NRES Student Ambassador Katrina Cotten
Hometown: Romeoville, IL
Year/Graduation: Sophmore, May 2023
Concentration: Fish, Wildlife, and Conservation Biology
Why choose to become a Student Ambassador?
I’m an ambassador because I want to share the wonderful experiences I’ve had in NRES. I
think it’s a great department not only because of the professors but also because of the
students. I feel like everyone in NRES truly wants to be here and make the world better,
even just a little bit. I’ve met so many amazing people through my classes, study abroad,
research, and seminars. I know you have to make extremely difficult decisions when it
comes to college, and I’d love to make that process easier for anyone I can.
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