Meet Amy Thorp
Amy Thorp’s undergraduate experience has been an international one. The CNR Student Ambassador, who is graduating with a double major in ecology and conservation biology and wildlife resources, has studied in Australia and Ecuador—an adventure she didn’t expect when she first set foot on campus.
“I was not expecting to be challenged as much as I was,” she said, reflecting about her time on campus. “I had so many opportunities through UI. I was just expecting to go to school, but my experience was so much broader than that.”
She took advantage of a study abroad semester in Australia, where she had the opportunity to learn about how natural resource management was handled in another country; and a summer in Ecuador, where she conducted field research in high alpine lakes in the Andes range.
Amy, from Newberg, Oregon, was initially drawn to UI when she learned about the ecology and conservation biology program. “Basically, I’d been thinking about going to Oregon State,” she said. “Then, I got this material from UI. I thought, ‘Oh wow, they have a program I’m really interested in.’”
Her initial visit to campus reinforced her decision to come inland for school. “The faculty were awesome,” she said. “They went out of their way to speak to me and my parents, to show us around. I decided this was where I wanted to come.”
Amy’s interest in wildlife was fueled by her involvement in the Student Chapter of the Wildlife Society. She joined the club her freshman year, had a great experience and ended up serving as club president during her sophomore year. Taking advantage of the varied opportunities available for students was important to her.
“Most of your learning happens outside of the classroom,” she said. “Take those opportunities to go out and volunteer, to apply for internships. While you need to study, you also need to get out and take advantage of those opportunities.
“Club experiences gave me the opportunity to speak to professionals in the field.”
She sees herself becoming one of those professionals in the future.
Next summer, Amy will do service work. She plans to spend a week as a volunteer at a camp in Isle Royale—backpacking and collecting moose bones, followed by other trips with friends. She’ll spend time next year volunteering with Impact Campus Ministries.
“Then,” she said. “I’d like to find a position where I can teach the public about the importance of protecting natural resources. I really like on-the-ground monitoring, but I feel like there’s a huge disconnect between the public and nature.”
“There really needs to be people there to bridge that gap,” she said.