I want to make a difference through conservation

NAME: Rebekah Corson       
HOMETOWN: Durant, Oklahoma
MAJORS: Environmental Science & Studies

INVOLVEMENT ON CAMPUS: Symphonic Band, tennis, Phi Eta Sigma, Scholars Program

WHY DID YOU CHOOSE WARTBURG: I chose Wartburg because I loved the feel of campus when I visited. I liked the feel of a smaller campus and everything felt like its own little community. My parents also met at this school, so something about it just felt right.

WHAT ARE YOUR PLANS AFTER GRADUATION: I just accepted a job in Fargo, N.D., where I will be an intern for the Agricultural Research Service, the principal in-house research agency of the U.S. Department of Agriculture, where I will be researching sunflowers.

HOW DID YOU DECIDE ON YOUR MAJOR: I knew going into college that I wanted to study environmental science. I was in Girl Scouts as a kid, and I loved going camping and hiking. As I got older, I hated seeing all of the terrible things happening to the environment because of humans. That’s when I decided that I wanted to study environmental science and try to make a difference by working in conservation.

Rebekah Corson, 2021 Outstanding Senior in environmental science and studies

DID YOU DO ANY RESEARCH OR INTERNSHIPS WHILE AT WARTBURG: I did both! My senior research project at Wartburg was over plant community dynamics in disturbed and undisturbed forests in Iowa. The most interesting part of this research to me was that undisturbed forests had higher diversity and species richness than disturbed forests. For my internship, I worked with the U.S. Department of Agriculture after my sophomore year. One of my main jobs there was to run soil testing, finding things such as aggregate stability and testing soil pH in their lab.

WHAT IS SOMETHING YOU’VE LEARNED ABOUT YOURSELF SINCE COMING TO WARTBURG: One thing I have learned is that I love learning about plants! I never thought that this was something that would be interesting to me coming into college. I now have five plants in my room and counting.

WHY WOULD YOU RECOMMEND PURSUING A DEGREE IN ENVIRONMENTAL SCIENCE AND STUDIES: I would highly recommend getting a degree in environmental science. It is a growing field and there are so many things that you can do with that degree. Plus, you can work outside and learn really cool things about environmental science and ecology.

HOW DID COVID-19 IMPACT YOUR COLLEGE EXPERIENCE: COVID-19 has taken away a lot of opportunities for me. One of those was my ability to travel abroad and domestically. I was supposed to go to the Bahamas this May Term to study island ecology. I also missed out on my tennis spring break trip this year. It was also much more difficult to complete my senior research, because we were much more restricted with timing and locations for testing. I know that many people have lost much more to the pandemic, and I am very grateful that I was still able to come to school and finish out my degree.

DO YOU HAVE ANY MENTORS ON CAMPUS: My mentors have been my adviser, Dr. David McCullough, and my research mentor, Dr. Michaeleen Golay. They have both helped me a lot with getting through my college career by giving me advice about classes and school when I needed it.

WHAT IS YOUR FAVORITE WARTBURG MEMORY: One of my favorite memories was going to Orlando with the tennis team last year. I love those spring break trips because I get to play tennis outside, even though it’s cold back in Waverly. Orlando was fun because we got to do so many things together, like going to baseball spring training and going to Disney World. It’s an especially fond memory for me because that was right before everything shut down because of COVID-19. I have so many great memories at Wartburg, but spending time in Florida with the whole tennis team is definitely up there.

WHAT ADVICE DO YOU HAVE FOR CURRENT STUDENTS: Your four years at Wartburg go really fast, so don’t forget to go out and enjoy your time here as much as possible!