Experiences of Unity College Students
tell us their stories!
Unity Students come from all different backgrounds and have had a wide range of unique experiences. We wanted to share with you some of their amazing stories!
Ashley Gamache, Bachelor of Science in Environmental Geospatial Technologies, Unity College class of 2022.
“An affordable and flexible online BS in Environmental Geospatial Technologies brought me to Unity College. As a DE student, the most significant benefit of the Unity College structure was flexible scheduling – I have three jobs; I can take classes and pursue classes for my drone license on top of everyday life.
Unity College prepared me for my future by allowing me the time to assess my professional profile and add critical factors.”
Lauren Grampp, Bachelor of Science in Marine Biology & Sustainable Aquaculture, Unity College class of 2022.
“I chose Unity College because it provided me the flexibility to be a mom and earn a degree in a field I always dreamed of obtaining a career in. Discovering that Unity offered a Marine Biology degree was a dream come true for me in the dark days of the pandemic and homeschooling my kids.
The biggest takeaway from my education at Unity was being able to engage in the coursework and utilize the material in real-world locations near me, feeling accepted by peers was something I missed in the previous schooling and was happy to receive. I hope to work with large mammal conservation and large predator conservation to ensure that these often misunderstood animals have a voice.”
Nicole Larkin, Master’s in Marine Science, Unity College class of 2022.
“I chose Unity for my Master’s degree because, on top of its status as a pioneer in conservation and environmental stewardship, it offered the flexibility and affordability I needed as a working mom of two amid a career change. I was able to complete my degree in about a year! The best takeaways I have from my degree are the ability to interpret research, analyze data, and write professionally; skills that will translate into all of my future endeavors.
Now that I’ve graduated, I hope to participate in various research projects throughout my career, work in the field with animals, finish my Divemaster certification, and eventually earn a Ph.D. I would recommend Unity to anyone looking to go into a conservation career!”
Rosi Abernathy, Master of Science in Wildlife Conservation and Management, Unity College class of 2022.
“My journey at Unity College began in January 2022. I selected Unity to further my education because it provided a distance education program that worked for me. I could not relocate easily as my family resides in Massachusetts, so being able to earn a master’s degree without leaving my home state was a gift in my opinion. I have to say my favorite class was “Human Dimensions of Natural Resource Management” because it challenged me to use existing knowledge and new knowledge while executing a Structured Decision Making (SDM) approach. I did not know the SDM process before this class, but now I feel educated and able to apply the approach in my future endeavors.”
Christin Bratton, Master’s in Environmental Studies and Sustainability, Unity College class of 2022.
“I recently completed my graduate degree with an M.S. in Environmental Studies and Sustainability at Unity College in October. One thing about me is that whether I’m in the office or the woods, nothing beats a whole day outside. You’ll find me wearing a dress, collared blouse, or poncho to the office, and then my hiking pants and boots at some point during the week. I hope to work outside in a field when I start my career.
I can really say that Unity College has provided so much care, little-to-no stress, and useful knowledge for advancing and learning in my field. Most education I received from Unity was provided by the interesting and reasonable amount of assignments and topics that I studied. I can’t wait to visit the campus.”
Devon Austin, Bachelor of Science in Wildlife Conservation, Unity College class of 2022.
I chose Unity college because it was the college that aligned with my beliefs about Environmental Science and what I wanted to get out of my education. I honestly enjoyed many of my classes, as I transferred my credits from my time spent at another school so all I needed to take at Unity were degree-specific courses.
The advice that I have for future Unity College students is to have faith in your ability to do the work, reach out for help when you need it, and, if you are in the distance education program, make the most of your time off so that you are refreshed for the upcoming class and class work. The classes move fast but the work is still doable and you will be so proud of what you’ve accomplished by the end.
Lauren Connor, Master’s in Environmental Geographic Information Science, Unity College class of 2021.
“Unity College has been a great experience that gave me guidance and hope for my future career goals in the Environmental Sciences. In the future, I hope to continue to make a difference using GIS to help understand our environment and the role we have to protect it.”
Eric Plaster, Master’s in Conservation Law Enforcement, Unity College class of 2021.
“I enjoyed the challenges of completing my Master’s degree at Unity and look forward to where this will take me in the near future. Even though I’m currently a Conservation Police Officer, my studies there showed me a broader picture of why I enforce the wildlife, fish, and fauna laws in my Commonwealth. I have already benefited at my job from my time at Unity. I have been given the opportunity of participating in the focus groups, leadership development, and other groups to assist the department with in future endeavors.”
Tiana Stewart, Master’s in Environmental Science, Unity College class of 2021.
“I’ve always dreamed of myself doing great things with conserving Earth’s natural beauty and the place we call home. My experience here at Unity College has equipped me with the necessary tools and skills I need to accomplish my goal. In the future, I aim to continue doing research on water quality issues for societies across the globe and bridging the gap between man and nature.”
Cheryl Vanderslice, Master’s in Environmental Science, Unity College class of 2021.
“Unity College is a place where environmentally like-minded people join to create great ideas and help each other grow in knowledge and push themselves to achieve a higher level of understanding in their field. The instructors are amazing, I will miss them all, but my favorite will always be Dr. Eric Larsen. Wendy Berube my academic advisor was the best! I had never had an advisor that was so attentive and quick to answer questions and provide guidance. She is amazing!
I was a single mother for 24 years and had received an MS in Clinical Psychology and Divinity at a religious institution but came to find out they were not properly accredited and I was left with debt and a useless degree. When I went back to school I did my undergraduate degree at SNHU and then went on to my MS at Unity. Unity was by far my favorite school and I felt a sense of belonging that I never had at a school before. I will be 49 in September, and I am so glad that I chose Unity for this last step in my life. I am hoping to teach at a community college or find a job in the Environmental Health and Safety world. My classmates were amazing and very supportive! I will go on to always pitch Unity to those who have an interest in sustainable accomplishments.”
Allison Truttling, B.S. in Environmental Studies, Unity College class of 2021.
“Unity College provided me with an affordable way to finish my degree without having to sacrifice the quality of education. In the future, I hope to use my degree to revolutionize education for young students by breaking down traditional teaching methods into naturalistic teaching that can reach all styles of learners.”
Kristen Royse, Master’s in Environmental Geographic Information Science, Unity College class of 2021.
“As a recent graduate of Unity College, I can sum up my experience in one way, and that is: if you are looking to further your education in the environmental sciences, look no further. Unity College is not only built for YOU but for YOUR success no matter your circumstance. Full-time mom, employee, or even a mature student, Unity has a path for you. Through the one-on-one communication with professors and small class size, to the social dynamic created among peers in the online classroom. From course flexibility to the timeline of your completion. Unity College is NOT one size fits all.
Attending Unity College for my graduate degree was one of the best decisions I made in order to set myself up for future success. With my completion, I intend to begin my career search in environmental consulting particularly looking to get involved in water quality and availability. Offering qualities of my education ranging from geology to geographic information systems. Eventually, I would even like to pursue my Ph. D.
My best word of advice for anyone considering this institution is to utilize the resources provided to you and more importantly, ASK questions! If someone doesn’t know the answer, one will be found for you. The staff at Unity College are there for you, and their generosity goes above and beyond.”
Alumni Working in the Field | Current Students | Student Internships & Experiences
Valerie Perzanowski , B.S. in Environmental Emergency Management & Law Enforcement, Unity College class of 2021.
“Being able to continue my education with Unity online not only allowed me to work towards a career through education, but through experience as well. While earning my degree I was able to earn my Emergency Medical Technician Certification, and further get experience working two full-time seasons with the Connecticut Department of Energy and Environmental Protection, work for a commercial ambulance service, and volunteer on the ambulance in my town’s fire department. Although it involved lots of time management, being able to attend my dream college online while also working, and receiving experience, has helped me prepare well for an aspiring career with the Connecticut Environmental Conservation Police. I can honestly say that Unity’s online program allowed me to achieve much more knowledge and experience, then in person collegiate learning ever did.”
Gene T. Kleppinger III, B.S. in Environmental Studies, Unity College class of 2021.
“Unity has helped me to narrow down on my goals and to achieve them. With the help of the knowledgeable staff and great resources, I have become one step closer to my dreams of becoming a Park Ranger for the National Park Service. I plan on applying my degree to my future! I will use my degree in Environmental Studies to critically think about our environment while protecting it!”
Brooke DiPaula, B.S. in Animal Health and Behavior, Unity College class of 2021.
“I am a 2021 graduate from Unity College with a Bachelor’s degree in Animal Health and Behavior. Unity allowed me the opportunity to be able to intern and volunteer with actual animals to gain that real-world experience. I was able to intern with a zoo right before the pandemic began and then I had the opportunity to intern with a wildlife rehabilitation center over the summer. I still continue to assist as a volunteer at West Shore Wildlife Center and the founder, Emily Garrigan, has created a wonderful rehabilitation center for Pennsylvania Wildlife. Unity College taught me the background information for animals and West Shore Wildlife Center allowed me to further develop my skills in the field. With the information that I learned from Unity, both in education on animal health as well as environmental sustainability, I hope that in my future I can make positive changes to impact the animals and environment in my local areas. Unity taught me a great deal of information about environmental issues that I was unaware and uneducated on, and I can use that to fuel my passion to improve our planet.”
Kimberley Berry, Master’s in Wildlife Conservation and Management, Unity College class of 2021.
“I’ve grappled with my professional identity my whole life – am I an artist, or am I a scientist? My courses, peers, and the incredible staff at Unity created one of the few places where I felt not only free but empowered to be both these identities. I am very grateful to the staff and educational community of Unity College. It is only through interdisciplinary and well-built educational outlets, such as my Wildlife Conservation Graduate program, that individuals like myself can craft projects and personal identities that break boundaries and seek innovation.
Looking forward as I graduate, I am hoping to combine the often opposed fields of the arts, craftsmanship, and natural sciences that led me to pursue my degree. In the ever technology-driven and often segmented world of the 21st century, I hope to utilize art and creative mediums to educate audiences, perpetuate sustainable growth, and reconnect people with wildlife and environments – even if it is simply the birds in our backyard. I truly believe together we can build a better and greener world!”
Alexander M. Koch, Master’s in Environmental Studies and Sustainability, Unity College class of 2021.
“My time at Unity was wonderful, both in my undergrad and graduate programs. It gave me an opportunity to go back to school later in life when I was ready and knew what I wanted to study. It allowed me opportunities I would not have had otherwise to expand my mind and learn collaboratively with faculty and other students and has been very formative.”
Jenna Stacy-Dawes, Master’s in Environmental Geographic Information Science, Unity College class of 2021.
“I enrolled at Unity to gain more experience in GIS and I am so thankful for what I was able to take away from this program. I work on a giraffe conservation program in northern Kenya where we use GIS to better understand giraffe populations as well as how they interact and share their environment with livestock and people. Since enrolling at Unity I’ve already been able to apply a lot of what I learned through this program to help inform and develop vital conservation and management plans that we hope will contribute to conserving giraffes in Kenya!”
Alumni Working in the Field | Current Students | Student Internships & Experiences
Rebecca recently graduated with a Master’s degree in Sustainable Business Administration.
“I decided to get my Masters degree in Sustainable Business Administration in early 2020. I started in June of 2020 and just finished up at the beginning of August of 2021. I found Unity years ago when I first started my college journey and had no clue what I wanted to do, and I kept them in my mind and remembered them for my Master’s. I figured that a Master’s degree would look good and help me to get a better job!
I loved how super convenient it was to complete everything online and the whole process was easy to keep up with during my busy life. I really love Unity and everything that they stand for! All of the professors were super nice and easy to work with, which also helped.”
Leland Williams, Master’s in Wildlife Conservation and Management, Unity College class of 2021.
“I chose Unity College because of the 100% online option offered, Distance Education. I chose to earn my Master’s in Wildlife Conservation and Management at Unity College after receiving a previous Master’s in Global Leadership and Sustainable Development from Hawaii Pacific University. While I gained so much knowledge from the Global Leadership program and enjoyed it every bit, my heart still wanted to be more hands-on with animals, particularly marine organisms.
I enjoyed all of my professors. I was actually really nervous to take Professor Dominique McCowan’s Quantitative Reasoning and Scientific Thought (MATH 520) because I had never taken such a class before…ever. But Dr. McCowan was so helpful and understanding when I was having technical issues with RStudio, or if I had trouble interpreting values. Similarly, my capstone professor and advisor Dr. Jennifer Feighny was beyond supportive and always provided helpful insight into my capstone.
This program has presented me with what it’s like to discuss pertinent environmental and climate issues with a diverse range of peers. Even though we all come from different backgrounds, states, countries, experiences, etc; we all have a common goal. Unity’s Master’s in Wildlife Conservation and Management, in addition, presented this holistic approach to solving some of the world’s most pressing conservation issues in very unique, comprehensive, and inclusive ways.
Now that I have graduated, I feel more prepared to begin a career path in wildlife conservation and management. I feel successfully trained in human management, environmental management, and now wildlife management and can combine them into what a model wildlife biologist can be. I’m currently making the transition from invasive species field technician to a wildlife biologist with a focus on marine environments. In addition, I do my best in educating Hawaii’s youth in marine ecosystem management and sustainability.”
Lydia Richardson, Bachelor’s in Conservation Law Enforcement and Bachelor’s in Marine Biology, Unity College class of 2021.
“I chose Unity, because I knew they could guide me in becoming an excellent environmental steward and advocate. Something that I aspired to be. Growing up in a family of outdoorsmen, I always had an appreciation for nature instilled in my core values and an instinct to protect it. Unity has taught me the biological inner workings of nature to deeply understand environmental issues, concerns, and their causes. They have inspired me to be innovative through my student projects, pushed me academically to be the best I can be, and have provided me with opportunities of a lifetime.
One of the most favorable opportunities the school provided for me was an academic field study at Andros Island in the Bahamas. There we studied marine life, invasive species, and documented coral reef bleaching. It was something I’ll truly never forget.
Upon graduation, I will be working for a company called Integrated Eco Strategy, where I will begin my career in environmental research.”
Matthew Hodgkins, Bachelor’s in Wildlife and Fisheries Management, Unity College class of 2021.
“I choose Unity College for the hands-on learning and small class sizes. Having small class sizes you get to establish relationships with professors and having those connections with people in your field makes it easier to get that job in your field.
My favorite classes were Population Assessment Management and Habitat Assessment management With Dr. Aly McKnight, and Wildlife ID With Gary Pelton. Professor Pelton really took the time with his students to go over the skulls and pelts as well as the birds when we got them.
I also enjoyed Population and Communication With Professor Jennifer Clarke, who also taught me a lot about populations of different species.
I recently applied for a job in North Dakota as a wetland specialist for Devil Lakes Wildlife Management Area and I think it is a huge opportunity because I have always wanted to work for Ducks Unlimited.
Things that I hope to do now that I have my degree in Wildlife and Fisheries Management is to get a job in my field whether that be wildlife or on the fisheries side, I haven’t yet decided. Overall, my dream is to work for Ducks Unlimited, but also to stay in the New England area.”
Alumni Working in the Field | Current Students | Student Internships & Experiences
Kaitlin Mochi, Master’s in Marine Science, Unity College class of 2021.
