Education Beyond the Classroom

One of my favorite aspects of the NRES program is that the curriculum is designed to supplement book-work with hands-on experience. I’ve found that labs and other interactive activities in my courses have greatly enhanced my learning experience. I will give you a preview of some of my most engaging courses from the Fall 2020 semester and explain how they have been beneficial to my professional development.

In my “Soils and Landscapes” class (AGRY 565), we had weekly field trips to Purdue agricultural sites to practice soil classification. We learned how to identify various soil characteristics such as texture, color, and structure, which are valuable skills for students planning to pursue internships/careers with agencies such as the Natural Resources Conservation Service or environmental consulting firms.

In “Soil Biogeochemistry” (EAPS 518), we hand-collected soil samples and then performed biogeochemical field-tests to assess soil health. This class provided a unique opportunity for students to experience the entire research process, from sample collection to data analysis, and I found it was particularly helpful in my preparation for graduate school.

I was also enrolled in “Seminar in Environmental Education” (EDCI 516), which was different from my typical STEM-focused courses. We learned pedagogical techniques for teaching environmental science material (focused on K-12 students), and upon completion of the course, we earned certification in Project Learning Tree (PLT) Secondary Environmental Education Modules. My favorite part about this course is that it included a variety of excursions to practice the material, including a trip to Celery Bog for a tree-identification activity.

So, if you’re interested in a major that provides meaningful, practical experience (with the added bonus of getting outside during some classes) NRES may be for you!


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