My major, titled Conservation Ecology, includes courses that pertain to animals, the environment, and how the two rely on each other. I will be combining courses from the Environmental Science & Policy major and Biology to create this unique program. I originally started at PSU as an Environmental Biology major. As I went through the list of courses I needed to take for this major, I didn’t see classes I thought would help me gain the knowledge I wanted. Courses such as chemistry and physics were substituted with courses that focus on animals, as I would like to go more into depth on how they interact with their environment. The reason I created this discipline was so that I could combine my two passions; nature and animals. With the following list of courses I have taken or planning to take, I feel as though I will be fully prepared for my time after graduating when I take on my full-time career, either working in the field or at a wildlife sanctuary.
Last semester, I took Conservation. This class prepared me for working with data to see how human intervention affects the environment and populations of animals, and what we can do to conserve the natural world. I added Ornithology, or Avian Ecology, to my list because I have always had an interest in birds, and wanted to go more into depth on the subject. I am taking Current Environmental Issues this semester so I can be more knowledgeable on the status of today’s environment. Biological Science I and II are a necessity, they will provide a basis for my Biology major and introduce major topics, such as cell cycle and evolution. I will be taking Vertebrate and Invertebrate Zoology both in my senior year which will allow me to learn more about all animal kingdoms and their functions. Ecology is essential to my major because it fits my description exactly, how living things relate to one another and to their environment. Intro to Environmental Science and Policy will be important because it will include the basics of the ES&P major aid me in addressing environmental issues. I added the course Field Immersions to my major because it will introduce me to working in the field and taking real measurements of ecosystems, which is what I would like to focus on in my career. I would be taking the Environmental Science and Policy course, Advanced Conservation Ecology, my senior year. This course will be essential to my major because it envelopes conservation and ecology, subjects that I would like to go more in depth with especially if I were to focus on conservation in my career. I will be taking Intro to GIS (Geographic Information Systems) in order to learn how to map out coordinates in nature and use technology to analyze geographic information. Evolution is a course I would be taking my final year, it would allow me to grasp how animals have changed through time in relation to their surroundings, and why.
My program is defined as Interdisciplinary because it encompasses two major subjects; Biology, which contributes to the Conservation with a focus on animals portion of my major, and Environmental Science and Policy, which contributes to the Ecology aspect. What I have created differs from the Environmental Biology major in that it goes more into depth of relations between organisms and the environment and how they live off one another. While Environmental Biology is a broader view on the biological aspects of the environment, I want to go even deeper and really focus on the relations between organisms and their surroundings. I want to know how everything works, how each ecosystem functions, and how they support the animals that live there. I also want to know how we as humans can positively affect the natural world and what measures we need to take to preserve it. This major that I created would combine the two subjects I am the most interested in. When I graduate, I want to be as prepared for my future career as possible, and it is my opinion that the courses I chose will help me achieve that. With all of these classes under my belt, I am hoping to one day work out in the field and participate in animal conservation. I feel with this created major I will be as ready as I could be to finally focus on subjects I am passionate about.
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