“I chose Unity College because it was perfect for balancing my current job and attaining my Master’s Degree. My favorite class was Sustainable Management of Marine Resources taught by Sarah Driscoll. I’ve learned so much more than I thought I would about the marine world and environmental science from professors who truly care about learning rather than test scores. After graduation, I’ll start my career as a full-time science teacher while being an environmental educator during the summer!”
Barbara Joens, B.S. in Marine Biology and Sustainable Aquaculture, Unity College class of 2021.
“I chose Unity College because I thought the courses offered sounded relevant to my interests. I wanted to learn more about marine life, and also explore the aquaculture aspect of the degree.
I really enjoyed the courses I took with Professor Livengood. She made learning about different aquatic species fun and interesting! She also helped make the class discussions very engaging.
A big takeaway from my education at Unity was that there are so many possible paths you can take with a degree in Marine Biology and Sustainable Aquaculture. When I first started at Unity, I was mainly interested in learning more about marine animals in the wild. After taking more courses, I learned that other topics can be interesting as well, such as the coursework I did on aquaculture. For example, one topic that interested me was how ornamental fish are obtained, and how breeding them in captivity has less damaging effects on the environment compared to harvesting them from coral reefs using dangerous methods such as cyanide fishing.
Now, I have a variety of options to explore, including teaching or working in the sustainable aquaculture industry.”
Tiffany Sherrick, Master’s in Animal Science & Behavior, Unity College class of 2021.
“I chose Unity because I was able to continue my education while working and getting experience in my field. My favorite class was Advanced Animal Behavior taught by Emily Kieson. The class allowed me to focus on a specific animal that I wanted to make a training program for. The professor was very friendly and helpful. Unity has allowed me to expand my education and helped teach me how to make a formal training manual. Now that I’ve graduated, I hope to continue working as a full-time zookeeper.”
Ajani Bakari, Master’s in Marine Science, Unity College class of 2021.
“Hey there! My name is Ajani Bakari, I graduated Unity’s Marine Science program in May, and I recently became a finalist for the NOAA Sea Grant Knauss Fellowship. I was fortunate that during my Capstone I was able to be mentored by Dr. Lora Harris, Dr. James Pierson, and Dr. Rodney Hopson. Their work with the SEAS Islands Alliance allowed me to tackle the sort of marine policy problems that I had become interested in during my time in the Master’s program. They went above and beyond to provide me with the kind of professional exposure that eventually led to me applying for (and receiving) the Knauss! I work a full time job and was going to school full time, so while it felt impossible to still find time to do what I enjoyed while also exceeding the standard to the point that I could even hope of receiving this Fellowship, my mentors and professors helped me through it.
While the Marine Science program had fewer policy options than I wanted, the flexibility of the professors in allowing my projects to be policy focused made a huge difference. There were several classes in particular where this flexibility really left me with a feeling of “leveling up” in my pursuit of further understanding of this field.”
Monet Raths, Master’s in Wildlife Conservation and Management, Unity College class of 2021.
“It is never too late to change your career or go back to school. Unity was an excellent choice for me.
I chose Unity College over other schools for my Master’s degree primarily because of the environmental focus. Other important items were the convenience of the online program, lower costs, and the quality of instructors.
Three professors immediately come to mind: Dr. Joe Caudell, Dr. Erik Larsen, Dr. Diane Quigley, and Dr. Brent Bibles. Dr. Caudell was tough in a great way. He helped me to improve my scientific analyses. Dr. Larsen was supportive, positive, and always available. Dr. Bibles was instrumental in improving the quality of my Capstone paper. He was constructively critical. While Dr. Diane Quigley provided the most engaging weekly feedback overall.
Now that I have graduated, my goal is to transition from travel to conservation. I want to make a difference no matter how small. I am currently volunteering with three agencies to gain more fieldwork experience while working my day job as a project manager. I also want to continue my education. I am deciding between a Ph.D. program and a second master’s degree at Unity in Marine Science or Environmental Science.”
Emily Woodward, Master’s in Urban Ecology and Sustainable Planning, Unity College class of 2022.
“I found my way to Unity College after a months-long search for the perfect degree program that could bring together my passion for the environment and my career in planning. The Urban Ecology and Sustainable Planning degree was the perfect combination of those elements.
Between working full time and living in a place that doesn’t offer much in the way of “green” degrees, being able to take my courses fully online with America’s Environmental College was so exciting for me! I truly enjoyed all of my courses over these past few years, but I found I took a lot away from my Ethical Practice and Policy class. Climate Change, Ecology, and all manner of environmental issues are so deeply intertwined with ethics that many people don’t realize it. I am taking with me a much higher level of knowledge regarding the interconnectedness of the world that will make me a much better person and help me to grow for years to come. I hope to take this knowledge and compassion along with my degree to progress in my career to a position where I can help people to feel included in the environmental world and become passionate advocates for conservation and to make my way to the Pacific Northwest.
Alumni Working in the Field
Unity College Alum, Jordan Baser, works as an Environmental Scientist.
“Unity’s distance learning program provided me the opportunity to earn my Master’s Degree in Wildlife Management and Conservation while working full time as an Environmental Scientist with the State of California. My employer supported me in furthering my education and even helped me pay for my tuition. The diversity of the classes allowed me to interact with other students from all over the country and learn how other states and organizations do their part to protect and manage the environment and natural resources in their respective regions. I was able to learn and work at my own pace and directly apply my lessons and courses toward the projects I was involved with at work.”
Unity College Alum, Jason Kaitchuck works as a Sportfish Biologist for the Arizona Game and Fish Department.
“Since graduating from Unity I have left the US fish and wildlife service and accepted a job with the Arizona Game and Fish Department as a Sportfish Biologist. I get to sample all the lakes in my region by fishing or using nets. I follow this up by writing reports on the survey efforts and management plans. Sometimes I get to hike into remote areas and sample streams for native fish with the native fish biologist. Unity prepared me well for this opportunity and helped me get a competitive edge with my master’s degree. I have been able to use some of the GIS software I was taught while in school. My goal was to land a permanent job in this field and with my master’s from Unity I was finally able to accomplish this goal and am located in beautiful northwest Arizona and loving every second of it.”
Unity College Alum, Sarah Stanley, works as the Executive Director at Kennebunk Land Trust.
“I chose Unity’s Master’s in Environmental Studies & Sustainability program because I wanted the flexibility to continue working as well as the opportunity to update my knowledge. Unity, recognized as a leader in the environmental field, provided the opportunity to deepen my understanding of how my work in conservation dovetails with broader environmental studies and sustainability issues. The program also allowed me to sharpen my skills and apply these skills through both my capstone project and work with my current organization.”
Unity College Alum, Morgan White, works for Bear Brook State Park.
“Unity College’s Distance Education Online Masters program gave me the flexibility to earn a Masters of Professional Science degree in Environmental Studies and Sustainability while also working full-time for the state of New Hampshire. Since each term ran for eight weeks, it also allowed me to work at my own pace and furthered my skills in understanding more of our natural resources through sustainable practices.
Since graduating from Unity College with my undergraduate degree in 2019 with a Bachelor of Science in Parks and Forest Resources and a Masters degree in 2021, I have been able to explore different avenues in the field such as learning more about state park management. Currently, I am working for Bear Brook State Park, under the NH Department of Natural and Cultural Resources (DNCR), which is located in southern New Hampshire in the town of Allenstown. I work in admissions and as a tour guide for Bear Brook’s Museum Complex. Bear Brook is the second largest developed state park in New Hampshire over 10,000 acres and 50 miles of trails. I am very lucky to have been hired by this park during the Covid-19 pandemic and thank my educational background that I have earned through Unity College for getting me in the door. In addition, I feel that earning these environmental science degrees, will give me the foundation to help propel me forward into exploring different career paths in the world of sustainability as well.”
Graduates | Current Students | Student Internships & Experiences
Unity College Alum, Savannah Stura, works as an OPS Wildlife Biologist.
“There are so many opportunities in wildlife health, especially working in Florida. Between the whitetail deer, reptile species, and the Florida panthers, there is so much to learn about and how to better protect these species from a variety of raising issues. Following my degree, I will not only expand my horizons within wildlife health, but I will also try my hand at several certificate programs and looking into getting my prescribed burn license too! Through Unity College, I feel like I have been opened up to several different fields of study and want to keep that going by expanding my knowledge of the world around me!”
Unity College Alum, Jorge Nunez, works as a Forestry Field Specialist.
“Unity College was an amazing learning experience for me! As I was running through ideas of how to progress with my desire to study and conserve wildlife I came across Unity College and its wildlife conservation program. As I began reading more about it, I felt more compelled to apply and try my luck! The curriculum is what I was looking for in terms of learning more about the discipline of wildlife conservation. Through my collegiate experience, I enjoyed the attention to detail and the reading material is given by my professors. The classes were very interesting and interactive where we can discuss very important topics within conservation. I hope that my Unity College graduate degree can help shift my career from forestry into a role within wildlife conservation and management.”
Unity College Alum, Rachel Hutchinson, works as a Shellfish Propagation Specialist.
“I just completed my degree at Unity with an MPS in Wildlife Management and Conservation on the Professional Biologist track. I chose Unity because it was flexible and 100% online and allowed me to obtain my degree while continuing to work full time in my career as a Shellfish Constable/Shellfish Propagation Specialist. Unity gave me the flexibility to complete coursework on my own schedule in a program focused on environmental professions.
I enjoyed the diversity of other students and professors at Unity, and the ability to interact with others around the county who are working in a vast variety of fieldwork. Unity allowed me to finish a Master’s program that I would never have been able to do in person while working full time.”
Unity College Alum, Alyssa Mahaney, works as a Predator Conflict Prevention Specialist.
“I’ve been hunting and trapping since I was a child. When I turned 18 I got my Registered Maine Hunting and Trapping Guide license and guided bear hunts in northern Maine. I received my Bachelor’s degree in Wildlife Management and my Master’s degree in Natural Resource Management. I’ve been working for USDA Wildlife Services as a Wildlife Specialist for 8 years now and we provide federal leadership and expertise to resolve wildlife conflicts that allow people and wildlife to coexist.
I’ve worked on urban whitetail deer and Canada goose projects for USDA Wildlife Services in Pennsylvania, mitigating wolf-livestock conflicts for USDA Wildlife Services in Oregon and currently, I mitigate conflicts between predators and livestock for USDA Wildlife Services in Colorado.
The online Master’s program at Unity College was PERFECT for me because I work full-time, and I have a very unique schedule due to the amount of fieldwork I have. I loved the classes offered for the program and how it went all year, as I was able to complete my Master’s in one year. The classes offered in my Master’s program have helped me prepare for the 0486 series with the federal government (0486-Wildlife Biologist), as I have been taking on more responsibility in writing NEPA documents and biological program reports.
Dr. Brent Bibles was my capstone professor, along with a few other classes, and he was by far the best professor I’ve ever had. He answered every question I had promptly, explained things so well for me to understand via the internet, and was always there to push us to think critically. If Unity ever offers doctorates online, I will definitely be enrolling in the program!”
Graduates | Current Students | Student Internships & Experiences
Unity College Alum, Angie Lindgren, works at the Pennsylvania Department of Environmental Protection.
“Attending Unity to further my education has been one of my best professional decisions thus far. I chose Unity for their focus on their students, the environment, and sustainability. I weighed several schools before choosing where I would pursue my master’s degree, and Unity exceeded all my criteria: asynchronous, affordable, high-achieving professors, small class sizes, and environmentally minded.
I appreciated each class and professor. Classes were challenging and relevant, and any question was always answered thoughtfully. My greatest challenge and accomplishment was the final Capstone project. I worked with The Nature Conservancy and created a trail plan and educational signs for a local preserve. This pushed me both professionally and academically and I was thrilled with the result!
Once I obtained my master’s degree, I was offered a position with the Pennsylvania Department of Environmental Protection in Environmental Cleanup and Brownfield Redevelopment. I am in the field often and am directly applying my education to my career. I cannot speak highly enough about pursuing a degree with Unity, especially a Master of Professional Science, as it has immediately transferrable skills to the environmental field.”
Unity College Alum, Brooke DiPaula, works as a Wildlife Rehabilitation Coordinator with West Shore Wildlife Center.
West Shore Wildlife Center is a nonprofit wildlife rehabilitation center in southern Pennsylvania that provides services for sick, injured, and orphaned native Pennsylvania wildlife.
Brooke supervises interns, volunteers, and apprentices in wildlife patient care and care of non-releasable animal ambassadors, ensuring all internal protocols and safety measures are followed. She also does training, research, outreach, and more.
Unity College Alum, Kimberly Berry, works as an Environmental Photographer.
“Before studying at Unity College, I had a passion for wildlife and science and a strong affinity for the arts, but I was missing some elements of science, critical environmental communication skills, and a platform to merge these subjects. I can honestly say that my courses and the incredibly insightful professors at Unity helped me expand my knowledge and skills and provided me with an inclusive and welcoming space to create eco-art.
I have always had the urge to make art, but since getting my Master’s, I now have a cause to inspire that art. From re-cycled crafts like a jellyfish made from plastic bottles to wildlife photography to creatively crafted birdhouses inspired by fairytales – art and science can act like two sides of the same coin to connect emotional stories to science and nature. My education at Unity led me to believe this, and I am excited to work as both an artist and a wildlife ambassador to connect further communities with this message. Our world needs creative protection now more than ever!”
Unity College Alum, Eric Skrivseth, works with the Moshannon Creek Watershed Association.
“I was nearing the end of my career in management at a major railroad, and signed up for an introductory class in GIS at Unity College. I decided I liked the subject enough that I decided to pursue a Master’s Degree in GIS.
For my coursework I chose to study drainage and coal mining impacts. In western PA, there are substantial legacy impacts from this problem. I discovered that some of my co-workers at my railroad employer were heavily involved in the Clearfield Creek Watershed Association. I learned a great deal from them and they were generous in offering me access to their data. I also discovered that Moshannon Creek, probably the most mine drainage impaired watershed in Western Pennsylvania, if not the whole state, did not have a watershed association. One existed that disbanded in 2014.
For a class assignment I emailed a pitch for founding a Moshannon Creek Watershed Association which was well-received. We were able to incorporate and become a 501C3 non-profit. I am now the president of the organization. We have been awarded two grants that are being used to update conditions in the watershed and perform an initial evaluation and repairs on a set of six mine drainage treatment systems that had been unmaintained since a local chapter of Trout Unlimited disbanded. From the watershed evaluation, we are developing a recovery plan for the watershed. We are currently preparing a grant application in partnership with the Susquehanna River Basin Commission for design and permitting money for new treatment systems to address three mine discharges that are the first of many that will need to be addressed to improve the impaired parts of Moshannon Creek.”
Unity College Alum, Angie Ronayne, works as the Chief Sustainability Officer at Merjent.
“My Sustainability-focused MBA from Unity College gave me the foundation I needed to further my sustainability journey and my company’s sustainability journey. I wasn’t familiar with many of the concepts covered by the program, so I learned a lot. The discussions were extremely helpful in gaining additional perspective – they helped me think outside my box and apply what I was learning to unique situations.
