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Focus on Graduate Students: Annalise Wershoven

In each edition of The Log, we feature a graduate student and discuss their passion for natural resources, how they found Warnell, and their aspirations for the future. In the summer edition, we profiled Annalise Wershoven, who will graduate next year.

Degree you’re earning: MS, Natural Resources Recreation and Tourism

Hometown: Boca Raton, Florida

Previous education: I graduated from Pompano Beach High School in 2012, and I went on to receive my bachelor’s in anthropology from Florida Atlantic University in 2016. I also have a minor in sociology, and a certificate in women and gender studies.

Expected graduation: Summer 2019

How did you find Warnell? After graduating from college, I was working as a marine turtle specialist at a nature center in Florida. Teaching others about sea turtles and marine conservation was one of the best parts of my job, so I began looking for a graduate program that could allow me to incorporate my passion for environmental education into my program of study. I started doing some research on natural resources programs, and the NRRT program stood out to me. Once I found Warnell, I knew I didn’t want to go anywhere else.

Post-graduation plans: Ideally, I would like to create and implement environmental education programming for a nature center, aquarium, or government agency.

How’d you choose your field? Growing up in South Florida, I was fortunate enough to have amazing outdoor experiences. I was snorkeling and SCUBA diving on local reefs, kayaking and fishing in the Everglades, and exploring natural areas near my home. It wasn’t until I started volunteering at my local nature center that I realized just how lucky I was, since so many people didn’t have the opportunities that I did. I want to be able to serve the community by bringing positive outdoor experiences to as many people as possible, and I feel that environmental education is the best way to do that.

What research are you passionate about? My thesis research project assesses changes in environmental literacy before and after two different types of sea turtle conservation lessons. I will be working with Sandy Creek Nature Center and their environmental summer camp in order to conduct this research.

In one of my classes, Foundations of Environmental Education, we are working with Howard B. Stroud Elementary School in Athens to revitalize their on-site nature trail. We are creating videos and lesson plans that the teachers can use in accordance with the Georgia state standards. It’s a really large project and a lot of fun.

What is your best UGA memory? I’m a teaching assistant for an introductory marine biology lab. One of the coolest labs we do is an invertebrate lab, and the students get to observe and touch all of the critters. The best part about this lab is watching students who were previously afraid or unsure about some “creepy” marine life get really excited about holding spider crabs and sea cucumbers and upside down jellyfish. It made the whole lab worth it just to see their reactions.

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