Biology with a Track in Botany
Fayetteville, North Carolina
I am a medically retired, Army 7th Special Forces Group veteran pursuing a degree in Biology with a track in Botany. I became interested in science at an early age, living in the hills of southwest Missouri. I joined the Army after graduating high school and volunteered for the Army’s 1st Ranger Battalion, where I spent many hours in the woods honing the needed skills. I later volunteered for the Army Special Forces and attended the second ever class of the Special Forces Assessment and Selection (SFAS). Upon graduation of SFAS, I was assigned to Okinawa, Japan, with 1st Special Forces Group and was later assigned to the 7th Special Forces Group located at Fort Bragg, North Carolina. During my time in the Army, I managed to travel to most parts of the globe. The two areas that stick out in my mind for their beauty was Malaysia, because of its untouched jungles, and Guatemala, because of the simple way of life and the friendly locals. The mountains of Guatemala will always have a special place in my heart. When I left the military, I worked on and built motorcycles for a few years until I started to further my education, which brings me to the present day.
Why did you choose to attend UNCP?
When I started researching universities to attend, I was looking for three specific things. It had to be within driving distance of Fayetteville, it had to have a botany program, and it had to have smaller class sizes. These were important to me as I am established in Fayetteville, and I had attended other university classes in which I had never uttered a word to the professor. I felt I needed to be able to reach out to my professors and to ask questions and seek guidance. The University of North Carolina at Pembroke has not disappointed me. The level of instruction, research opportunities, and attentiveness of the facility and staff is of the highest caliber.
What do you like best about UNCP?
I have always liked to be challenged and have found that most challenges can be accomplished with the right approach and mentorship. There is no way that I could finish my degree in Biology without the guidance and support offered to me at UNCP. My lecture and lab questions were always explained in a manner I could understand with as much time as needed. Never rushed. Chemistry I, II and Organic Chemistry were extremely hard for me to grasp. The Chemistry Department professors worked with me and set up tutors as needed. This comes back to my original statement of “most challenges can be accomplished with the right approach and mentorship.” This was afforded to me at UNCP on many levels; that is what I like the most!
What are your post-graduation plans?
My graduation plans are to attend a graduate school where I can continue my studies in plant sciences. My research contributions to the University of North Carolina at Pembroke have concentrated on plant communities of Sampson’s Landing, Robeson County, North Carolina. I have presented research posters at the Annual Meeting of the Association of Southeastern Biologists, North Carolina Academy of Science, State of North Carolina Undergraduate Research and Creativity Symposium, and numerous Pembroke Undergraduate Research and Creativity symposia. My awards include the Robert Britt Memorial Scholarship presented by the Department of Biology, Summer USA Grant through Pembroke Undergraduate Research and Creativity Center, and a Student Scholarship Support grant for materials and supplies used for Sampson’s Landing research.