed, but after the first night I knew I was in for a long week of bundling up. It was also challenging to adapt to all the plants with increased defense systems, like the long grass leaving razor sharp seeds embedded in your socks and shoes that poke you as you walk or most of bushes and trees have long thorns you should be careful to avoid.

Have you participated in other hands-on experiences?

I completed an internship at the North Carolina Museum of Natural Sciences in the Biodiversity Lab, where I worked on the Candid Critters citizen science project. This project was important to me because it gave me experience in another side of conservation biology work – getting the public interested and involved. This internship also allowed me to work on my science communication skills, which are crucial in any science career.

What do you enjoy most about being a CNR student?

The College of Natural Resources is a smaller, tight-knit college at NC State so I have definitely enjoyed getting the small college experience as well as the large university experience. CNR is also focused on ensuring you are prepared to enter a career after graduation.