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College of Natural Resources Students Selected for Scholars for Conservation Leadership Program

College of Natural Resources Students Selected for Scholars for Conservation Leadership Program, College of Natural Resources, Jordan Hall

The Scholars for Conservation Leadership Program, launched by the Land Trust Alliance and the USDA Forest Service in 2019, aims to expand opportunities for underrepresented minority groups in the land conservation field. As part of the program, 10 undergraduate students from across the country, including three of our own from NC State’s College of Natural Resources, attended a seminar and conference in conjunction with Rally: The National Land Conservation Conference. The program is coordinated by Dr. Zakiya Leggett and Dr. Porche Spence in the Department of Forestry and Environmental Resources. 

Through the this professional development experience, students had the opportunity to hear from leaders in conservation and natural resources management and connect with professionals in the field. They also attended trainings and workshops to gain practical knowledge and skills for their careers. 

We reached out to our students to hear about their experience in the program and how it impacted them.

Princess Mutasa

Princess is a senior majoring in Environmental Technology and Management.

What did you learn about at the conference?

The conference focused on the various facets and paths of the conservation field. I learned what land trusts are and the kind of work they do for protected land, as well as about the U.S Forest Service and other federal agencies that work with conservation. I also learned about how I can get involved with federal agencies, and how to market myself and network with the professionals.

How will this experience help you in your time here at NC State and in future careers?

The most valuable thing I got out of this conference was the many important connections I made with other professionals and scholars. I still talk to the other scholars from the program, and I kept up my connection with my sponsor and other professionals at the conference. These connections will help me further my career goals in water resources and find more opportunities after graduation.

What inspired you to pursue a career in natural resources and conservation?

I have always seen myself as environmentally conscious and aware, but it was after my environmental science class sophomore year of high school that I realized I wanted to be involved in this field and actually practice what I preach. I care about water rights for humans and animals and about equity paired with responsible stewardship of our planet. I hope to work one day with water accessibility in communities of need. 

What was your favorite part about the experience?

My favorite part of the conference was the free mingling time. I met and talked to people from all over the country, all with various backgrounds and fields, yet united under their passion for conserving the land we have for people and the planet. It was invigorating hearing other people’s stories and what pushed them to be in the conservation field.

Kierra Christie

Kierra is a senior majoring in Environmental Technology and Management.

What did you learn about at the conference?

We learned of various opportunities in the US Forest Service and land trusts around the country, as well as how they are working to preserve the land’s natural beauty while connecting it to the surrounding communities. We also learned about different career paths we can take in land management and natural resources. We took time to review resume building tips with a representative in human resources for federal agencies. In addition, all scholars received insight on applying for jobs: federal, public, and nonprofit.

How will this experience help you in your time here at NC State and in future careers?

My experience as a scholar at the Land Trust Alliance Conference has exposed me to different career pathways I could pursue with my Environmental Technology and Management major. Land use and conservation impacts a community’s health more than people realize, and I can combine my environmental technology knowledge with a Master’s in Public Health to study the environment’s effect on society more closely.

What inspired you to pursue a career in natural resources and conservation?

It happened by accident. I originally wanted to be a surgeon. However, after coming to NC State I decided to enhance my studies in natural resources and the environment because it was a topic I was interested in, and I love the water and outdoors. Since coming to college my respect and love for natural resources and conservation has grown much more. I want to be part of the efforts to preserve Earth’s health, which will in turn improve the health of individuals in society. 

What was your favorite part about the experience?

My favorite part about the experience was being able to connect, learn from and network with so many professionals in land conservation. I also loved seeing a Black Woman with similar interests as me be so successful in the world of conservation and public health. 

Austin Cary

Austin is a senior majoring in Forest Management.

What did you learn about at the conference?

The main topic that I learned from the conference did not come from any presentation, but came from interacting with professionals. I learned how to hold a conversation with professionals and to be intriguing.

How will this experience help you in your time here at NC State and in future careers?

My experience will help me have more confidence here at NC State. The conference was so great that I think it will carry momentum throughout my year here. Pertaining to future careers, I will know how to go into different settings and make eye contact with people and how to properly start a conversation.

What inspired you to pursue a career in natural resources and conservation?

I was inspired to pursue a career in natural resources and conservation because of my curiosity of what grows naturally. I have seen forests and wildlife my whole life, but never knew why they were there or how they got there. That is why I am still inspired to this day.

What was your favorite part about the experience?

My favorite part of the experience was the organizations’ president’s dinner. Throughout this dinner I got the chance to ask many professionals how they got their start and what their path was. This was important to me because I took away an important message: never give up on your personal goals and growing is rarely comfortable. You can not be afraid to get out of your comfort zone.