Wyoming Spring Creek Introduction – Julia Huczko

Hi! My name is Julia Huczko and I am a rising Junior at the University of Pittsburgh. I am majoring in Ecology and Evolutionary Biology and hope to obtain a certificate in GIS. After graduation, I plan to pursue my PhD in Ecology and work in field research. Currently, I have been studying Forest Ecology with the Carson Lab here at Pitt. I am very interested in forest dynamics and studying forest regeneration following natural disturbances. In my free time, I enjoy reading and being outdoors. My favorite outdoor activities include kayaking and hiking, but I also enjoy just relaxing in the fresh air.

Next week, I will be traveling to Laramie, Wyoming to participate in the Wyoming Spring Creek Field Study Abroad program. There, I will learning how to perform field work in Ecology, Geology, and Paleontology over the course of 6 weeks. This program will focus on the natural processes that influence both the abiotic and biotic environments of the Spring Creek Preserve and surrounding landscapes. The program also hosts a variety of hikes and field trips around the state of Wyoming, including Yellowstone National Forest, which will allow us to learn about many different kinds of environments. The program will then be cumulated into a final independent research project that will allow us to go through the scientific method authentically while also practicing the field and date collection techniques we learn throughout the course.

I chose this program originally in order to satisfy my field credit requirement for my major; however, I also believe that this program will help me to grow both personally and professionally. I was most drawn to the ecology aspect of this program, but I have also been privately interested in archaeology and paleontology which are both included in this specific program. Earlier this summer, I participated in field work here in Pennsylvania, so I am already somewhat familiar with eastern deciduous forests. This program will help me to learn about environments that I am much less familiar with. As an ecology student, it is very important to me that I learn about as many different kinds of ecosystems, field techniques, and focuses in ecology as I can so that I can make the most informed decision possible when choosing my focus in grad school. This program will also hopefully help me to grow as a person. I hope to become more independent and have as many unique experiences as I can before I graduate. I am also looking forward to making some new friends!

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