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Undergraduate Student

Cassidy Williams

Wildlife Conservation

Expected Graduation Date: December 2016

My roots are in Grayson County, Virginia, where I grew up on my family’s farm. I was homeschooled through grade school and then attended Wytheville Community College. I transferred into the wildlife conservation program at Virginia Tech in August 2014. I am a member of The Wildlife Society and a CNRE Student Ambassador.

I credit my wonder of the natural world to my parents, who always encouraged me to do outdoor activities. When I was 10, we took a cross-country trip to visit the major national parks. It was at Yellowstone where my love for wildlife truly flourished. I loved seeing the elk, bison, and grizzlies roam freely. I have known for many years that I wanted a career in managing wildlife, specifically large mammals.

This past summer I participated in the Wildlife in the West course offered by Northwest Connections. I earned nine credits through the University of Montana by spending six weeks in the woods learning about threatened and endangered species and the controversial issues that surround them. I met with many wildlife biologists employed by private companies and government agencies. We delved into the issues that surround the management of species of concern such as grizzlies, Canada lynx, and gray wolves.

I took Dr. McMullin’s Human Dimensions class during my first semester at Virginia Tech and learned about the challenges of conserving wildlife while simultaneously addressing the concerns of those people living in close proximity to them. I enjoy applying the skills and techniques I have learned to the management of wildlife while also “managing” people. While in Montana, I explored this crucial part of conservation management when conversing with trappers and farmers. I enjoy the challenge of working with people to find solutions that benefit both wildlife and humans.

I plan to pursue a master’s degree with the goal of becoming a wildlife biologist working with large mammals. I particularly like the animals that are more controversial, such as gray wolves. I have volunteered in two labs at Virginia Tech where I have gained valuable skills in animal husbandry and social sciences. This semester, I am starting my own research, with the help of Dr. Donald Linzey, about the food habits of coyotes around the Great Smoky Mountains.

I am honored to be a part of the Leadership Institute. I look forward to strengthening my communication skills and am excited about the opportunity to speak with professionals and gain real-world experience through the next two semesters.

Honors and Awards

  • National Society of Collegiate Scholars
  • Phi Theta Kappa
  • Tau Sigma National Honor Society Dean’s List, fall 2014

25th Anniversary

Celebrating 25 Years

    1992 through 2017, 25 years

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