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Marsha Barnes ’13

What year did you graduate from Unity College?

2013

What was your degree program at Unity College?

Wildlife Biology

What city/ state are you from originally?

Washington, PA

What city/ state do you live in now?

Hutchinson, MN

What is your current job title?

Wildlife Biologist

What is the name of your employer?

U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service

What does your current job entail? 

Field biology, environmental management, and using GIS software. 

Are you happy in your current career?

Yes!

What brought you to Unity College?

A scholarship, the specialization, and the fact that it was very far away from PA!

Did you do an internship or research project during your time at Unity College?

No. Instead I did a thesis on ecotoxicity.

Do you feel as though Unity College prepared you for your career?

Yes.

Is there anything you would have done differently during your college career?

I would have done an internship during my undergraduate degree.

Do you have any advice for current Unity students? 

Do fieldwork! The best part about Unity and what prepared me the most for my current job, was the research aspects. The labs were outdoors and hands on, you were doing a research project every semester, and there was ample forest to use as your study site. Fieldwork is needed to really understand if your career should be in biology. Outdoor activity is usually part of the day to day, and you need to know if you can handle it early on so you have time to change focuses haha.

I had a volunteer working with me that had just graduated with a biology degree, claiming they wanted to become a field researcher. After a couple days in the field with me, they changed all of their career plans, because they couldn’t handle it. Their education didn’t prepare them for it. Don’t be like my volunteer. 

What about professional advice?

Internships and seasonal positions are not just something to do after the bachelor’s degree. Do them when and wherever you can. Also don’t be too picky about it either (aka put on that backpack sprayer).