I was also introduced to several helpful resources throughout the program. I recall first learning about Simon Sinek and the importance of starting with WHY. I still remind myself and others to start with why regularly. I also found value in considering the type of leader that I wanted to be and developing a leadership plan as part of the program.
Throughout this process, I was able to share what I was learning and help others in leadership roles at my company understand the business case for sustainability, the need for triple bottom line decision making, and the importance of supporting the UN Sustainable Development Goals. Halfway through my program, I was appointed Merjent’s first Chief Sustainability Officer and I helped develop our first sustainability-focused strategic plan.”
Unity College Alum, Chelsea Wulff works as the Senior Manager at ESG Initiatives.
“I chose Unity because it was the most affordable and flexible Masters program, and made it easier to juggle graduate school as a full-time working professional. I was also impressed with their sincere desire to commit to a sustainable future through their leadership divesting from fossil fuels and commitment to integrate sustainability across their operations and actions.
I earned my Masters of Science in Environmental Studies and Sustainability in 2021, and transitioned from my former role into a newly created position with Conduent this past summer. I rely on my education from Unity, especially in the areas of sustainable leadership, communications, and systems thinking as the Senior Manager of ESG Initiatives. I have the exciting task of developing our environmental, social, and governance strategy, ensuring it is material and resonates with our stakeholders, and reporting our progress to sustainability disclosures and questionnaires.”
Graduates | Current Students | Student Internships & Experiences
Unity College Alum, Kimberley Berry, works as a part-time Conservation Educator at the New England Aquarium and part-time as an In-Gallery Programs Educator at the Museum of Science Boston.
“When I graduated from Unity College in May of 2021, I was nervous that I wouldn’t have enough “experience” to jump headfirst into any wildlife profession. However, I can wholeheartedly say I have learned more from Unity and can teach more effectively than many of my contemporaries. Thanks to my experience and education through my graduate program, the core skills I developed were inclusive and adaptive strategic framing and communication practices, making me an excellent science communicator for the general public.
I split my worktime post-grad between two institutions – The Museum of Science, Boston, and the New England Aquarium. I have heavily relied on my science communication training to facilitate daily educational programs. As a conservation and science educator, I work every shift to inspire conservation action in various audiences to protect the ocean and promote inclusive science learning in everyday life! This can range from facilitating exploration labs on engineering or animal skulls, to mediating safe guest interactions at a shark and ray touch tank, to giving educational talks at the top of the NEAq’s Giant Ocean Tank. There is never a dull day as a science communicator!”
Unity College Alum, Elizabeth, works as a Tidepool Ambassador Guide with the Cape Perpetua Marine Reserve on the central Oregon Coast.
“I graduated from Unity College Distance Education in August 2021 with a Wildlife Conservation degree. At the beginning of the summer of 2021, I got a job being a Tidepool Ambassador Guide with the Cape Perpetua Marine Reserve on the central Oregon Coast.
Being a Tidepool Ambassador Guide has allowed me to share what conservation is being done on the marine reserve and how the marine reserve has been successful since being formed and what is happening now. As a Tidepool Guide, I take people out on tours and talk to the public during minus and low tides during the summer, spring, and fall showing different tidepool creatures and marine plants and teaching them about it in three locations. During the winter we work on picking dates and information for the next tours in the spring. I talk about sea star wasting disease, climate change, what the creatures eat, how the creatures and plants are important to the tidepool. Tidepool creatures include Orche Sea Stars, nudibranch, blue porcelain crab, baby giant pacific octopus, seaweed, and giant green sea anemones to name a few.
Unity College has benefited me in this career through the classes I took. A few courses I enjoyed were the Identification and Life History of Mammals and Birds course, the Identification of Plant course, and the photography course. These courses have helped me in my career. Going out in the field to id plants, birds, and mammals helped me learn how to look for certain features in order to learn what the creature or plant can be identified as. During these courses, I went out in the field to id plants and animals in the tidepool and forest ecosystem. Using the skills I learned in the photography class, I am able to take photos of the tidepools and their creatures to share with the tours and the public.
The biggest benefit from Unity college for my role as a Tidepool Ambassador Guide is learning about conservation and how to present it to the public. Doing the Wildlife Conservation degree with Unity was great.”
Anthony recently graduated with a Bachelor’s degree in Marine Biology & Sustainable Aquaculture and works as a Lab Assistant at the University of California Davis – Fish Conservation and Cultivation Laboratory.
“I completed my B.S. in Marine Biology & Sustainable Aquaculture with a 4.0 GPA in December of 2021. Since February of 2022, I’ve been employed as a lab assistant at the University of California Davis – Fish Conservation and Cultivation Laboratory (FCCL). At FCCL we cultivate endangered Delta smelt (Hypomesus transpacificus) and Longfin smelt (Spirinchus thaleichthys) from egg to adult stage in recirculating aquaculture systems (RAS). The adult smelts are ultimately released into the wild to supplement the smelt populations in the Sacramento–San Joaquin River Delta, Suisun Bay, San Pablo Bay, and San Francisco Bay. We also cultivate Rotifers (Brachionus plicatus), Brine shrimp (Artemia franciscana), and Ramshorn snails (Helisoma anceps); identify Columnaris disease, Mycobacterium, Ichthyophthirius multifiliis, etc., then treat with appropriate prophylactics; and conduct cleaning and maintenance of RAS.
My education at Unity College prepared me for my current position quite well. There were a few specific classes that gave me the knowledge necessary to have a relatively easy transition into my current position, which allowed me to hit the ground running from day one.
In MBAQ 301 – Sustainable Aquaculture Techniques 1: Growing Shellfish & Finfish, I learned how to cultivate numerous organisms, how RAS function, and how to cultivate a unicellular microalga (Nannochloropsis oculata); which is used as a live feed for fish, mollusks, and numerous other marine organisms. At FCCL we use Nannochloropsis Spp. My course project was titled, “Aquaculture Business Opportunity Plan – Restoration of Olympia oyster (Ostrea lurida) in the San Francisco Bay.” Being afforded the opportunity to focus my course project on where I currently live also helped prepare me for my current career.
In MBAQ 303 – Sustainable Aquaculture Techniques 2: Crustaceans & Pathobiology, I learned how to cultivate crustaceans (shrimp, lobsters, crayfish, etc.), more in-depth functions of RAS, and how to identify and treat numerous pathogens/diseases. My course project was titled, “International Aquaculture Development Plan – Queen conch (Strombus gigas) in Port-au-Prince, Haiti.” Queen conch is not a crustacean, it’s a gastropod mollusk, however, I was afforded the opportunity to focus on this species since it requires one of the most complex processes of cultivation over a 3-5 year duration.
In MBAQ 307 – Ichthyology & Fish Health, I learned internal and external fish anatomy, fish morphology and meristics, how to perform a fish dissection, how to identify numerous fish diseases (viral, bacterial, fungal, parasitic), and how to treat them, as well as the importance of biosecurity protocols in cultivation systems; which is of the utmost importance on a daily basis in my current career.”
Kaitlin graduated with a Master’s degree in
Marine Science. She is the founder of Ocean EduKate.
“I wanted to use a way to utilize social media to reach out to people and get them interested in marine conservation. Public outreach and education are incredibly important for environmental issues. Since people spend almost three hours of their day on social media, I started Ocean EduKate as an extension of my capstone project that I did for my Master’s degree. Honestly, Unity College really gave me the tools I needed to understand the research and networking for this project. I learned so much about science communication and project management during my time there that has been incredibly invaluable. I’m hoping to expand my brand to include easy-to-read articles, lessons for other educators to follow, and infographics for those who aren’t into reading long articles to see.”
Emily recently graduated with a Master’s degree in Wildlife Conservation and Management. She works as the Environmental Education Engagement Specialist at the Tennessee State Parks’.
“My name is Emily Wiedemann and I just recently graduated with a Master’s in Wildlife Conservation and Management from Unity College! I live in Tennessee and work as the Environmental Education Engagement Specialist at the Tennessee State Parks’ Environmental Institute at Ivy Academy Chattanooga. I’m fortunate to get to spend my time educating our youth on environmental stewardship and encouraging them to be positive influences on society and nature. I also get to work with TN State Parks and do interpretive programming for them!
I chose Unity College because they offer online courses, and I could finish my Master’s in a year! I continue learning new things every day in my current position and hope that my experience and time at Unity will lead me to a position as a Wildlife Biologist in the near future.”
Unity College Alum, Sarah Torres, owns her own pet care business.
“Since earning my Bachelor’s degree in 2017, I had been working as an Aquatic Ectotherms Keeper at the Fort Worth Zoo. In 2020 I decided to leave and pursue a Master’s in Marine Science through Unity College because of its flexibility, curriculum, and the school’s overall eagerness to change the way we perceive sustainability and conservation. After completing this degree in December of 2021, I turned my dog walking side gig into a full-time thing and now successfully run my own pet care business! Unity College’s impact on my career is twofold: while courses like Strategic Management of Innovation and Communication for Environmental Professionals gave me the tools to create, analyze, and modify strategies for proper business transactions, other courses such as Sustainable Management of Marine Resources and Marine Mammal Rescue and Rehabilitation have given me the knowledge necessary to still pursue marine mammalogy on a volunteer basis!”
Bachelor’s Degree Programs
General Education Core
Meet Unity College student, Kat, recently took the Environmental Documentary Films course with Dr. Will Dodson.
“The class was a lot of fun, and I learned so much!
Currently, I working towards my degree in Animal Health and Behavior at Unity. I want to help animals have a voice. My goal is to give love and care to these animals that need our help, especially our wildlife.
I learned a lot from this course about the environment and how storms like Tropical Storm Isaias affect animals in the environment. I went through a lot of storms where I live in Pennsylvania, so I took the class at a perfect time to learn and document what I needed to with storms and connecting them to animals in my area!
I was familiar with Distance Education because I did online schooling in middle school and also graduated from an online high school. I found the online learning experience to be so much easier to understand growing up, so being used to the experience definitely helped me! But if you’re new to the online experience of having assignments and discussions online, I can guarantee Unity makes it so easy!
This class was an amazing experience. I learned so much from what the professor provided, from my own research, and from my classmates’ input as well!
This online experience is definitely something anyone can do and learn so much from, especially with the right determination you can do anything!”
Unity College student, Claudia recently took The Warming Planet: Understanding Climate Change course at Unity College with Professor Maurice Testa.
“I chose Unity because their degree programs revolve around nature and our environment. I was interested in earning my Bachelor’s in Wildlife Conservation that I am able to do 100% online! This was a dream come true and what I have been wanting to study and peruse for the past few years.
Being involved in helping our native animal species stay thriving and out of harm’s way is something I really look forward to doing. Within just the first couple months of taking classes I found a whole new passion for environmental issues. Climate change became prevalent and important to me. I have become more adamant about being an environmental advocate since I became a student at Unity.
This class was filled with assignments that were interesting and fun to research. The final project was to create a presentation for the citizens of your town to better understand what is causing climate change and how it will affect our daily lives and what we can do together to mitigate and or stabilize our climate. This was fun to put together and made me want to present my project in real scenario!”
The above photos are from Claudia’s internship working with otters Luna and Slydell, the opossum Bear, and Pepper the porcupine.
Unity College student, Mitchell, recently took the Biological Diversity, Ecology, and Evolution course at Unity College with Professor Diana Townsend.
“I am currently a Hybrid Learning student working towards my Bachelor’s in Conservation Law Enforcement.
Before enrolling at Unity, I joined the United States Navy as a Hospital Corpsman in 2016. I will be coming up on six years of Active Service in January. I was originally considering Pharmacy school, but I realized I wouldn’t be in the Navy forever and I did not want to do Pharmacy in the civilian sector.
My girlfriend is currently attending Unity earning her Master’s in Wildlife Conservation. When I was talking with her, I saw some of the degrees Unity offered. I noticed a Wildlife Conservation Law Enforcement Master’s program. I never realized that this was a degree path for anyone, and I had never considered it before. I love being outdoors and I have always believed in conservation. I have always wanted to work in an environmental field, but didn’t know where I would fit in. After extensive research, I realized this was the field for me! I would love to continue a career with the federal government. My dream in this field would be to work as a Federal Wildlife Officer with the Fish and Wildlife Service.
The Biological Diversity, Ecology, and Evolution course was an awesome opportunity to learn collegiate-level basics. I really enjoyed learning the different ways plants and animals interact in the environment. I also really enjoyed how the class was set up. The class prepares you to take everything you have learned and apply it to a real-life situation.”
Unity College student, Kayla recently took the Biological Diversity, Ecology, and Evolution course at Unity College with Professor Karlee Holmes.
“I am attending Unity College to earn my B.S. in Wildlife Conservation. I am a wife, mother to three boys under the age of four, and work full time as a Recruiter for the Veterinary Industry. I always knew I wanted to finish my Bachelor’s degree but needed to find a school that was challenging yet flexible with my busy schedule. That is why I chose Unity College. Not only are they committed to sustainability and the environment; they are committed to their students.
Recently, I completed the class Biological Diversity, Ecology, and Evolution. It was not only challenging but gave a clear insight to what a career in Wildlife Conservation will entail. I enjoyed learning how to build a website to convey to the public the importance of an endangered species and learning how all ecosystems are truly connected.
Each course I have taken at Unity College has directly related to my future career. I am so happy to have found Unity College. As a full time working Mother of three I am able to not just succeed but flourish in my academic career.”
Unity College student, Grace, recently took the Biological Diversity, Ecology, and Evolution course at Unity College with Professor Christiana Wittmaack.
“My name is Grace Willis and I’m from Kent Island, Maryland! I am earning my Bachelor’s degree in Animal Science. My goal one day is to become a Canine Rehabilitation therapist!
I knew Unity College was the right school for me when I learned how passionate the school is about wildlife and the environment, just like me. When enrolling in Unity College and seeing all the unique and different classes, it certainly got me excited to start my learning here.
Biological Diversity, Ecology, and Evolution with Dr. Christiana Wittmaack was undoubtedly one of my favorite classes so far. One of the big takeaways that I have learned from this course is how you can learn in new ways. This course truly allowed me to express my creativity in a new style with each weeks’ assignment such as creating fun videos or infographics which truly differed from my past course material at my previous college. I found myself being more engaged in my work and more pleased with my learning progress.
I would always show off my work for this class to my family and friends because I was so proud of it! Although everything is virtual, I was really able to communicate with my peers and learn from them which helped me build a greater understanding of sustainability. Unity College has been the best opportunity I have taken so far, and I am looking forward to my future here at Unity!”
Unity College student, Danielle, recently took the Biological Diversity, Ecology, and Evolution course at Unity College with Professor Diana Townsend.
“I grew up in the mountains of Colorado. I have always been very interested in nature, animals, and space. After high school, I made an impulsive decision to attend CU Boulder and study aerospace engineering. It was something I loved, but not something I imagined myself doing for the rest of my life.
I did a lot of research and chose to pursue an environmental degree at Unity College. I chose Unity because I love the devotion to the environment and animals. I have always loved animals so much, and have been passionate about them. I am majoring in Captive Wildlife Care with a concentration in Wildlife Management. Every class I take teaches me so much, and I am hoping to continue gathering knowledge throughout the coming years. With this major, I am working towards a career in Zoology!”
