NRES Student Ambassador Veronica Casey
Hometown: Huntley, IL
Year/Graduation: Senior, May 2021
Concentration: Human Dimensions of the Environment
Why Illinois? – What factors helped contribute to your decision to attend the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign?
In high school, I became lost in a sea of college acceptances from schools promising the same thing, but I realized that what truly mattered was how the school inspired me. Each time I visited the University of Illinois, a new wave of ideas occupied my thoughts- ideas on how I can shape the future that I want. This primarily affected me after going to Explore Aces as a prospective student. I heard from student ambassadors about what they achieved in college and what they were going to do afterward, and to say I was impressed would be an understatement. From that point on, I was hooked on the idea of attending the University of Illinois. Talking to my peers about the University made me realize that not only is Illinois highly ranked, but the College of ACES is one of the best agricultural colleges in the world. There were plenty of student organizations that caught my interest and opportunities in the College of ACES that I knew about even before becoming a student. These positive factors accumulated into my exciting decision to attend the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign.
Why NRES? – Specifically, why did you choose to study Natural Resources and Environmental Sciences?
Throughout my life, I was always interested in the natural world and learning about life sciences, but I truly felt a passion for environmental science after visiting my family in the Philippines. That country exposed me to the beauty of green hills and the vast ocean, and I became obsessed with learning about the unique plant and animal species there. However, I was also exposed to a depressing reality of extreme pollution in urban areas. This left me wondering what I could do to protect the environment from problems such as this. While exploring different environmental science programs, I found the most exceptional opportunity for change in the Department of NRES. Browsing the faculty page revealed professors conducting research that helps not only the environment but also human populations across the world. The areas of research in NRES expand beyond my initial perception of environmental science, and I knew that I could find my place there. I chose to study NRES as a foundation for my desire to change the world for the better.