NRES Student Ambassador Kealie Vogel
Hometown: Peoria, IL
Year in School/Expected Graduation: Senior, December 2018
Concentration: Human Dimensions of the Environment
Why Illinois? – What factors helped contribute to your decision to attend the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign?
As I first began my college search, I had a few strict criteria in my mind in regard to the type of college I wanted to attend. It had to be close to home, but not TOO close- I needed to forge my own friendships and eke out a life for myself on my own, but I still wanted my friends and family to be a reasonable drive away. Secondly, the college should be large enough to comfortably contrast with my high school of 800- certainly on the smaller side when compared to the other high schools in the area. Finally, the school needed to be well-regarded, academically rigorous, and have a certain quiet dignity and rich history. Northwestern was beautiful, but far away. Out-of-state schools didn't appeal to me as much as Illinois. After a few weeks (maybe even months!) of contemplation, I decided on my school- the University of Illinois. What a wonderful place- centrally located, globally recognized, bubbling and bursting with research, clubs, social events, friendships and life-changing experiences waiting to be discovered in every nook and cranny of this 4,500 acre campus.
Why NRES? Specifically, why did you choose to study Natural Resources and Environmental Sciences?My interest in the environment was first piqued by my AP Environmental Science class in high school- my teacher's passion for the subject matter, combined with our frequent hands-on experience identifying local flora and fauna in class, ignited an excitement within me that I had never felt for any other subject. Today, with climate change posing what I consider to be the greatest threat of our time, I feel that NRES is providing me with the tools I need to do as much as I possibly can to combat this issue, hopefully by working globally to bridge the gap between humans and the natural world, and, in time, create a population that cares deeply about a healthy environment and the future of this planet.