Graduates | Alumni Working in the Field | Current Students | Student Internships & Experiences
Unity College student, Joseph, recently took the Biological Diversity, Ecology, and Evolution course at Unity College with Professor Christiana Wittmaack.
“Before enrolling at Unity, I was attending a public university in Louisiana pursuing a degree in Natural Resource Conservation and Management. After research and communicating with a distance education concierge, I chose to transfer to Unity. Unity accepted almost all of my transfer credits from my previous school and put them towards my new degree. Unity also assured me that I would be able to work a full-time job while completing courses which allowed me to get a job within my field.
I am currently majoring in Wildlife Conservation for my undergraduate degree. I am hoping to gain the knowledge and skills necessary for me to become a valuable employee within my field from my education while also gaining work experience. What I enjoyed most from this class was learning how to use various websites and online tools and how to apply those to creating environmental presentations and even creating a website on an endangered species.
My future career goals are to become a wildlife biologist or a conservationist and to gain more experience in wildland firefighting.
The second photo is from a prescribed burn that I assisted with on private property in Louisiana. The second photo is of a longleaf pine ecosystem in Kisatchie National Forest which is located near Fort Polk, Louisiana. The last photo is from a wildfire detail that I was on in August located in Montana.”
Unity College student, Sydnee recently took the Foundations of Life course at Unity College with Professor Karen Stancil.
“I am majoring in Animal Health and Behavior with a concentration on Sustainable Business. My goal is to rescue and rehabilitate mistreated equines and livestock.
In Foundations of Life, I learned a lot with Professor Stancil. One of my big takeaways from this course is the importance of genetic variation. Before taking this course, I did not realize how important genetic variation is to the adaptation, evolution, and overall survival of a species. Another major takeaway I had comes from the work I did on the final project. I discovered how toxins and pollutants enter our environment, our food chain, and eventually our bodies. We ingest harmful industrial chemicals even when we don’t realize it. The results of this can be detrimental to our health and the health of our planet.
One thing I really appreciate about the distance education courses at Unity are the interactive, fun, and educational assignments. They are challenging while still being enjoyable. In this course, I created factsheets, PowerPoints, video presentations, and more. Not only did these projects help me to retain the information I was learning, but I was also engaged and eager to participate.”
Unity College student, Justin, recently took the Environmental Storytelling for Social Change course at Unity College with Professor Kerry Garvin.
“I’m from one of the snowiest cities in the country, Syracuse, New York. I’m working towards my Bachelor’s degree in Environmental Science with a central focus on Climate Change. I plan to continue through the Unity Graduate Program to earn a Master’s in Environmental Science.
I hope to someday work with others to help forecast weather events and study the various causes and effects on affected populations. I started getting more involved in the state of the world. I remember distinctly when I made the choice to change my degree, it was as fires started making headlines more often.
I landed on Unity after reading a handful of testimonials from students who had gone through the distance education program themselves, after a little more research I decided to apply and one phone call from a representative later I was being enrolled!
What appealed to me most when researching was the flexibility of the school and the central focus on environmental betterment all-around. I’m a few classes in and I can say I really appreciate the way Unity College handles online schooling, balancing the digital and hands-on aspects near perfectly. Unity is suitable for those with all types of different lifestyles, so many diverse classroom experiences in every class I’ve taken thus far!
I recently took Professor Garvin’s Environmental Storytelling for Social Change, and it had a very positive impact on my first impressions of Distance Education at Unity. The writing prompts and coursework each week offered new information and insight into written and vocal environmental and social activism; with all the resources you’d need to craft your own piece that has a real shot at being published. The course utilized some of the best environmental writing I’ve ever read to help us understand the effectiveness of certain writing techniques – not just for the sake of social change either.
So much of the classwork can be applied anywhere communication is required, I genuinely feel like a better writer and speaker. While I learned plenty about social justice in this class, my favorite part was getting to discover my own style of writing as well as the writing styles of all my classmates – creating real-world problems in a fictional version of our homes to solve with real-world solutions.”
Unity College student, Peyton, recently took The Warming Planet: Understanding Climate Change course at Unity College with Professor Erik Larson.
“Before starting at Unity, I was recovering from an intolerance to cortisone injections. I graduated from cyber high school a year early due to chronic pain. I then took a few years off from school to assemble a healthcare team to help to manage the chronic pain.
I am located in central Pennsylvania. I chose Unity because it offered both majors that I wanted to take remotely; Animal Health & Behavior and Marine Biology. Unity being an environmental college was also a huge bonus!
My goals first and foremost have always and will always be to protect animals and the environment. I am hoping to be able to train, rescue, rehabilitate, and release many different types of animals upon becoming qualified to after graduation.
While taking The Warming Planet: Understanding Climate Change, I enjoyed learning about our planet. It was interesting to learn so many different things related to climate change and what can be done to help control it. One of the most important things that I learned is that major corporations are who are the most responsible for the effects of climate change. However, the general public can do things to help reduce their carbon footprints as well; every little bit helps!
Dr. Erik Larson was an incredible professor! He kept the class engaged with the assignments and offered a lot of positive feedback.
In the future, I am hoping to be able to work with wildland and marine animals in a rehabilitation or behavioral program. I would also be happy to train service dogs.”
Unity College student, Jared, recently took The Warming Planet course at Unity College with Professor Erik Larson.
“Before enrolling at Unity College, I was in a conservation program with the California Conservation Corps in 2017 and after my service, I was left wanting more. More hands-on work and more learning about what we can do to work with our Earth. After high school, I did not want to rush into getting a degree because I was working and taking a few classes each semester. With Unity, it is easy to take a full term, which is 5 weeks long and constitutes of two courses, to earn your Bachelor’s degree.
I’ve noticed many high-paying jobs are requiring not only hands-on experience but also classroom experience. Unity is helping me achieve these expectations.
I really enjoy the asynchronous classes and how we apply the discussions and homework assignments. Distance Education really works around my work schedule and I can be flexible with the teachers I’ve had so far.
I am in the Northern Bay Area of California and currently working full time at a health food grocery store. I am earning my Bachelor’s degree in Environmental Studies with a concentration in Environmental Justice. I hope to apply my degree to working with public lands and helping them have a voice in the bigger picture. Future career goals would be to work in a National Park or National Forest as a steward, environmental analyst, or ranger. I believe these goals will be more obtainable when I finish my education here at Unity. “
Unity College student, Austin, recently took the Communication for Environmental Professionals course at Unity College with Professor Laura Cyr.
“I’ve periodically considered pursuing a graduate degree since obtaining my undergrad in Environmental Science in 2013, and particularly since working as a Wastewater Process Analyst for the City of Boise, Idaho. I’m not entirely sure what spurred me on, but I decided 2021 was the year to go for it. I considered a range of programs, from Water Resource Policy and Management to Civil Engineering, but ultimately chose the Master of Professional Science in Environmental Science at Unity College.
One thing that sets Unity apart, in my mind, from other universities offering Environmental degrees online is the college’s foundational focus on sustainability throughout its programs. I was drawn to the Master of Professional Science for its mix of interdisciplinary science curriculum and professional development coursework. Through this program, I hope to strengthen and broaden my knowledge of environmental science and build on my professional skills.
I just completed Communication for Environmental Professionals with Dr. Laura Cyr. The course was very practical, guiding us through developing a proposal for funding an environmental project. I appreciated the focuses on understanding our biases and knowing our audience.
By earning a Master of Professional Science in Environmental Science at Unity College, I hope to position myself to make broader contributions to public works and environmental projects for the city. I also plan to leverage the credibility a graduate degree confers to promote environmental scientists working in the wastewater field, which is currently dominated by engineers. Ultimately, I want to position myself to take over management of my team when my current manager retires.”
Graduates | Alumni Working in the Field | Current Students | Student Internships & Experiences
Unity College student, Jennifer, recently took The Warming Planet: Understanding Climate Change course at Unity College with Professor Tom Whittake.
“The need to complete my Bachelor’s of Science in Wildlife Conservation and finding Unity College Distance Education was one of the best decisions I could have made.
I had been working in Juvenile Corrections when I made the initial decision to go back to college in 2014, after realizing that the job was becoming increasingly dangerous. After fulfilling my Associates’s degree at Hocking College, I knew I needed to keep going and further my education to be competitive in the job market. Due to circumstances under my control, I was not able to continue my education when I left Hocking in 2016. I worked as a seasonal employee for the Ohio Division of Wildlife during the spring and summer of 2017 and moved to a position with the Ohio Department of Administrative Services later that year. Living in Southeastern Ohio and working full-time makes completing a Bachelor’s degree in person seemingly impossible for an adult learner.
When I learned that Unity offered an online BS in Wildlife Conservation at the start of 2021, I knew it was the right decision to get back to school. The Warming Planet: Understanding Climate Change was a real eye-opener. I knew climate change existed, but I had no idea to what extent. I was able to use the knowledge I already had and expand it with the work that was completed in the course. I was able to take away a lot of pertinent information to use in the future.
My career goal is to conduct wildlife research with either a state or federal agency. Ultimately, I would love to pursue a career working in avian research because ornithology is my passion.”
Unity College student, Elizabeth, recently took the Environmental Storytelling for Social Change course at Unity College with Professor Kerry Garvin.
“I started at Unity straight out of high school. I am located in Vermont. I chose Unity because the environmental focus and courses were very appealing to me and helpful for reaching my future goals of helping animals. I am an undergraduate majoring in Animal Health and Behavior.
From my education at Unity, I am hoping to become better equipped to help animals and more likely to secure a job doing what I am passionate about.
The thing that I liked best about this class was learning how to effectively tell stories in a way to inspire and inform people to advocate for change. Learning about how to tell stories to influence the hearts and minds of people is a very useful skill that I am glad to know more about.
The Unity College experience helped my learning and understanding in this class by allowing me to read insightful literature from accomplished writers about craft and storytelling and communicating with my peers and professor about how to improve my writing abilities. Those readings and interactions helped me to create a better story and become a better storyteller. This course helped me become a better writer and was a wonderful experience.
My future career goal is to work at an animal shelter and help as many animals as I can. Working with animals has always been my goal and working at an animal shelter will enable me to make a positive difference in their lives.”
Unity College student, Giselle, recently took the Environmental Documentary Films course at Unity College with Professor William Dodson.
“I was studying Digital Marketing in another online program, but my heart kept calling me to my love for animals, so I decided to switch schools and majors just as I was nearly done with Digital Marketing! The college I was enrolled at did not offer any majors involving work with animals, so I found Unity and loved the programs they offered. As soon as I saw their Online program, I knew the school was for me.
I am currently majoring in Animal Health & Behavior with a concentration in Marine Biology.
I found my love for animals when I found love in my dog, Roxy, we like to hike and go to the beach together. Places with water have always been a calming place for me to be, I love it.
What I loved about the class is the opportunity to share our stories with the documentary project. There were no limits on creativity, and I really enjoyed the experience. Also, the films we watched in class were never boring.
I want to be able to travel all around the world to work and learn more about seals and marine life. I would love to go all around the world to places colder than Texas and lose myself in the beautiful scenery.”
Unity College student Kayla recently took the Environmental Documentary Films course at Unity College with Professor William Dodson.
“Hi, my name is Kayla. Before starting at Unity, I graduated from Pearl River Community College as a Certified Surgical Technologist. After actively working as a CST for a few years, I pursued a career in Surgical First Assisting. I went on to graduate from Meridian Institute of Surgical First Assisting in 2015. I am currently working as a CST/FA while studying at Unity College to earn my Bachelor’s in Wildlife Conservation.
I am originally from Mississippi but my husband, my two daughters, my dog, and I all currently call Alaska home.
The reason I chose to attend Unity College is that Unity is an environmental, wildlife, and conservation-focused school. Ever since I was a child it has been my dream to work with animals and to have a job outdoors. As I have grown into adulthood my love for animals, nature, and the environment has only gotten stronger!
Once I earn my degree, I am hoping to obtain a life-fulfilling job as a Wildlife Biology Assistant, Park Ranger, or work at a Wildlife Conservation Center in Alaska.
I loved everything about the Environmental Documentary Class but the thing I loved the most was being able to watch all of my classmates’ documentaries they created for our course project! Everyone did such an amazing job and it just made me realize how easy it could be for others to create similar documentaries to help spread awareness about the environment and/or endangered species.
My future goals are to graduate from Unity College with my Bachelor’s Degree in Wildlife Biology and Conservation, start a new career in Wildlife Biology, and then apply to Unity’s Graduate Program!”
Unity College student Ansleigh, recently took the Environmental Documentary Films course at Unity College with Professor Will Dodson.
“In the summer of 2021, I was transferring out of my college because I wanted something new. I was a mathematics student and felt out of place. I went home that summer and something clicked: ‘I love animals and I love plants. There has to be something out there for me.’ At the time I lived in Jacksonville, then moved to Port Saint Lucie. I began classes at Unity in July of 2021 and never looked back! Now, in August of 2022, I live in North Carolina and spend my time studying Animal Health and Behavior. I chose Unity thanks to the flexibility of my schedule while I work full-time in health documentation software support. I also love the unique projects in each course!
I hope to gain knowledge on bettering the lives of humans, plants, and animals (wild, exotic, and domesticated) through positive husbandry habits and sanctuary. In my most recent Environmental Film class, I made my own film discussing the benefits of turning your ordinary lawn into a magical and manageable wonderland of native plants and pollinators. I hope to one day educate others in outdoor classroom settings and have as much hands-on learning as possible.”
Graduates | Alumni Working in the Field | Current Students | Student Internships & Experiences
Environmental Professional Core
Unity College student, Sarah, recently took the Environmental Issues course at Unity College with Professor Nathaniel Bickford.
“Since I watched Free Willy as a little girl, I instantly knew I wanted to work with sea life and become a Marine Biologist. Growing up, I felt like I was terrible at sciences. Rather than pushing myself, I gave up. I decided to go to college for Tourism. I graduated back in 2014 with my degree. I always knew something was missing and always regretted not living out my dream.
In January 2021, I did a SeaWorld Rescue tour and something instantly lit that spark again for me. I started to research colleges for Marine Biology when I found Unity College. I chose Unity because as a mother of two under 5, life can get crazy. Unity Distance Education offers everything 100% online and the 5-week terms allow for a flexible schedule. When I spoke initially to Unity, I never felt pressured and everyone was so kind and helpful.
I recently took Environmental Issues taught by Dr. Nathaniel Bickford. This course was a huge eye-opener and allowed me to dig deeper into the overall issues that our entire planet is facing right now. This course gave me new perspectives and ways I can try to help. I really enjoyed it!
I am around 9 months into my degree and every single professor has been nothing but amazing. Unity also helped me discover new possibilities for using my degree. During one of my courses, I found a love for coral reefs. I decided I want to focus on coral reefs and coral restoration. I cannot wait to see where my studies take me!”
Unity College student, Angelica recently took the Transformational Leadership course at Unity College with Professor Richard Hudnett.
“Before I started at Unity, I had already taken classes at two other colleges, and every few months/years I would put a pause on my studies due to numerous reasons, like being a young mother, working two full-time jobs, etc.
