Return to Skip Menu

Main Navigation

Return to Skip Menu

Main Content

Undergraduate Student

Paul Decker

Senior, Natural Resources Conservation and Environmental Resources Management

  • Minors: Forestry, Wetland Science, Watershed Management, and Geosciences

I grew up in Gainesville, Fla., for the majority of my life. It was there where I first encountered my fascination and passion for the outdoors and for natural resources. I grew up in a small family with many opportunities to explore and experience the Florida wilderness. I participated in both Cub Scouts and Boy Scouts for my entire childhood and eventually attained the rank of Eagle Scout. Within scouting, my initial passion for the outdoors was fostered, and through my high school and eventual college career I made the decision to make this my professional career. I realized that by making environmental studies my course of study, I could work for the rest of my life in the company of the outdoors and the wilderness.

Initially I did not know specifically what I wanted to study in college; however, my freshman year I discovered the College of Natural Resources and Environment and my plans took off from there. I found that the natural resources conservation major was just what I wanted in order to pursue a career in environmental education. Through my college career, I soon found that I did not want to spend my life teaching high school, like I originally thought, but to instead share my knowledge with other students and colleagues as a professor. I have found that with the study of natural resources, you begin to question your own values and understanding of your surroundings and you challenge yourself to perform your best work because you know that the field of natural resources demands it.

I have grown tremendously while I have been a student here at Virginia Tech, and I can greatly attribute that to my professors, colleagues, and the College of Natural Resources and Environment as a whole. While here, I have served as an ambassador of the college because I want to share the same passion for this subject, this college, and the university with other students. Upon graduation, I would most like to pursue a career working for the U.S. Forest Service as a research forester studying forest hydrology, soils, and watershed management. Ultimately, I imagine myself becoming a professor and sharing my same passion and love for the outdoors with the young minds of tomorrow.

Honors and Awards

  • Eagle Scout, Boys Scouts of America
  • Member, Xi Sigma Pi (Forestry Honor Society)
  • Member, Phi Kappa Phi (National Honor Society)
  • George and Mary Ragsdale Scholarship, 2011
  • Gretchen and Clyde Smith Memorial Scholarship, 2012
  • Victor W. Stewart Scholarship, 2013
  • Dean’s List, fall 2011-spring 2013

25th Anniversary

Celebrating 25 Years

    1992 through 2017, 25 years

Join us Sept. 15-16 to visit campus and reconnect with alumni, faculty, staff, and friends.

Celebrate with Us

Read the Summer Newsmagazine

    CNRE Newsmagazine Spring 2017

Select a Major

We have 11 majors for you to choose from with over 10 options to specialize in. Select yours now and join us in bringing the future to nature.