NRES Student Ambassador Meghan Schroeder
Hometown: Wheaton, IL
Year/Graduation: Junior, Dec. 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?
Every year growing up, my family would attend the Engineering Open House (EOH) because my dad graduated from here with a computer science degree. While at EOH, my dad would try to find activities that my sisters and I would enjoy as well. As a kid, I really wanted to be a vet. I can remember getting to go to the Stock Pavilion and sticking my hand inside of a living cow! It was so exciting for me. However, as I got older, I realized I would never be able to be a vet, due to having to euthanize animals. After that, I decided to be a teacher. I ended up attending Arizona State University for 2 years to study education after high school. However, it was during that time, I realized the outdoors was where I belonged. I ended up transferring to the University of Illinois to live closer to home (Wheaton, IL) and be a part of my family tradition. My dad passed away while I was in high school so when I came for my campus tour, I felt connected to him again after several years of separation. It gave me a sense of pride in following in his footsteps.
Why NRES? – Specifically, why did you choose to study Natural Resources and Environmental Sciences?
I chose NRES because I wanted to work with wildlife and help preserve our wonderful national parks and forests. I wanted to ensure the animals within our ecosystems could survive for generations to come. In addition to that, I wanted to be able to educate society on the importance of those ecosystems both for recreational purposes and economical reasons. After working as an Environmental Educator in my hometown for the summer, I realized NRES was the perfect fit for that. I looked into the concentrations and scheduled my tour. When I toured the campus, I loved the “hometown” feel to the college of ACES. They all knew each other in some way or another. They worked alongside their professors on research and fieldwork. I was looking for my “home away from home”. After my first year, I have grown that connection within NRES as well. We all take similar classes together and the professors guide you towards success. Everyone within the department wants to help you succeed. I liked that from the beginning of my application process for NRES, I felt guided while having the freedom to make my own academic decisions. There was always someone there to answer a question or get advice from, whenever I needed it.