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Undergraduate Student

Ashley Weston

Fisheries Science and Biology

Expected Graduation Date: May 2015

I grew up in Southern Maryland, where I spent most of my time outside exploring the woods, playing sports, or riding horses. Living on the Patuxent River and learning about it significantly influenced my development. Upon graduating high school, I didn’t know what I wanted to do with my life, but I knew I liked biology. I enrolled at Virginia Tech as a biology major thinking that a career as a pharmacist after graduation sounded like a good path for me. Within my first semester at Virginia Tech I learned about the fisheries science major. Who knew they had such a thing? My love for the water and the outdoors kicked into gear and I knew what I wanted to do with my college career. Choosing fisheries science as my primary major and biology as my second major ranks among the best decisions I’ve ever made.

The summer after my freshman year, I interned for the Student Conservation Association, surveying freshwater ponds at the Patuxent River Naval Air Station. Every day brought a new adventure and I virtually soaked up all I could about natural resources. My responsibilities included boat electrofishing, seining, and gill netting ponds, along with teaching field trip groups about local wildlife. This job affirmed my decision to pursue natural resources. Last summer, I worked for Professor Brian Murphy as an undergraduate researcher and laboratory technician. For my undergraduate research project, I am studying how black bass fishing tournaments affect smallmouth bass in the New River. Doing my own project provides me the opportunity to gain experience in project development, execution, and writing. I am actively involved in the Virginia Tech Chapter of the American Fisheries Society as a member and an officer since my freshman year, allowing me to network with fisheries professionals, explore career options, and participate in various community service activities.

Broadening my learning through classes in fisheries science and biology allows me to bring a unique perspective to natural resource issues. Many courses at Virginia Tech taught me the latest facts and techniques in my field, but not how to guide, direct, and serve others. I believe being a part of the Leadership Institute will develop these skills and enhance my ability to enter the workplace and create innovative ideas through productive leadership practices. I enjoy studying freshwater fisheries in my undergraduate program, but after graduating I hope to pursue a master’s degree in marine fisheries science and return to my marine roots where my interest began. I would then like to get a job working to conserve and sustainably manage our marine resources so that many more generations can experience a childhood like mine.

Honors and Awards

  • AmeriCorps Education Award, 2012
  • Donaldson Brown Scholarship, 2011
  • Dean’s List, spring 2012-spring 2014

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