Alumna Credits McCall Outdoor Science School with Changing her Life
MOSS Took Environmental Scientist Out of her Comfort Zone
When LaKysha Harris first arrived at CNR’s McCall Outdoor Science School (MOSS) in 2014, she had some doubts. “I just suddenly moved far away from home. I had no idea what to expect, and I was one of the only African-Americans in this town,” recalls Harris, who grew up in Jackson, Mississippi.
"I knew nothing about Idaho before attending MOSS, but I can honestly say it was the best decision I ever made”LaKysha Harris, M.S. ’15
Soon, however, Harris was embracing her MOSS graduate program in environmental education and science communication. She found herself canoeing to class, taking a week-long camping trip in the remote Frank Church wilderness and working directly with K-12 students, teaching them about the environment at CNR’s lakefront McCall Field Campus in the Idaho Rockies.
“I knew nothing about Idaho before attending MOSS, but I can honestly say it was the best decision I ever made,” Harris said. “It was a life-changing experience.” Harris—who holds a bachelor’s degree in biological science from Mississippi State University and worked previously as a natural resource advisor on the 2010 BP oil spill in the Gulf of Mexico—brought a lot of scientific knowledge with her, but MOSS helped her improve her communication and team-building skills.
Today, Harris, M.S. ’15, is working as an environmental scientist at the Mississippi Department of Environmental Quality where she collects samples for assessment and works to ensure corporations are in compliance with environmental laws. She feels the skills she learned at MOSS prepared her well for educating the public about environmental science. “When speaking to people about environmental concerns, I take things that I learned from MOSS, such as breaking down technical language into layman’s terms, to avoid misunderstandings,” she said.
Article by Sara Zaske, College of Natural Resources
Published in Winter 2018-19 issue of Celebrating Natural Resources