I was someone who grew up knowing that I wanted to work with animals, whether it be wildlife or domestic. So ever since 2010, I had been working with animals and just knew I had to make it a career for me.
After taking a few years off of school, I started looking online for colleges to attend that had what I was looking to study, Animal Health and Behavior. When Covid hit, I started searching for colleges that were 100% online where I did not necessarily have to be there physically. That is when I stumbled upon Unity college. I saw that they offered classes in what I was looking to study and saw that I was able to take all my classes online which was super helpful and convenient for me, considering the circumstances. They made it super easy for me to transfer over credits, sign me up for my undergraduate classes quickly, and much more.
What I liked most about the Transformational Leadership class was that it provided me with the necessary information to teach me how to lead and how to enable meaningful personal and organizational change. It helped me learn to analyze what high-performance leaders need and to improve my own capabilities. I learned how to encourage, inspire, and motivate people to achieve in ways that produce significant transformations. This type of class, in my opinion, is essential to helping teach and guide students on how to become great leaders in their future careers and their lives in general.”
Unity College student, Immy, recently took the Environmental Issues course at Unity College with Professor Erik Larson.
“My name is Imaijha but I prefer to go by Immy. I’m originally from Indiana however, now I live in Playa del Carmen, Mexico. Before Unity, I was a Scuba Diving Instructor and Cave Diver. I spend most of my time diving, discovering the culture, exploring nature, and studying. In 2020, tourism took a sharp decline, and I was forced to look for work elsewhere. I currently work from home and was fortunate to stumble upon Unity’s Distance Education program, finding the path to my desired career through Unity. I didn’t think I would find a program that I would be able to join without moving and starting all over somewhere so when I found Unity’s program, I knew it was the right path.
After speaking to an adviser and checking out the program online, I couldn’t pass up on the opportunity to pursue my dream career. I’ve now been at Unity for just over a year now and I am thrilled to be a part of this program and complete my studies. I am really looking forward to learning as much as possible to pursue my dream of becoming a Marine Mammalogist.
I am in the undergraduate program majoring in Marine Biology and Sustainable Aquaculture. Through this program, I hope to strengthen my core biology and ecology skills as well as acquire new and diverse skills and specializations to add to my growing skillset and knowledge to improve my chances to obtain graduate school admissions and job prospects.
I enjoyed the range of topics we covered in this course that will be beneficial to my future courses and capstone at Unity College. During this course, I learned a lot about topics that I hadn’t previously focused on such as deforestation and overpopulation. With all the new information I have received this year, and through this course, I would like to research more about the impacts of a growing global population and habitat loss on our ocean’s biodiversity. My focus in this field is to become a Marine Mammalogist and specialize in cetaceans. I’d like to research orca and other cetaceans around the world in places like Norway, New Zealand, Argentina, and the Northwest Pacific Ocean. I hope to bring more awareness to the conditions of our oceans and the health of marine life within them.”
Unity College student, Isis recently took the Transformational Leadership course at Unity College with Professor Richard Hudnett.
“I transferred to Unity after my Freshman year at another college. I was going to a large school that made me feel small and overlooked as a student.
I chose Unity because it seemed like there would be many more opportunities for me there and that the teachers really cared about the subject matter. I hoped to get more than just an education from Unity, I wanted an experience, and I definitely got it.
Transformational Leadership forced me to do a lot of analytical thinking about who I am as a leader and what I would do in difficult situations in the workplace. I enjoyed this course because it allowed me to realize things about myself and picture how I can manage different situations in the future of my career moving forward!
I plan to attend graduate school in the future, focusing on water conservation and dedicating my career to helping protect our planet!”
Unity College student, Jennifer, recently took the Environmental Issues course at Unity College with Professor Timothy Algeo.
“Before starting Unity, I was in my previous career of 14 years as a massage therapist, and I was at another college that just wasn’t right for me at the time. When I found Unity not too long after, it was a perfect match. Throughout the years I have also been in retail management and had a quick career as an HVAC-R tech, which quickly led me into my childhood interest in saving the environment. When I was in the field of HVAC-R, I found out how much heating, cooling, and refrigeration units were affecting the atmosphere when they emitted refrigerant (freon) that is the cooling and heating agent in each unit. I very soon after decided to go enroll at Unity to learn how to mitigate and help stop climate change and deforestation, and how to fix what we have already damaged of our one Earth. I have always had a great love for wildlife, the environment, kayaking, hiking, and just being one with nature. Saving and supporting the Earth is my life’s dream, and I can’t wait to see what changes I can make as I move forward in life with the education I take with me.
I chose Unity College after many years of looking for a college that was environmentally focused. I love that Unity is known as “America’s Environmental College.” I started Unity College with a B.S. in Wildlife Conservation and I plan to help habitats for wildlife and society to stay normalized rather than continued destruction, and also help with natural disasters and rebuilding natural resources. Deforestation is also a big issue that I would love to mitigate and expose other means of sustainable options. I am thrilled with my choice of Unity College and can’t wait to finish with my B.S. in Wildlife Conservation. I would also love to earn my Master’s in Conservation Management. I am over the moon excited to endure this part of my life and enjoy every aspect of learning from Unity, its staff, and instructors.
What I am hoping to get out of my education, is a wealth of knowledge towards the environment, how to help clean our air, how to promote mitigation and use sustainable industrial products like hemp and bamboo and reforest our lands. Unity has become a savior to me, and it has taught me how much I can get involved and what I can do with my education after graduation. Whether it be, mitigating deforestation, or helping find ways to legalize and distribute more sustainable products like hemp and bamboo instead of knocking down trees for industrial purposes. I would also like to explore finding mitigation solutions for cleaner air and backing companies that want to take CO2 out of the atmosphere. I want to help future generations understand how much nature and the environment mean to the earth and all the living things that live in it. We only get one Earth, why waste ruining it when we can think of so many ways to utilize and use our resources respectably. There are so many sustainable options, like hemp and bamboo for industrial purposes in building houses, food, making clothes, fuels, and so much more. There are also solar and windmills options for energy, that are self-sustainable and much better options that can get us back on track. With the population growing and growing each year, the Earth is overwhelmed with keeping up with supply and demand. In this day and age, we can expand our resources with good substitutes like the ones I have mentioned earlier. My future goal is to use what I have learned from Unity to not only educate others but to use every bit of knowledge I have to make our Earth a better place for all.
The Environmental Issues: Deforestation, Biodiversity Loss, and Overpopulation course has added insight into the depths of how far the dominos will fall due to biodiversity issues. I have come to find out what areas of the world are hit the hardest and what is being done about those environmental issues and where to go from there. What stuck out most to me was what I learned when we did an overview of the area we live in and did research on who and what affects our area. We learned what human activities create issues and biodiversity loss for wildlife, plants, water sources, and more. I find the environmental issues that plague this earth to be overwhelming and scary at best. I also feel that having more people like myself caring and wanting better for the earth, collectively, we will find ways to turn the bad around and restore the earth to its former glory.
I would like to come back to Unity to get my Master’s degree in Conservation Management. Unity has opened up so many possibilities for me already. As of now, I work for First Carbon Solutions, a sustainability consulting company that advises companies on how to become more sustainable. At First Carbon, I have just transferred from the environmental, social, and governance (ESG) side of the company to now the environmental services (ES) side to become an analyst. I got this opportunity back in April because of Unity and all that I had at the time learned from them. I know that sticking with Unity and graduating from this school will give me so much more than I could ever have dreamed of, and for that I am grateful. After being an analyst at First Carbon, I would love to explore being a biologist there as well as help with the air analysts’ team as well. I am very excited about my future career with this company and can’t wait for what is to come. I plan to do a bit of traveling in my career at one point or another to get an idea of different parts of the earth so that I am well-rounded in what goes on all over the planet. Sky’s the limit, and I plan to save our skies and this planet!”
Unity College student, Faith, recently took the Environmental Issues: Energy, Water Scarcity, and Waste course at Unity College with Professor Steven Golieb.
“Before attending Unity College I joined the workforce and worked in the food industry for about 2 years. I wanted to be able to figure out what I wanted to do in life after graduating high school. My original plan for continuing my education had a more veterinarian-based direction but my time off from school and working indoors helped me to realize I want a hands-on job that also allows me to be outdoors. I applied to Distance Education at Unity College.
I live in Massachusetts and I wanted to continue working while earning my degree. Distance Education made that possible. After exploring the different undergraduate degrees offered for Distance Education through Unity I decided on Wildlife Conservation with a concentration in Animal Health and Behavior. I think it’s a great way to combine my love for conservation, wildlife, and getting to work outdoors.
Through my education I hope to become more hands-on with a variety of communities and assist with conservation work anywhere I can. I also want to teach future generations about the importance of caring for our natural world. Something I really enjoyed about the Environmental Issues: Energy, Water Scarcity, and Waste course was how each issue is connected and that there are changes we can make in our daily lives to help improve them.”
Unity College student, Courtney, recently took the Environmental Issues course at Unity College with Professor Erik Larson.
“I transferred to Unity College to complete my Bachelor’s Degree in Marine Biology and Sustainable Aquaculture with a concentration in Animal Health and Behavior. I currently am located in San Diego, CA, and love all of the benefits of distance education at Unity. I love that there is so much flexibility to help me succeed. I am using the knowledge I gain here to help me succeed as an Aquarist in the future.
I recently took a course on Environmental Issues: Deforestation, Biodiversity Loss, and Overpopulation with Professor Erik Larson. I love how this class opened my eyes to how the world is on these subjects. Sometimes they are not the most positive subjects, but they are important to learning how to better the world. The class overall taught me that habitats in relation to populations are essential to understanding environmental issues.”
Unity College student Marty, recently took the Environmental Issues: Energy, Water Scarcity, and Waste course at Unity College with Professor Katherine Willis.
“Before Unity, I was enrolled in a two-year environmental science program at a local community college. I currently live in Connecticut.
I am not a fan of the curriculum that most liberal art colleges offer for their environmental programs. I wanted a program that was environmentally focused, and Unity College has what I am looking for.
I want my education to challenge me so that I feel prepared for the real world. Education should be hands-on, with an online program it is a bit more difficult to get the “full” college experience, however, Unity’s program has proven to be challenging at times and encouraged me to go out into the field to apply what I have learned.
This class introduced me to several topics related to energy and the environment. What I liked most was the case study regarding e-waste.
After I graduate, I intend to relocate back to Maine and find a career in the environmental field. I enjoy fieldwork and assessments and hope to find something that allows me to be outside where I can apply my knowledge and learn from future experiences.”
Unity College student, Adrienne, recently took the Transformational Leadership course at Unity College with Professor Jane Courtney.
Before starting at Unity, my studies were in digital media and documentary filmmaking at the School of Visual Arts. I never worked in these fields. Before moving to Maine, I was the District Manager of Canine Education for a national pet services chain. I launched puppy, adult dog, tricks, and Canine Good Citizen classes at 12 locations. I also had my own business as a dog behavior consultant.
I had always planned to get a master’s or Ph. D. in animal behavior and apply for certification as an applied animal behaviorist with the Animal Behavior Society. The timing of Unity’s online program in animal health and behavior coincided with these goals.
I am currently an undergraduate majoring in Animal Health and Behavior. I plan to supplement my work experience with academic credentials to support my goals in the animal behavior field.
I initially wondered if the class was relevant to my current career aspirations since my days in Corporate America were behind me.
To my surprise, the class applied to all areas of my life (not only professional goals but networking, environmental activism, and even everyday tasks such as town council meetings). Thanks to Dr. Jane Courtney, I learned I often operate in a “servant leader” capacity. This is valuable information for all facets of my life. I am grateful to have this insight going into the future
As for the future, I would love to eventually obtain certification as an applied animal behaviorist with the Animal Behavior Society. I plan to write several books on animal behavior. I would also like to supplement my retirement income with medical and scientific writing.
Unity College student, Adrienne, recently took the Transformational Leadership course at Unity College with Professor Jane Courtney.
“I chose Unity because I wanted to go back to school to work with Octopuses and Covid seemed like the best time since I was working from home. Unity was the only school that offered what I was looking for without having to go to any classes in person and allowed me to do my coursework on my own time.
I’m working on my BS in Animal Health and Behavior (only one class left after this term!). I chose this because I’m landlocked and wanted to have more options open to me until I get the opportunity to move closer to an aquarium that focuses on education and conservation. Since 2020 I’ve learned a lot about how animals function internally, how they utilize different survival skills, how to care for captive animals properly, and other beneficial information.
I enjoyed taking the transitional leadership class with Dr. Jane. It helped me better understand the kind of leader that I am and what types of leadership works in certain situations. I appreciated that we were provided with different scenarios where we had to figure out how to solve situations as a leader.
As far as future career goals go, I hope to either get a spot at the Shark Reef in Las Vegas or move somewhere closer to another aquarium like Georgia Aquarium or one similar to Monterey Bay Aquarium.”
Graduates | Alumni Working in the Field | Current Students | Student Internships & Experiences
Animal Health and Behavior
Unity College student, Victoria recently took the Animal Training and Care course at Unity College with Professor Jessica Herboth.
“Hello! My name is Victoria and I am majoring in Animal Health and Behavior at Unity College! I choose Unity because it is one of the few colleges that allows you to get a degree completely through distance education. This has allowed me to work full-time in my field while getting my degree.
The first major course I ever took was Animal Training and Care. I absolutely loved taking the course because I was able to apply the coursework to my current job. I learned proper animal husbandry, basic training techniques, and more important information that I will be able to apply to my career. “
Unity College student, Summer, recently took the Animal Nutrition course at Unity College with Professor Kristen Voehl.
“I started with Unity College’s distance education program in the fall of 2020, after getting laid off from my corporate job due to the pandemic. By that time, I had already been wanting a career change anyway, to something not confined strictly to an office. Thankfully, my husband’s military career afforded me the opportunity to return to school to pursue such a switch. When I began my journey with Unity, we were stationed in Hawaii; however, this past summer, we moved to San Antonio, TX. That is one of the great things about this school – the portability. I took a break for one term, while we traveled cross-country, and almost immediately picked right back up again when we arrived at our destination.
I am currently on the second bachelor’s degree track, majoring in Animal Health and Behavior. When I graduate with this new degree, I am hoping to transition into a career in wildlife conservation, working in an aquarium, zoo, or sanctuary setting. I just completed the Animal Nutrition course with Dr. Kristen Voehl. I can honestly say, it was one of my favorite courses I’ve taken through Unity thus far, and Dr. Voehl was the best instructor I’ve had as well! I recently applied for an animal husbandry position in my local area, and I really hope I get it so I can apply all the valuable knowledge I gained from the course.”
Unity College student, Cassidy, recently took the Animal Comparative Physiology course at Unity College with Professor Amy Bentz.
“When I first started my college career, I was going to school for psychology to be a high school guidance counselor. After earning my A.S. in psychology and transferring, I quickly realized that I wanted to work in the wildlife field because conservation is a big passion of mine. I went back to community college and earned another A.S. in Forestry, Wildlife, and Fisheries.
When I started looking for places to transfer for my B.S., I found Unity College and saw that they offered fully online programs. This was perfect for me since I didn’t want to move out of my home state, Tennessee, and was looking for a school that had smaller class sizes.
