Katrina Anais Cotten

Hometown:  Romeoville, IL
Year/Graduation:  Graduated December 2022
Concentration:  Fish, Wildlife, and Conservation Biology


Why Illinois? – What factors helped contribute to your decision to attend the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign?

I chose to attend this university for several reasons. It wasn’t too far from home, they offered me the best financial aid package out of everywhere I applied, and it’s a large university with so many opportunities. My mom was worried about me attending such a large university. She thought I would become “just a number,” but that’s not the case at all.

This university provides an almost overwhelming amount of opportunities to study abroad, get involved in research, lead a student organization, and meet new people. No one in my family went to college, so finding a place to spend my next four years was extremely difficult, but the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign made that decision so much easier for me.


Why NRES? – Specifically, why did you choose to study Natural Resources and Environmental Sciences?

I never really knew what I wanted to do after high school. I liked all of my subjects, but nothing necessarily felt right. I began hearing more and more about the environmental issues that our world faces, and soon, I felt like pursuing a career in the environmental field was what I had to do.

I liked the variety of classes you can take in NRES, including anything from environmental law to stream ecology. The faculty research happening in the department really pulled me in. NRES is definitely not the largest major on campus or even in the College of ACES, but that kind of unites its students as a family.

I decided to major in NRES because I wanted to be surrounded by people who cared about the environment like I do, and I wasn’t let down.

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