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Undergraduate Student

Kelly Merkl

Junior, Natural Resources Conservation

  • Minor: Forestry

I am from Bethesda, Md., a very urban area within walking distance of Washington, D.C. I love being a Hokie and have learned so much and met so many amazing people during my past two years here. In January 2010, I became a member of Delta Gamma sorority, which has provided me with countless academic, social, sisterhood, and community service opportunities. I have a work study position in the Department of Forest Resources and Environmental Conservation, which has been a great introduction to the environmental field. During my free time I enjoy hanging out with friends, listening to music, running, hiking, and swimming.

Before coming to Virginia Tech, I didn’t know anything about the field of natural resources. Since I have lived in an urban area all my life, my main connection to nature was through athletics. However, I have always had an interest in the environment through my mother, who was a law enforcement park ranger at Yosemite National Park for two years after graduating college. When deciding which major I wanted to pursue, I became very interesting in conservation because it was among the top ranked upcoming fields for jobs. I ended up choosing natural resources conservation and recreation management as my major. While I felt a little lost in the beginning because I had no background in natural resources, choosing this major was a great decision and I am really enjoying it.

I have learned so much already and I am really excited to make a difference in this field when I graduate. I am still unsure about the exact career path I plan to take when I graduate; however, I have two main possibilities, both of which center on living in the Washington, D.C., area. One possibility would be going to law school to study environmental law. The second possibility is obtaining a position as an environmental advisor, either for the government or a private company. I am honored to have been chosen for this institute and I am sure that the skills that I will take away from this experience will help me achieve my future career goals.

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