Kayla McLagan, EES Student Ambassador

Why did you choose UMaine and the EES program?

When I was applying to schools, UMaine was always at the top of my list. I love the outdoors and most days, I am outside more than I am in. Going to UMaine, I knew I would have the opportunity to immerse myself in the great outdoors, especially in my given major. Personally, I believe that the greatest classroom is outside and the best lessons are learned among nature. I knew that in the EES program at UMaine, I would be able to receive a hands-on learning experience throughout college, starting at my first semester, and sure enough, I was correct! On top of this hands-on learning style, I have been presented with countless incredible opportunities and I look forward to taking on more presented by the EES program in the future.

Why did you choose your particular concentration?

I chose the General Ecosystem Ecology concentration because I have always had an interest in various ecosystems and conservation. By understanding ecosystems of all kinds, we can learn the impact that humans are having on our environment and further establish ways to conserve them. Rather than focusing on one type of ecosystem, the General Ecosystem Ecology concentration gives me the opportunity to study them all.

Best hands-on experience?

This past summer, I had the opportunity to take a field research class at Shoals Marine Laboratory on Appledore Island. The course that I took was Shark Biology and Conservation. This class gave me my first opportunity to conduct an independent research project, conduct data collection, and have hands-on experience working with sharks. I learned so much from this program, but most importantly fell in love with field research.

What do you do when you aren’t studying or attending classes?

When I am not studying or attending classes, I am likely embracing the great outdoors or fulfilling one of my leadership positions in various clubs here on campus including Vice President of Best Buddies and Black Bear Leader of Sophomore Eagles. In my free time, I can be found hiking, camping, kayaking, lounging in my hammock, gardening, or hanging out on the water with a fishing pole in my hand!

Any wisdom or advice for prospective EES students?

I believe that it is important to have a healthy balance between work and personal time. My advice for prospective students would be to get involved, retain as much knowledge as you can, take advantage of presented opportunities, educate others, and most importantly, never stop exploring. Maine is an incredibly beautiful place and there are new adventures around every corner, go find them!