My name is Sarah Lynn Bowser, and I am a junior wildlife sciences major at Warnell. Whenever I am asked about what I study here at UGA, I am always ready for the follow up question of “So, what do you want to do with that? You want to be a park ranger?”
Now, while there is nothing wrong with aspiring to be a forest ranger (it’s a great job, and we definitely need more of them in the world), I do get frustrated that this is the only job people think of when they hear what I study.
The truth is, there are a lot more career options for a student earning their degree with an emphasis on wildlife sciences. The program offered here at Warnell is recognized as one of the premier programs in the country, and by choosing the wildlife area of emphasis students fulfill the educational requirements to become Certified Wildlife Biologists, as stipulated by The Wildlife Society.
This education prepares students to take on many challenging career paths, ranging from Endangered Species biologists to wildlife rehabilitators.
For me personally, I plan to take my degree with me to an international level by volunteering for the Peace Corps. I’ve spoken to recruiters, and I found that having a degree from Warnell will give me automatic qualification for service. I have the opportunity to serve as a volunteer in environmental education, protected areas management, and even as an agroforestry specialist in countries such as Paraguay, Mexico, Nicaragua, and Guyana.
By getting involved with these volunteer opportunities, I would be making more of an impact in smaller communities while also providing them with the education and the means to make better environmental decisions. I am mostly excited to have the opportunity to teach a younger generation and hopefully instill in them the same appreciation for the natural world that I have. My hope is that if children today fall in love with nature and the world around them, then we can be one step closer to protecting it for future generations.
So, all in all, I love when people ask about what I study. I am always excited and proud to talk about it, as I see it as important work. I just wanted people to know the large variety of avenues a degree in Wildlife sciences can really take you!