Hi, my name is Mackenzie Courtney (I mostly go by Kenzie) and I am a rising senior at the University of Pittsburgh. I am studying Environmental Science and minoring in Architectural Design. Since transferring to Pitt this last year, I have prioritized getting involved to meet new people and continue to follow my passions. I am the rising Treasurer of Epsilon Eta – the environmental honors fraternity on campus. I also am a member of the outdoors club and plan to try out for the women’s lacrosse club in the fall. This past semester and the weeks leading up to this trip I have been working at Clean Water Action as a phone canvasser. This job has expanded my knowledge on the policy end of fighting for environmental issues, as well as general knowledge about environmental topics.
A week from today I am leaving for a six-week field study program in Laramie, Wyoming. This field study program is offered by Pitt’s Honors college and we will be spending our time at the University of Wyoming as well as Pitt’s Spring Creek Preserve. During my time here I will be learning about the ecology and geology of the land. Nearing the end of the trip we will be visiting Yellowstone and the Grand Tetons! This opportunity to learn while camping, hiking, and visiting such beautiful places is what drew me to choose this program. I hope to expand my knowledge of rock formations and the wildlife in Wyoming. I am also looking forward to exploring Laramie and meeting new people with similar interests as me. Academically, this program completes a core requirement for my Environmental Science degree. But I feel as though this program will be beneficial to my academic and professional career. This hands-on learning experience will strengthen my knowledge of geological processes and will build my knowledge of ecology. I have not taken any ecology-specific courses while at Pitt, so having the opportunity to learn about the wildlife in Wyoming is very exciting to me! Having this experience doing field work could also be beneficial for my future career. Although I don’t have much experience camping, I am excited about this opportunity and looking forward to the adventure!