Villanueva endeavors to make an impact, inspire others

Isabella Villanueva smiles for a photo surrounded by flowers on East Campus.
Isabella Villanueva smiles for a photo surrounded by flowers on East Campus.

by Katie Black | University Communication and Marketing

How did you originally become interested in conservation and wildlife?

Growing up, I always had a strong connection with the environment and wildlife. Whether it was exploring the backyard with my brothers for bugs and animals, reading nonfiction wildlife books from my school library, or watching shows about animals, I loved learning and being in nature. When coming to college and choosing a major, it was a no-brainer, fisheries and wildlife was the major for me. I knew that for a future career I wanted to be out in the field saving wildlife and doing the dirty work so that pointed me directly to this major. I think that my parents also helped fuel my passion for the environment by taking me on walks around my neighborhood or going fishing at Holmes Lake. But from childhood, my interest has only grown!

I was able to study abroad in South Africa for a month this last June focusing on conservation and animal behavior and then was a part of the Doris Duke Conservation Scholars Program at the University of Washington. In this two-month immersion internship, I was able to study climate justice and the importance of BIPOC individuals in conservation fields. These opportunities have been life-changing and have grown my interest in wildlife exponentially!

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