I am currently majoring in Captive Wildlife Care; I started in January 2021 and should graduate in the Spring of next year, with the hopes of becoming a zookeeper at my local zoo or working with the Tennessee Wildlife Resources Agency.
Outside of my career goals, I want to help spread the message about conservation and sustainability! I’ve loved all my classes and I’m sure I will continue to enjoy learning about animals and the environment these next few terms.
This past term, I took Animal Comparative Physiology. I enjoyed everything about the class! I was able to apply what I’d learned in Anatomy the previous term and connect it to the physiology aspect of animal health. I loved researching a variety of animals I hope to one day work with and learning more about how their bodies work.“
Unity College student, Carlis, recently took the Animal Training & Care course at Unity College with Professor Kristyn Vitale.
“Before I started at Unity College, I was a dog walker on the side and primarily worked in sales for a few local businesses around Pittsburgh, PA (where I lived).
I chose Unity College because I have a passion for animals and environmentalism and knew that I’d do well with the curriculum. It is America’s Environmental College, after all! I’m currently majoring in Environmental Studies with a concentration in Animal Health & Behavior.
I work for my local humane society (Beaver County Humane Society) as an Animal Enrichment Associate on the Behavioral Team, and I love every second of it. I’m hoping to continue working here, utilizing my education to continue growing in the field.
My favorite part about Unity’s Animal Training and Care course was probably how in-depth and detailed it was. Throughout the course, Dr.Vitale provided extremely helpful feedback and support to ensure that the materials we covered were understood and retained by everyone. I always tell people how much I love Unity College and I thank our awesome professors, (like Dr.Vitale), for that.”
Unity College student Alyssa recently took the Animal Health and Disease course at Unity College with Professor Kristen Voehl.
“Before starting at Unity, I relocated from northern California to Southern Nevada with my partner and 2 pets, which is where I still currently live. I was also wrapping up my first year as a kindergarten support teacher at a Montessori school.
I chose Unity because I was working full time and the closest school that had anything slightly close to what I was looking for was in Arizona. They offered distance learning but I would have still had to take one class in person which wasn’t feasible. I then came across Unity and their programs offered exactly what I was looking for and they had a full distance learning option, it checked all my boxes.
I’m working on my BS in Animal Health and Behavior and am hoping to become more knowledgeable with animal topics in order to have a better understanding overall. That way when I begin working towards my goals outside of school I will feel more confident and have a better chance at landing my dream job. So far I’ve already learned so much!
What I enjoyed most about the Animal Health and Disease class with Dr. Voehl was diving a bit deeper into diseases that I had never heard of or only knew the extreme basics about. It made me more aware of things that could be present in my environment and even affect my pets at home. Dr. Voehl was very helpful with questions and feedback on all of my assignments.
Once I graduate, my ultimate goal is to work with the cephalopods, octopuses specifically, at a RAD Aquarium. At the aquarium, they focus on conservation and education, similar to the Monterey Bay Aquarium. Until then, I have my eyes on the Shark Reef out here at Mandalay Bay to get some experience since their aquarium.”
Unity College student Summer recently took the Animal Behavior: Evolution, Ecology & Social Behavior course at Unity College with Professor Kristyn Vitale.
“In addition to being an undergraduate student, pursuing a second Bachelor’s in Animal Health and Behavior, first and foremost I am a military spouse and mom of two school-aged children. Currently, we are stationed in San Antonio, TX, but prior to this we were in Honolulu, HI for six years. That is one of the several reasons I chose to enroll in Unity’s Distance Education program: it is flexible, portable, and convenient. I received my first degree from a traditional university, and what I appreciate so much about my experience with Unity, is that it allows you to incorporate education into your lifestyle and not the other way around.
I began this new journey in the fall of 2020, right after being laid off from my corporate job and (like many other parents) being thrust into the role of temporary homeschool teacher. I had been looking for an excuse to leave my position anyway, so found it the perfect opportunity to return to school in pursuit of my childhood career goal to be involved in wildlife conservation. With this new degree track, I am hoping to someday work in an accredited aquarium, zoo, or wildlife sanctuary, helping to preserve endangered species populations.
I recently completed Animal Behavior: Evolution, Ecology, and Social Behavior with Professor Kristyn Vitale. The assignments, discussions, and final project for the class helped me to visualize how I will be able to apply the concepts learned in my program of study to my future career goals. Furthermore, it is obvious that Dr. Vitale truly wants to see her students succeed. She is eager and open to discuss just about anything related to animal behavior – from course topics, to her background and research, to career possibilities.”
Unity College student Clara recently took the Animal Comparative Anatomy course at Unity College with Professor Nicola Erdsack.
“I have been working as a veterinary technician for about 10 years. Before COVID I had taken a position doing customer service for a veterinary-related company, but with COVID I was laid off. I thought that this would be a perfect time for me to return to school. I was able to transfer credits from my veterinary technician degree program, so I should be able to complete my BS in about 2 years!
I live in Portland, Maine. I grew up in Liberty, Maine, just a stone’s through from Unity.
I chose Unity because it offers a completely online degree in Animal Health and Behavior. I wanted a degree related to my career field but did not have the ability to take 2 years off work to go to school. I am hoping that having a BS from Unity in Animal Health and Behavior will help to set me apart in veterinary medicine as someone who is a leader in the field.
All of my classes have been engaging. Comparative Anatomy was a challenge for me because the final project was a research paper comparing living animals to extinct species. I have been working with animal anatomy for so long in veterinary medicine, this class encouraged me to look at anatomy in a new way.
I am currently working as a Hospital Manager for a veterinary clinic in Southern Maine. I hope that my degree will help enhance my career by showing my commitment to knowledge and continuous learning in the field of veterinary medicine. I like the behavior aspect of my degree as well since animal behaviors need to be considered whenever we work with animals. Understanding an animal’s behavior can help us to understand what they may be experiencing, allowing us to lower fear, anxiety, and stress for our veterinary patients. Lowering stress and anxiety can help us to lower physical pain as well, which is very important to me in my work.”
Unity College student Melanie recently took the Designing Captive Animal Environments course at Unity College with Professor Gina Fisher Caldwell.
“My name is Melanie Goldstein and I’m from Philadelphia, Pennsylvania area! I am earning my Bachelor’s degree in Animal Health and Behavior. Prior to enrolling at Unity College, I attended Millersville University for a year where I majored in Animal Behavior. I transferred to Bucks County Community College for a year majoring in general studies and earned a Nursing Assistant Certification. While both are great schools, neither was the right fit for me. Unity College has been such a great fit.
I chose Unity College because I really connected with the college’s emphasis on environmentalism. The passion Unity College demonstrates for the environment and wildlife is like nothing I’ve seen before, and it makes me strive to be a better person! All my classes are unique, interesting and informative, always keeping me engaged.
The course Designing Captive Animal Environments with Professor Gina Fisher Caldwell helped further my knowledge of zoo environment enclosures. I learned about standards, designs, and types of enclosures; and the expectation for different species habitats. I loved learning about not just the animals but about their environments and how they are made specifically for each species. Professor Caldwell, made the class more enjoyable than expected. She presented the material very clearly from feedback to addressing in-class questions.
My goal is to some day work with primates. Specifically, the Western Lowland Gorillas and their conservative projects as well as to continue to graduate school in the future. These majestic, intelligent creatures fascinate me, and I hope to dedicate myself to preserving their future.”
Meet Unity College student Brianna recently took the Animal Training & Care course at Unity College with Professor Elizabeth Parker.
“Hello! My name is Brianna Rodriguez. I live in Putnam County, New York. I am an undergraduate student at Unity College and majoring in Environmental Studies with concentrations in Wildlife Ecology and Animal Health & Behavior. Before attending Unity College, I was attending my local state university and working at a local farm. I saw an advertisement online about Unity College and after looking more into the mission and goals of the college, I knew that this was where I needed to be. I love how Unity focuses on the environment and takes a more holistic approach to learning. Once enrolled, I immediately felt a sense of belonging. I have never had a school that has aligned with my personal interests, goals, and ideologies until Unity College. I feel this college represents what I stand for and shares the same passions that I have for the environment and its conservation.
After I graduate with my undergraduate degree, I would love to be able to get a job within the field of wildlife conservation. I am also thinking about getting my master’s degree within wildlife conservation or a similar field. I especially knew that this was the direction I wanted to head in after taking the Animal Training & Care course with Professor Parker. I absolutely loved this course and I learned so much while taking it. We learned wildlife conservation, animal care within wildlife facilities, and the different training methods that can be used. When it comes to my education, my main goal has always been to learn what I love and that is exactly what Unity College has given me the opportunity to do.
Unity College student Liz recently took the Animal Care Technical Skills course at Unity College with Professor Kristen Voehl.
“After teaching elementary school for 14 years, and working as an LPN for the last 11 years, I’m getting ready to graduate with my Bachelor’s Degree in Animal Health & Behavior in December 2022! As a non-traditional student, Unity’s Distance Education learning was a perfect fit for me. I work full time and going to school in a traditional campus setting is not practical for me. Also, there are no programs in Animal Health & Behavior anywhere near me. I was so happy when I found Unity’s program. It is perfect!
I just completed ANIM 401 Animal Care Technical Skills. It was a phenomenal class. Dr. Voehl was excellent. I appreciate that she always answered questions thoroughly and promptly. Dr. Voehl was always ready to help me to succeed. The course project was very thorough and immersed me in the content of the course. Some of the procedures I studied were ear cytology, cystocentesis, venipuncture, medication administration, and stool culture. Basic restraint was also given an in-depth study.
After this course, I would feel very confident stepping into a facility and after some guidance performing ear cytology, skin scraping, or basic restraint. I feel very well prepared.”
Unity College student Cassidy recently took the Designing Captive Animal Environments course at Unity College with Professor Gina Fisher Caldwell.
“Designing Captive Animal Environments was part of my required curriculum to earn my degree. This class teaches a lot of useful information for anyone going into the captive wildlife field, while also being a fun class! You get to act as the project coordinator of your facility and design an exhibit for an animal of your choosing, and each week you incorporate new design elements into the exhibit that comply with animal husbandry and welfare standards. I loved being able to draw a blueprint of my lion exhibit and designing a naturalistic and immersive enclosure for them. Reviewing lion care manuals and AZA standards helped me learn more about how to care for an animal I one day want to work with as a zookeeper.”
Unity College student Kennedy recently took the Animal Training & Care course at Unity College with Professor Dana Kennedy.
“Before enrolling at Unity College, I graduated from SUNY Jefferson Community College with an AAS in Zoo Technology. I also was working as a student in zoos and other animal care facilities. Right before I graduated, I participated in a 6-month internship protecting the endangered Great Lakes Piping Plovers at Sandy Island Beach State Park.
I currently live in Pulaski, New York just outside of Syracuse. I chose Unity because of the online opportunity. I work full time to make ends meet, so being able to obtain my Bachelor’s degree online and work full time is great for me. Working full-time allows me to work in conservation or animal care jobs while getting a degree. I can build my resume and gain experience while obtaining an education.
I am earning my Bachelor’s in Animal Health and Behavior. Training always interested me and studying the behavior of species in wild environments is also a high interest. I always wanted to be a falconer, or work in a zoo in the bird department. I think this degree will help me achieve those goals.
I liked how in-depth we went into cleaning and sanitation, with a lab practical on animal training. I never truly covered animal training in my AAS, so the lab really helped me understand it further. I also enjoyed creating an animal care handbook on owls, it really makes you think about what each species needs.
My future goals are to become a professor at a college, whether it is a community or a four-year one. I want to teach Animal Science, Care, and Behavior in an animal program. I want to also dedicate my time working with birds whether for conservation or at an animal care facility.”
Unity College student Janet recently took the Animal Training & Care course at Unity College with Professor Dana Kennedy.
“I am currently enrolled at Unity College as a non-degree seeking student. Before Unity, I graduated from the University of Maine in Orono in 1998 with a B.S. in Wildlife Biology where I discovered a love for wildlife rehabilitation. I spent 12 years as a veterinary assistant and currently the last 10 years at the Jackson Laboratory as an advanced technologist.
I am a single mother of my 16-year-old son living in Maine. I was feeling a little “stuck” in life while watching my son make plans for his future after high school, and I decided to expand upon my own education. I started looking for a distance program that I could manage around my busy work and life schedules and the courses that Unity offers in wild/captive animal care are exactly what I hoped to find!
I believe the classes that Unity offers will help refresh what I previously learned and greatly expand my knowledge of animal care and behavior. My Unity education will enable me to become an asset to a rehabilitation center and help me aid and protect Maine’s native wildlife.
This class proved to me that you can teach an old dog new tricks! Animal Training & Care was my first college class in 24 years. The fast pace was initially a bit of a shock and I was afraid I had gotten in over my head, but I quickly settled into a routine and loved the challenge of re-learning how to research and write papers. The discussion posts were thought-provoking and I appreciated the feedback from my peers and professor. This class has inspired me to do more and be better.
I have always had a passion to care for and protect animals. My goal is to re-enter the field of wildlife rehabilitation as a volunteer and then ideally as a full-time job in the future. Unity College has certainly helped put me back on that path!”
Unity College student Kathryn recently took the Animal Training & Care course at Unity College with Professor Dana Kennedy.
“Before attending Unity College, I attended the University of Cincinnati for the Vet Tech program. I had been working at my local animal shelter for a few years and I knew since I was little that I wanted to work with animals. After my first semester at the University of Cincinnati, I felt like the medical aspect wasn’t for me and that what I really loved about working with animals was training and analyzing behavior. After this, I found Unity’s Animal Health and Behavior undergraduate degree and it was exactly what I was looking for.
I am still living in Cincinnati, OH, and I found that Unity’s Distance Education program would allow me to obtain my degree while continuing to do the things I love. I am majoring in Animal Health and Behavior with a concentration in Marine Biology. I am very family-oriented, so I am grateful that I can receive such a good education without having to leave my family. I still work through my local animal shelter, caring for dogs and cats, as well as working on training dogs through positive reinforcement and cooperative care methods.
Since I was very young, I always studied as much as I could about animals. I have also learned so much from my jobs about animal husbandry and training. Through the courses I have taken (and will continue to take) I hope that I can expand my knowledge of animal care, behavior, and training, as well as learn many new things that will prepare me for my future.
What I liked most about my Animal Training and Care class was that a lot of the things we covered in the course were things that I utilize every day at work. Not only was I able to share the knowledge that I already had with my class, but I was also able to expand my knowledge of the topics we covered and apply it in the workplace.
Though I do not know for sure what career I want to pursue, I am certain that I am on the right path and the courses I am taking are pushing me in the right direction. I would love to be able to apply the information that I am learning, specifically about training and behavior, to animals other than dogs. A big dream of mine is to be able to work with dolphins. The topics covered in my courses about conservation and environmental issues are also very important to me, and I plan to spread that knowledge to others. I have come to recognize that the first step in creating healthier ecosystems is to educate others and encourage them to make a difference!”
Unity College student Victoria recently took the Animal Training & Care course at Unity College with Professor Gina Caldwell.
