She further reflected in the following essay:
I like to joke that it all started with salmon, and was solidified with dirt. This is the pretty much the most succinct explanation of how I came to pursue my field of study. My time in Alaska exposed me to every form of science under the sun, and I spent a good portion of my childhood attempting to decipher which one I would select to devote my adult life. Like any teenager, I was decisively indecisive—oceanography would capture my attention one week, biology the next. As time passed, a pattern arose; it wasn't until Chinook salmon swam up a local creek that I realized what field might warrant my full dedication. The presence of salmon in a usually barren creek raised questions for me—what did this mean for the community, the creek, the wildlife? I turned to the internet for answers, and discovered an entire field of study that asked these same questions. An entire degree existed to explore the link between humans and their resources—ironically, I was hooked.Further listening:
While my introductory class to natural resources management certainly intrigued me, seeing the connections made in my soils class confirmed it: I was definitely in the right place. I never really had a doubt that I had chosen the right degree, and I attribute a large part of this to the professors in my classes. It became very apparent that these faculty members were passionate about their fields of study, and incredibly eager to share this with students. This department is full of people from diverse backgrounds and has always been incredibly welcoming to its students; I've never felt out of place or afraid to ask anything, as all of my professors, while seemingly always busy, never hesitated to make time for me to help.
It does sadden me a bit to see that natural resources management seems to go under the radar, especially in a state where it seems so important. I can't count how many quizzical looks I've received when I tell people my major. I would love to see this program garner a little more attention for its wonderful faculty and opportunities for research. I believe this program is one of UAF's best achievements, along with its other science and engineering programs.
Link to KFBX-AM podcast, Oct. 22, 2014, featuring Nicole Warner, Professor Milan Shipka and Associate Professor Peter Fix