Wyoming Spring Creek Field Study Introduction: Amy Zhang

Hi! My name is Amy, and I’m a rising sophomore in the Swanson School of Engineering and the Honors College. As of last month, I am officially an environmental engineering major, and I am also pursuing a minor in chemistry and a certificate in sustainability. After my undergraduate degree, I am interested in focusing on sustainability research or environmental policy.

Last fall and spring, I was an active member in the Society of Women Engineers (PittSWE) on campus. One of my favorite things about SWE is its effort to empower people of all ages and genders outside of its institution, and I am fortunate enough to have been elected Middle School Outreach Chair for the coming fall and spring. I was also a violinist in Carnegie Mellon’s All-University Orchestra (CMU AUO) and concertmaster of its chamber orchestra, both available to any orchestral musician in Pittsburgh. CMU AUO made continuing music in college manageable for me, and I will be returning to play in it in the fall. Lately, I have spent most of my summer break with friends, learning how to cook, and working out.

The global program that I am a part of is the Wyoming Spring Creek Field Studies. It is a 6 week long Honors program, and most of our time will be spent in Laramie, on the University of Pittsburgh’s Spring Creek Preserve. The preserve is only a small part of the Midwest’s expansive ecosystem, but it is deeply historic and rich enough to provide context for the entire Rocky Mountain West. We will also be travelling around the state and visiting many of its parks while learning about regional geology and ecology, along with experiencing Wyoming’s culture through community events. Apart from instruction from our professors, we will each be conducting independent projects and presenting them to our classmates at the end of the program.

From this program, I will gain experience in earth sciences, field research, and politics, which aligns perfectly with my post-graduate plans. Furthermore, I have never gone camping and have only been on leisurely hikes, so exposure to and interacting with the outdoors is important for me to experience as soon as possible. I hope that the research aspect of this program improves my ability in creating testable hypotheses and innovative ideas, and I think working with the diverse group of majors that will be on this trip will replicate my professional experiences more closely than working on projects in my engineering classes. Overall, I am a little nervous to be immersed in a new environment, but I am mostly excited and grateful to be going on this trip.

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