Hi, everyone! My name is Sophia and I’m a rising junior in the University of Pittsburgh Honors College. I’m majoring in Environmental Science with a minor in Studio Arts and a certificate in Global Information Systems (GIS). Outside of my classes, I am on the Pitt Ski and Snowboard Club’s executive board, where I work with the other board members to run safe, fun, and affordable trips to Seven Springs Ski Resort during the winter. I’m also a Backpacking Chair in the Pitt Outdoors Club, so I plan and run multi-day hiking trips and teach important wilderness skills to our members. Lastly, I work for the University as a lifeguard, so you have a good chance of finding me at Trees or Bellefield Hall after classes are over! When I’m not studying, working, or off on an adventure, I love to set up my hammock outside Carnegie Library or go rock climbing at Trees Hall.
Next week, I’ll be traveling to the University of Wyoming in Laramie, WY for the Honors College’s Spring Creek Field Study. In the six weeks we’re out there, we will spend time in Laramie as well as at the University’s Spring Creek Preserve: a remote section of land full of amazing geological and paleontological history, and where our beloved Dippy the Dinosaur was found! We will spend our time learning about the ecology, geology, and paleontology of Wyoming, and acquiring fieldwork techniques along the way. The culmination of our studies will be developing and conducting an independent research project, which we present to our peers at the end of the program. As a reward for our efforts, we will also spend a week traveling around the state and exploring the many National Parks Wyoming has to offer.
As part of the Environmental Science major, students must complete a Capstone, which may be an undergraduate thesis, an internship, a field study, or some other kind of independent project. When I heard the Spring Creek Field Study would count for my Capstone, I jumped at the chance to go. I grew up traveling due to my father’s career in the US Air Force, and we spent a lot of time in the American West when I was younger. I never forgot the dramatic vistas and amazing wildlife in that part of the country, and my studies have shown me just how ecologically diverse it is, so my dream is to pursue a career in conservation there. This program will not only fulfill part of my degree, but it will also inspire future research and career options for me after I graduate. Most importantly, it will teach me crucial research skills that I can apply to future projects.
I can’t wait to experience what the Wyoming wilderness has in store, and I’m looking forward to updating you all very shortly!