Skip to main content
Student Success

Darius Ledbetter ’25 Finds His Place in Forestry Program

Darius works in field

Darius Ledbetter is pursuing a master’s degree in forestry at the NC State College of Natural Resources. He earned a bachelor’s degree in environmental technology and management from the college in 2023.

As an undergraduate student, Ledbetter received the DEI Spotlight Scholarship and the Briton and Gladys LeCompte Natural Resources Scholarship, the latter of which supports NC State students who are underrepresented in the student body population.

Ledbetter currently serves as a graduate officer for the NC State student chapter of the Society of American Foresters — the largest professional society representing foresters and natural resource professionals. 

We recently asked Ledbetter about his decision to study forestry at the College of Natural Resources and his goals for the future. Check out the Q&A below to learn more. 

Why did you choose to study forestry?

I choose to study forestry because I’ve always had an interest in being outside. I also love the data analytical problems that come with forestry. Forestry offers so many opportunities where you can be out in the field conducting research. Or, if you are less interested in research, you can do a plethora of other things. The people in forestry also make it even more special because everyone is so welcoming.

What is your favorite memory or class from your time at NC State?

One of my favorite memories was studying for a soil science exam with some of my classmates at D.H. Hill Jr. Library. We were up until around 2 a.m. studying for the exam, quizzing each other and creating practice tests. It’s one of my favorite memories, because we were all trying our best but also having a lot of fun at the same time.

What are your career goals?

One of my career goals is to be the CEO of a forestry company where timber isn’t just managed for production but is managed to meet the needs of the growing population. I also want to make sure that urbanization is done in a manner that doesn’t destroy our forests and displace wildlife. I also love working with all the new research and technology that is in the near future, so making sure I’m working with that as much as possible is another one of my goals that I’ll always be chasing.

How has the College of Natural Resources prepared you for your future?

The College of Natural Resources has given me a wide array of decision-making tools and resources that have led me to my own personal career path. I’ve had so many experiences that I wouldn’t have had if it hadn’t been for the College of Natural Resources. I’ve had a lot of wonderful professors who’ve allowed me to build my skillsets to be successful at NC State. I’ve become a lot more open minded with the careers available for me through these experiences.

What advice would you give to students entering your major?

Be open minded and never decline new opportunities. You should try out anything that interests you because it can open up doors to other interests that you didn’t even know existed. Also, try out all types of clubs at the College of Natural Resources so you can meet other students and professors who may have some of the same interests as you. Finally, you should go to conferences to stay updated on what’s happening in the forestry industry.

Tell us about something you are passionate about outside of your academic studies.

I’m very passionate about getting outside and experiencing something new. If there’s an opportunity to go somewhere or do something that I’ve never done before, I try my best to give it my all. I believe that having new experiences makes you even stronger, and there’s always something out there in the world that you love but just don’t know about yet — like a new food, a new sport, or a new place that never would have been found unless you just went for it. You will thank yourself later for going.