“I had taken a break from school prior to enrolling in Unity College. This break wasn’t one I wanted to take. I became so ill in 2019 that I couldn’t stay in school, and I had to withdraw from my previous college. After years of seeing various doctors, I finally got some answers. I was struggling so much that it was suggested by my care team that I may benefit from a service dog. I couldn’t afford a program dog, so I decided to owner train my own service dog. That’s when I fell in love with training and knew I wanted to help others train their own service dogs as well.
I currently live on the Big Island of Hawaii in a town called Keaau. I decided to enroll in Unity College because they offered an Animal Health and Behavior degree, and I could do my work on my own time thanks to their Distance Education option. I am currently apprenticing under a local dog trainer, so I don’t have the time to attend class in a traditional classroom setting. Unity gives me the flexibility that I need. I am able to juggle my day-to-day life while still earning my degree.
I am currently earning my Bachelor’s in Animal Health and Behavior. I hope to gain as much knowledge as I can on animal behavior in hopes that it will help me on my way to becoming a professional service dog trainer. I want the tools to teach dogs through positive reinforcement so that they may help their handlers with their disabilities. I loved learning about classical and operant conditioning, it’s exactly what I wanted from the class. My ultimate goal is to professionally train service dogs. I want to help those who are owner training their service dog. I had to do it all by myself and I wish I had help along the way.”
Meet Unity College student Hannah recently took the Animal Training and Care course at Unity College with Professor Kristyn Vitale.
“Before starting at Unity College, I received my Associate of Science degree from a local community college and decided to follow my lifelong dream of working with animals. I knew that I had to stay at home no matter what major I chose, and I had limited options close to me. I saw an ad for Unity and immediately felt that it would be a perfect fit for me! I live in a small town in East Texas. I was born in Louisiana and lived there for 10 years before my family moved to Texas.
I chose Unity College because they offer 100% online programs, which is what I needed. I have been taking online classes with Unity for 10 months and am majoring in Animal Health and Behavior. I love how convenient the classes are, and I have already learned so much. I am hoping that my education at Unity will help me learn about the best ways to care for captive animals and study wild ones.
I learned a lot from the Animal Care and Training class that will be useful in my zoology career. Through provided learning materials, discussion posts, and other assignments, I was able to discover new methods of animal care and training. My favorite part of the class was learning about different enrichment activities, how to monitor an animal’s welfare and different training methods.
My main goal for the future is to work with animals in captivity and research animals in the wild. I would also like to get some internship experience in the near future. Working with animals has always been a dream of mine, and ever since enrolling at Unity, I have felt confident that I can achieve this goal.”
Unity College student Amanda recently took the Animal Training & Care course at Unity College with Professor Gina Caldwell.
“My name is Amanda Lietuvnikas. I am from northern Maryland, and I am an undergrad studying Animal Health and Behavior. I have an Associate Degree in Graphic Design and I was working toward my Bachelors in the same field knowing that it was not what I wanted to do. After taking about a year off from school to work and figuring out which direction I wanted to go in, I finally feel as though I am on the right path. I still do enjoy making art and like to incorporate my love for animals into my work.
What I liked most about my Animal Training and Care class was the use of real-life examples to show the most effective methods for animal care. I like that the class often referred to the standards of the AZA and always provided creditable and quality sources for the material we were being taught. My professor was very responsive and ready to help with any questions I had and always provided wonderful feedback.
My career goals are to work in animal welfare and conservation. I want to educate the public on the importance of our world’s ecosystems and what they can do to help. I am sure my time at Unity College will allow me to gain the skill necessary to thrive in this field. My favorite thing about my classes at Unity is how detailed each one is to a specific form of Animal Acience. I am excited to further my education in Animal Health and Behavior, it is what I am truly passionate about.”
Unity College student Megan recently took the Animal Training and Care course at Unity College with Bonnie Gulas-Wroblewski.
“My name is Megan McGill and I am 30 years old. I am a New Jersey native, but currently live in Florida with my boyfriend, Todd. I am pursuing an undergraduate degree in Animal Health and Behavior with a concentration in Marine Biology and Sustainable Aquaculture. This is my third degree and a career change for me. Prior to starting at Unity, I moved down to Florida to be a pastry chef for banquets and weddings at the Walt Disney World resort. However, during the pandemic, I got furloughed and this gave me time to take a step back and see that I was not following my dreams. So with the support of my boyfriend (and puppy), I decided it was time to follow my dream of helping animals.
I chose to get my second Bachelor’s degree at Unity because they are truly passionate about helping both the environment and the animals that live there. I currently work as an animal keeper at an exotic animal preserve and have the responsibility of taking care of over 100 different animals daily. I wanted to make sure that I could continue to work there and do all of my classes online at the same time. Unity had so many different and interesting courses to choose from.
I have recently finished the Animal Training and Care course with Professor Bonnie Gulas-Wroblewski. Working at an animal sanctuary allowed me to provide real-life examples in my assignments and allowed me to have in-depth discussions with my fellow classmates. Professor Gulas-Wroblewski provided me with tons of new ideas and enrichment to do with the animals at my work. She was always available to answer any question that I had whether it was about the class or just about real-life situations. I have learned so much from Professor Gulas-Wroblewski and I cannot thank her enough.
Already working in the industry, my classes at Unity have allowed me to expand on what I do every day with the health and care of all the animals. As for my career goals, I know that I want to work with the rescuing and rehabilitating of animals of all species. Whether that is to continue in an animal sanctuary-type setting or go more of the aquatic animals’ route, I am not positive just yet. However, I know that by studying at Unity, I am going to gain the knowledge that I need to be successful in this industry and that will allow me to have a bright future.”
Unity College student Angela recently took the Animal Training and Care course at Unity College with Bonnie Gulas-Wroblewski.
“Before I started at Unity, I had a multitude of degrees and licenses. I am licensed in massage therapy and bartending. I have an associate degree in accounting, and I have a bachelor’s degree in English with a concentration in writing. Through dabbling in many careers, I kept thinking about my childhood dream of working with animals. Out of high school, I was going to major in zoology; however, I turned away from that passion with the notion that I would not be able to financially support myself in the field. All these years later, I am finally pursing my dream career with the confidence in myself to make my finances work.
I am living in Homer Glen, IL, and I have lived here for my entire twenty-six years of life. Unfortunately, in Illinois, there are not many universities around that offer the type of majors that I am interested in, and the ones that do, are hours away. I am not in a place within my life where moving is an option, so I began to look for colleges that offered online degrees. Delightfully, I found Unity through this search! I chose Unity because the five-week sessions work best for my brain and lifestyle. I have taken many classes at a multitude of universities, and I always wished all classes could be like the six-to-eight-week courses that I took over the shorter summer terms. So, I was ecstatic to find out that Unity offered even shorter terms, at just five weeks per class! I also loved, and needed, classes without synchronized meeting times due to my work schedule and other obligations, so after confirming that all Unity classes are taught in an asynchronized format, I was even more eager to enroll in the school.
I am majoring in Animal Health and Behavior, with the hope of working with reptiles and/or as a wildlife rehabilitator in the future. I have had an internship at the Washington Park Zoo in Michigan City, IN, and I fell in love with the reptile care duties. I loved every part of that wonderful facility, but I was especially happy on days that I got paired up with the reptile keeper. Currently, I volunteer at the Burpee Museum of Natural History in Rockford, IL as a reptile caretaker. The museum is roughly a two-hour drive from where I live, so I only volunteer a few times a month, but I am always so happy to do so. I love working with the various reptiles they have there: the different species of geckos, snakes, tegus, bearded dragons, etc. Tegus have become my favorite reptile; I love how they enjoy being held like human babies and how cuddly and social they are!
With my animal training and care class, I loved to learn about enrichment activities the most. I am always looking for ways to enrich the lives of the animals I interact with, in public captivity as well as my own pets. I really enjoyed how the class got to collaborate on the different types of enrichment that were available to different species. I thought it was really cool to see how one enrichment activity for one species could also be used for a completely different one as well! For example, many animals enjoy utilizing puzzle boxes to “find” food, such as big cats, primates, and even octopi!
In addition to this class, for the rest of my education, my only hope is to learn as much as I can about animals, their diets, their behaviors, the outside sources that influence them in various ways, and everything in between so I can utilize all that vital information throughout the rest of my career and life.”
Unity College student Adrienne recently took the Animal Training and Care course at Unity College with Professor Bonnie Gulas-Wroblewski.
“Before attending Unity College, my studies were in digital media and documentary filmmaking at the School of Visual Arts. I never worked in these fields. Before moving to Maine, I was the District Manager of Canine Education for a national pet services chain. I launched puppy, adult dog, tricks, and Canine Good Citizen classes at 12 locations. I also had my own business as a dog behavior consultant.
I am now a “from away” Mainer, born and raised in NYC. I moved here about 4 years ago with my dogs, Peaches, Sophie, and Bruno (and a menagerie of birds – parrots, finches, and a ringneck dove named Jose).
I am doing things a little backward and getting the academic credentials for my field after working in the industry for 30 years. I had always planned to get a Master’s or Ph. D. in Animal Behavior and apply for certification as an applied animal behaviorist with the Animal Behavior Society. The timing of Unity’s online program in animal health and behavior coincided with these goals.
I am earning my B.S. in Animal Health and Behavior. I am hoping that my education will supplement my work experience with academic credentials that will support my goals in the animal behavior field.
I read about Professor Bonnie Gulas-Wroblewski before I registered for the Animal Training and Care course and requested her as an instructor. Her class was filled, however, and I asked to be waitlisted. I was prepared to wait as many semesters as needed to take her class. Fortunately, there was an opening, and I got into her class this past semester. I am so grateful to have had her as a professor. I learned more online than in many traditional classroom situations. Not only was she knowledgeable about animal behavior, but she obviously loves teaching. She engaged with every student on every single discussion post.
In the future, I would love to eventually obtain certification as an applied animal behaviorist with the Animal Behavior Society. I plan to write several books on animal behavior. I would also like to supplement my retirement income with medical and scientific writing.”
Unity College student Brenna recently took the Animal Training & Care course at Unity College with Dr. Kristyn Vitale.
“Before I started at Unity College, I was attending another college but that school wasn’t for me. Many times, my advisor at the previous school would say “oh we don’t have that class this semester, you already missed your chance to take it” or “this class is better for you” even if it was something I didn’t want to take. I was unhappy and not loving the subject matter or each class. For someone like me who wanted to work with exotics, I didn’t think I needed to know everything there was to know about farming and agriculture. I wanted to focus on the subject matter I am passionate about.
I found Unity by searching “zoology degree online” because I knew that my family couldn’t afford out-of-state tuition. I also didn’t want to go anywhere, my parents are very supportive of this lifestyle, and I wouldn’t be where I am today without them. I’m located in a small town called Greenville, Texas. It’s about an hour outside of Dallas and I love it here. I work at the Dallas Zoo, and I travel 3 days a week to work with some amazing people and animals. I get to work with Elephants, Somali Wild Ass, Blue Duikers, Speke’s Gazelle, and Klipspringers. I’ve also gotten to work with Greater Kudu, Giraffe, Zebra (my favorite), Guinea Fowl, and Ostrich.
I am earning my Bachelor’s in Animal Health and Behavior and I hope to learn as much about animals and the world as I can before I settle down and find out what I want to do as a career. I loved the class Animal Care and Training because it directly coincided with what I was doing at the Dallas Zoo. Watching behavior, taking care of animals, feeding, training, and disinfecting their space and areas. I am very aware of animal welfare, different behaviors, and enrichment, due to seeing it at work every day! I loved being able to write my own handbook for my own zoo (this was the course project) because I got to take all my experiences and training from Dallas and input it into my own imaginary zoo.
I have been awarded a second internship at the Dallas Zoo, this time with the Registrar department, so I look forward to seeing how the data and record-keeping side of a Zoo works. I’m also looking forward to different classes at Unity, such as Animal Nutrition, Animal Physiology, and Climate Change. I’m not sure where I’ll go in the future, but I know it will be spectacular, thanks to Unity!”
Unity College student Cory recently took the Animal Training and Care course at Unity College with Professor Gina Caldwell.
“Before starting at Unity, I was working as a receptionist at a veterinary clinic and as a kennel tech and receptionist for a dog trainer. I come from an almost complete work history involving animals, and before moving from California to Maryland, worked as a horse trainer. Once I moved to Maryland, I decided to explore the small animal route and began in veterinary medicine. I am now located in south-central Pennsylvania. After starting my job with the dog training facility, I confirmed that the behavioral sect of the animal world was my preference.
I chose Unity College because it allows me a completely personalized college experience. I earned an associate degree at community college and moved cross country to pursue a Bachelor’s degree in Maryland. I quickly found out that trying to work full-time and get a traditional university education was not doable. I began searching for online schools that allowed me to work around my busy schedule. Unity College was not only the most flexible and affordable option, but it also prioritizes everything I value. I am able to pursue a degree that is practically custom-fit to my career, and its focus on environmental sustainability was incredibly important. There were truly no reasons not to finish my degree here!
I am currently earning a Bachelor’s degree in Animal Health and Behavior. Once I finish my Bachelor’s, I plan to pursue a Master’s degree in the same thing. I have the unique position of entering a field where the majority of professionals do not have college degrees. While I fully agree that hands-on experience is vital to being a successful trainer, science is teaching us many new ways of doing things. I am hoping a formal education will be able to fill the holes personal experience may leave and expand my horizons to better understand and help animals and their people.
My Animal Training and Care class was enlightening. Explanations of behavior and biology were thorough, and I learned more about a lot of technical aspects I was already applying at my job, which helps me to have a more comprehensive understanding and apply them more successfully. My favorite assignment was the course project, which allowed us to design an entire animal care facility of our choice. I have dreamt for many years of opening my own horse training facility, and this project helped me begin to flesh it out in a realistic way. Working under Dr. Caldwell was also wonderful, as she is incredibly knowledgeable and always eager to help. It has, by far, been my favorite class.
My future career goals are not completely set in stone but lie in the realm of animal training. I am not sure if that will end up with horses or dogs (or both!) as both of these fields require quite a lot of opportunity. I am positive that working to teach animals is what I want to do, though, so I know I’ll make it happen in some capacity or another.”
Unity College student Chloe, recently took the Designing Captive Animal Environments course at Unity College with Professor Gina Fisher Caldwell.
“I was struggling with the college experience itself and felt that I needed time away from campus to be able to fix a lot of parts of my life. One major stress was the fact that I still didn’t have my driver’s license and my permit had run out. So I started looking for online programs or just alternatives, in general, to avoid dropping out of school completely. Luckily, I found Unity’s Distance Education and it was the perfect opportunity for me. It allowed me the time I needed to get my license and solve a lot of other issues with my life and mental health. I also was excited at the idea that I could do my work from anywhere and travel more once I got my license. Unity’s classes were exactly what I was looking for. They are more focused on the major than other gen-ed subjects.
Professor Gina Fisher Caldwell was an excellent professor and I cannot speak more highly of her. I was thinking about a career in Zoo Exhibit Design and taking her Designing Captive Animal Environments course helped me get a deeper understanding of what the work would look like. Even out of class when I would email her with questions she happily asked her own mentors who knew more about the subject and how to follow that career path itself. She provided helpful information I should know about before deciding on it.”
