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The Road to Warnell – Brianna Brown

Hey guys! I’m a senior Natural Resource, Recreation, and Tourism major here at Warnell. And if you’re like anyone I’ve met in the last couple of years, you’re probably wondering what I want to do with this major. Good question! Moving on. If I had to describe myself in four words, they’d be: “open-minded, but highly indecisive.” In fact, it took me a few seconds to come up with even that. And on a totally unrelated note, since I was a freshman, I have officially changed my major five times. I bring this up because Warnell was not my first choice, or my second, or third for that matter (cue sappy Rascal Flatt’s “God Blessed the Broken Road”). I went from Chemistry to Social Work to Chemistry to Cognitive Science to Communication Sciences and Disorders to NRRT. And I couldn’t be happier or feel more at home.

Everybody has their favorite Warnell moment. For me, it was the trip to Charlotte I took for Urban Tree Management. Thing is, I had no reason to take this class, other than the fact that it sounded interesting, I needed another elective, and I liked field trips. This class met all three requirements, and more. During the spring semester, we took an overnight trip to Charlotte to visit Bartlett, a tree research facility. Being the only girl was intimidating to me at first, only because I figured I’d feel left out and inadequate in a way, especially since I was only one of 2 non-forestry students. To put it bluntly, I was in a tree class and on a tree field trip, yet knew almost nothing about trees. We were able to play with various tools—and by play, I mean use in a professional manner. I found myself volunteering first a lot mainly because I was just excited to get my hands on the equipment. We practiced air spading, injecting, root “butterflying,” and pruning. We toured the property, saw ongoing tree experiments, and saw the most amazing sculpted trees. We also met amazing, friendly people. One lady in particular stood out to me. I cannot remember her name for the life of me, but she pulled me aside just as we were heading back to the vans, gave me a hug, and told me that she was blown away by me and that there was something about me that she just loved. It’s awesome to be able to meet women in the field, as we are certainly outnumbered by a long shot.

This brings me back to your first question: what do I want to do with my major? Well I still can’t answer that. However, that class—and more specifically, that field trip—opened up the possibility of me becoming a certified arboriculturist. As Dr. Coder would tell us, there’s always a demand, and if anything else, it is a great fallback plan. Sure, I’ve had plenty of great experiences here at Warnell, but this was definitely one that I would never forget.


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