After taking a college geology course at my high school in Byers, Colo., I was hooked. My teacher recommended I consider majoring in earth sciences when I went to college. UNC was one of the only schools in the state with a good program, and it was definitely the best value.

Within the earth sciences program, my concentration was geology. I loved how small the classes were. Professors could spend more one-on-one time with their students, making it easier to learn and get hands-on experience. I assisted my advisor, Dr. Emmett Evanoff, with fossil preparation, and this August I’ll be helping him do research on the origin of silt stones at the Florissant Fossil Beds National Monument. Another one of my favorite professors was Dr. Graham Baird. He was one of the hardest teachers I’ve ever had, but he challenged me and pushed me to my fullest potential.

I had lots of opportunities to do research during my undergraduate experience. In addition to my work with Dr. Evanoff, I did an internship at Florissant Fossil Beds National Monument. At the Monument I was responsible for inventorying and monitoring different paleontological sites to ensure that the fossils were in good condition and none had been removed. I also assisted Jenell Thoene, a University of Colorado-Boulder graduate student, on an excavation project. For her thesis, Jenelle was studying the history of the diversity of insects in the area.

I graduated in May and plan to go to graduate school one day and focus on paleontology or sedimentology. I love to be outside working with my hands, taking a walk or riding my bike. While I was at UNC, I represented Earth Sciences on the College of Natural and Health Sciences' Student Council and served as a student ambassador. All of my experiences at the university helped me immerse myself in the things I’m most passionate about.