Laura Peirson ’23
After traveling to Rwanda on three different grants to aid the Rwanda Wildlife Conservation Association in saving endangered Grey Crowned Cranes as the Hospital Manager of Animal Health and Registered Veterinary Technician for the Columbus Zoo and Aquarium, I decided I could increase my impact potential as a wildlife field biologist. I was traveling around the world then and was not sure where I would land in the United States. I took advantage of the Distance Education program Unity offers and registered to begin coursework towards the Bachelor of Science in Wildlife Conservation.
When I enrolled at Unity I did not have much left in my savings but I knew I needed to pursue a bachelor’s degree to broaden my impact. I started working part-time for The Wilds, a safari park and conservation breeding facility, while attending school full-time and eventually was able to take on more hours at work. While it was difficult working 35 hours a week and attending school full-time, receiving a scholarship from Unity eased a great deal of financial pressure and allowed me to focus on absorbing the ecological and social concepts I would need to tackle threats to biodiversity across the globe. In addition, receiving a scholarship from Unity gave me the confidence to pursue a graduate degree and boosted my resume enabling me to successfully receive a fully-funded Graduate Teaching Assistantship with Northern Michigan University to research African carnivore gut microbiome and its implications for wildlife conservation.
Anything is possible so never stop believing that you can make a difference. Cherish your time at Unity and I will see you in the field!