Unity College student Summer, recently took the Animal Health and Disease course at Unity College with Professor Amber Ramos.
“Before enrolling at Unity, I had recently been laid off from my position as an assistant retail buyer, due to the pandemic. Instead of seeing it as a setback, though, I used it as an opportunity to pursue a goal I’ve had since childhood, which is to work in endangered species conservation and management with a focus on marine animals. Despite having already graduated from another university, I opted for Unity’s second bachelor’s degree program, majoring in Animal Health and Behavior, since my first degree was in Finance – a completely unrelated, non-scientific field of study.
One of the main reasons I chose Unity is for their remote learning capability which, as a military spouse and mother, offered greater freedom and flexibility to further my education than a traditional, in-person environment could. For instance, when I started at Unity, we were stationed in Honolulu, HI and in the little, over two years it has taken to complete my degree, we have since been relocated to San Antonio, TX. If I had been attending just about any other college, I would have had to transfer schools and potentially lose out on valuable time, credits, and money.
With this second degree, I hope to gain a foundation upon which to build a successful and impactful career in environmental conservation. I just completed ANIM305: Animal Health and Disease with Professor Amber Ramos and, although I’ll admit it wasn’t a requirement I was necessarily looking forward to fulfilling at first, it ended up being my favorite course and instructor of the entire program! The subject matter is all too relatable, especially considering the recent coronavirus pandemic, and the incorporation of social media made the coursework that much more relevant and engaging. However, what I enjoyed most about this class was how the weekly assignments built up to the final project, which significantly alleviated the usual stress associated with the end of a term. Professor Ramos was influential to me because her background is quite similar to what I aspire to be doing someday, and her feedback on my work was very encouraging and uplifting.”
Unity College student Kaitlyn recently took the Animal Training & Care course at Unity College with Dr. Kristyn Vitale.
“My whole life I was always interested in learning about animals, whether I was watching animal planet, visiting the aquarium, or catching small animals and bugs outside. I am now 19 years old, and my passion for animals never faded, and I decided that this was the correct career path for me. I graduated high school early in 2019 and quickly started my college journey at my local community college. I pursued General Studies as I battled between pursuing cosmetology, criminal justice, and zoology. Eventually, I discovered Unity College and I immediately knew that working with animals was what I was meant to do.
Around the same time that I switched to Unity, I also moved across the east coast from Maryland to Florida! I am located in central Florida, and about 20 minutes away from Disney World! Moving here opened up a lot of job opportunities in the zoology field, and attending Unity has helped prepare me for my career. I chose Unity because I was very interested in their programs and the option of 100% distance education. I also loved how their mission and curriculum aligned with my values of protecting our beautiful planet and all life on it.
I am proud to be majoring in Animal Health and Behavior with a double concentration in Marine Biology and Wildlife Ecology! Once I earn my degree I hope to be able to work in the rescue and rehabilitation field, but I am open to any zoological job, and will be grateful to work with any species if given the opportunity!
Animal Training and Care was by far my favorite course that I have taken so far! It helped me further understand animal behavior. I also loved learning about animal welfare, husbandry, and training methods within zoological facilities. I also had so much fun with the course project! Dr. Kristyn Vitale is such a great professor. I really appreciated how she always answered my questions and never hesitated to give me career advice, even after I completed the course!
Unity College student, Peyton, recently took the Animal Training & Care course at Unity College with Professor Kristyn Vitale.
“Before applying and receiving acceptance from Unity College, I was working full-time as a hairstylist. Reading as many books as possible about Animal Science to ensure my Border Collie puppy lived the healthiest as well as the longest life possible. I was not looking to go back to school or for a career change, however, I loved learning more about animal nutrition and behavior.
I started to research careers in these fields and found that Unity offered a concentration degree in both areas. I live in the Eastern Panhandle of West Virginia. After researching Animal Science, I decided to look for colleges that offered online degrees and found Unity. I was especially interested that Unity College is an Environmental College and incorporates that niche in every aspect.
I am majoring in Biomedical Animal Science with a concentration in Animal Nutrition and Behavior. Once I earn my undergraduate degree, I plan to apply to graduate school. Upon acceptance, I plan to further my education to be a part of the American Registry of Professional Animal Scientists (ARPAS). This will allow me to take the board exam for the highest credentials in nutrition as well as behavior. I sincerely enjoyed every aspect of Animal Training and Care, especially learning the foundations of animal behavior, ethics, and care.”
Graduates | Alumni Working in the Field | Current Students | Student Internships & Experiences
Unity College Distance Education student Alison!
Alison recently took the Capstone course at Unity College with Professor Dr. Maurice Testa.
I chose Unity College because of the curriculum. After researching other schools, I was convinced Unity would be the choice of school that would lead me to many future possibilities and aligns with my educational philosophies.
My favorite professor is Dr. Emily Kieson. I can tell she genuinely loves teaching and is passionate about animals; especially horses, just like me. I’ve learned so much from her talks.
My biggest takeaway from education with Unity is how much broader the world is. There is so much to learn. I can think on a larger scope and make decisions based on the education I’ve acquired at Unity College.
Once I graduate, I hope that my Animal Sciences degree will lead me to a happy career with animals, conservation, and new friendships.”
Unity College student, Tiffany recently took the Animal Comparative Physiology course at Unity College with Professor Anoosh Rakhshandeh.
“I have been living in and working for the City of Warren, Michigan, for 7+ years now. I have always wanted to get a degree that allowed me to work with marine animals; but due to my location, I was unable to find a program that allowed me to explore that interest. Luckily, I came across Unity College when scrolling through Facebook and decided to look into your programs.
Unity College was a perfect fit for me. The school offers distance education for many animal-related programs, which has allowed me to explore a couple of different career paths: Animal Trainer/Handler and potential veterinary studies (Animal Science)
I originally applied for the B.S. in Marine Biology, but after taking my first course at Unity (Professional Skills), I changed my major. During that class, we had to create a LinkedIn profile and connect with at least 5 people. I found a marine mammal vet and marine mammal care specialist that I connected with, and they informed me that having a more generalized field of study would open me up to more career options. After speaking with them, I decided it was best to change my degree to B.S. in Animal Health and Behavior.
If it were not for this class at Unity, I would have never applied for or been accepted into an Animal Behaviorist Internship at Island Dolphin Care (IDC) in Key Largo, Florida. At IDC, I assisted in the daily health care and training of 8 Atlantic Bottlenose Dolphins.
In my opinion, what makes the course a positive or negative experience is the teacher. Professor Anoosh Rakhshandeh was very responsive to any questions that were asked. The professor also gave excellent feedback on each assignment and allowed me to correct any mistakes before the final grade. I ended up learning more this way. If I researched the wrong thing, he allowed me to correct it instead of just allowing my grade to take the hit.
I have learned so much from Unity. In my years as a student, no other school has taught me the valuable information that I have learned here. This school really made it worth my while because they didn’t just teach you information that would never be used again.”
Unity College student, Leann recently took the Habitat Management course at Unity College with Professor Christine Parker.
“Before I began classes at Unity, I had obtained an Associates Degree in Early Childhood Education. I was working as an Educational Technician II at the elementary school in my town and working part-time as a Behavioral Health Professional working with a boy with special needs. I began to think about going back to school to earn credits for an Ed Tech III position. The courses did not have to be related to education, so I thought this would be a great time to try a different degree program.
I have always been interested in nature and wildlife, so I searched for a college that offered Wildlife Biology or a similar program. I had actually applied to Unity College when planning to go to college right after high school (I just happened to go in a different direction at that time), so I decided to see what programs are offered. I was pleasantly surprised to find undergraduate programs that were completely online. With online classes, I can continue to work as an Ed Tech III while working towards a career change.
I enrolled in the Wildlife Conservation program, and I have loved it! The classes encourage critical thinking and are relevant for future careers. Material is presented in a variety of ways, such as readings, lectures, and videos. Assignments were also varied. The Habitat Management course provided opportunities to get outside and practice observations and fieldwork.
For my future career, I would like to pursue a career as a wildlife biologist, or something similar.”
Unity College student, William is earning a Bachelor’s in Wildlife Conservation.
“As my time in the Army nears the end, I realized I should do something that I should have done a long time ago, finish my degree. After previously attending another school and realizing it wasn’t for me, I became discouraged and took a long break. After deciding to finish my degree, I started looking at schools.
I’ve always had a passion for the outdoors and nature, which is when Unity caught my eye. Initially, I started studying Marie Biology but later transitioned to Wildlife Conservation as I felt that was a better fit.
There are countless opportunities and support for continuing education in the military, regardless of the branch you serve under. In the beginning, I started using my Post 9/11 G.I. Bill due to COVID shutting my education center down and me being dead set on going to school. I couldn’t wait. I am currently in the process of switching to the Army’s new TA system Army Ignited; there are some hiccups but nothing that the Unity staff cannot assist you with. I am very much looking forward to starting my new life post Army somewhere in the Wildlife Conservation world!”
Unity College student, Emily recently took the Life History and Identification of Birds & Mammals course at Unity College with Professor Sasha Tetzlaff.
“I began looking into Unity College because I needed a career change. I have been working as an artist in an office for four years now and just felt like something was missing. I chose Unity College because of its flexibility and support for working adults. They were the only college to have the major I was looking for available 100% online. Being able to do distance learning was important for me because I am a working mother of two and a wife. I can’t uproot my whole family and their lives just to go to school.
I am majoring in Wildlife Conservation, currently earning my bachelor’s, and hoping to begin schooling for my master’s shortly after graduating. I am hoping to gain some real-world experience through my classes and so far, I have not been disappointed! Every one of my professors has been so extremely helpful and supportive.
I enjoy the projects that get students out of the house and into the field most. Being able to apply what I’ve learned directly to a project by studying my own environment is so helpful and most beneficial for a hands-on learner like myself.
My future career goals are to work directly with wildlife via fieldwork whether it be by tracking, researching, or monitoring, helping to preserve our wildlife is most important in my future career. My end career goal is to have aided in removing at least one species from the endangered species list.”
Unity College student, Katie, recently took the Humans, Parasites, and Wildlife course at Unity College with Professor Megan Linske.
“At the beginning of 2020 I was interested in furthering my education and changing career professions. I work for a biotech company but felt I wanted to do something different. I have always been interested in science especially the relationship between wildlife and their ecosystem.
I researched top environmental colleges. Unity College was one of the top listed colleges and fit what I was looking for in a college. Their five-week terms fit perfectly into my schedule, I could continue to work while I work on my degree.
I recently took Humans, Parasites, and Wildlife: Impact of Insets on Wildlife with Dr. Megan Linske. I found the course enjoyable and practical for my major. Dr. Linske provided me with a plethora of resources throughout the term. Not only were the resources applicable to the course but they will benefit me after completing a B.S in Wildlife Conservation.
After my Bachelor’s, I plan to continue to earn a master’s degree in Wildlife Conservation and Management at Unity College with the hopes of working for the Bureau of Land Management (BLM) or with the endangered species the Mojave Desert Tortoise.”
Unity College student, Michael, recently took the Organisms that Sustain the Earth course at Unity College with Professor Robert Carter.
“Prior to attending Unity, I was working full time at Newport News Shipbuilding. I had attended college right out of high school but was unsuccessful because the university I was attending did not offer any programs I was truly interested in and the traditional classroom style did not suit my learning style.
As a kid, I wanted to be a park ranger. I spent my childhood roaming around the wilderness, sifting through creeks catching salamanders and crawfish, and reading a magazine called Zoobooks.
I began researching colleges that offered programs geared around the environment and animals. I also had to figure out how to take classes while working full time to continue supporting my wife, Casey, and our pugs, Obi and Biscuit. Unity College Distance Education offered an undergraduate program in wildlife conservation. It was perfect.
The classes allow me to work at my own pace and learn the material in a way that works for me. Having attended traditional college courses prior to Unity, I prefer the structure of these classes. I have never been successful at retaining knowledge from listening to long lectures and taking notes. Here I can read, watch videos, interact with students and the professor to excel through the class. I also enjoyed having relevant material that applies to the real world and a teacher who is a knowledgeable and working professional. Dr. Carter was great and gave me suggestions on books and materials to continue my studies after the class was over.
Going forward, I am hoping to gain experience and skills through my education to move into a career with the Virginia Department of Wildlife Resources. So far, I have already been able to apply what I learned at Unity through local volunteer programs such as hunter safety education and the complementary workforce which has allowed me to work with the local fishery biologist. Unity has been an amazing experience and has helped set me up to achieve these goals.”
Unity College student, Dylan, recently took the Humans, Parasites, & Wildlife course at Unity College with Professor Megan Linske.
“Before I started at Unity College, I graduated from Tidewater Community College in 2019 with my Associate of Science degree. By the time I finished with that degree, I knew that I wanted to pursue an environmental field degree. Being in Virginia, I originally started a semester in the Spring of 2020 at Longwood University for Environmental Science. However, soon I discovered that this program was not the right fit for me. After the pandemic hit and I realized I needed to start with an online program, I discovered Unity College.
Currently, I am a senior completing my Bachelor’s degree in Environmental Studies with a concentration in Wildlife Conservation.
Big takeaways that I have learned in this course are how connected diseases are to both wildlife and humans, and how important it is that we come up with ways to mitigate these diseases and protect all living things that make up our ecosystem. It further drove my interest in wanting to work with wildlife and help them. I was able to understand the material through the Distance Education program with all of the easily accessible learning materials and resources that are available with each class.
After discovering that I learn better virtually rather than in person, Unity College gave me back the academic confidence that I had lost and helped me figure out exactly what I want to do with my life.
What I am hoping to get out of my education is the necessary skills and knowledge that I need to become successful in my dreams of saving endangered wildlife species and habitat conservation. I want to go on to graduate school and complete my Master’s in Environmental Studies, and eventually become a Wildlife Manager.”
Unity College student Michael recently took the Life History and Identification of Birds & Mammals course at Unity College with Professor Sasha Tetzlaff.
“Currently, I am within my final year at Unity as a Wildlife Conservation major and have thoroughly enjoyed every minute of it. I recently finished WCON 303: Life History and Identification of Birds & Mammals which was a blast to take. The course work here at Unity does a great job of building on itself as the term continues. In this course I was able to apply prior knowledge while learning a great deal about the life history of birds and mammals. We also completed a portfolio on animal species within the Greater Yellowstone Ecosystem which was a lot of fun to complete. The coursework of this class, and the others I have taken, has done a great job of setting me up for a career in Wildlife Conservation.
After graduating I plan to begin a career with the Virginia Department of Wildlife Resources in wildlife management or biology. I currently do a lot of volunteer work for the DWR in hunters safety education, complimentary work force, and being a hunting mentor. Working on this major has allowed me to carry on educated conversations with wildlife professionals through volunteering. If you enjoy the outdoors and want to spend your life working as an environmental professional, I highly suggest looking into Unity College.”
Unity College student Laura recently took the Life History and Identification of Birds & Mammals course at Unity College with Professor Sasha Tetzlaff.
“Before I started at Unity College I was completing a 20-month world tour. I had been a Registered Veterinary Technician for over 13 years and was introduced to wildlife conservation while working as the hospital manager at The Columbus Zoo and Aquarium. In 2016, a visiting veterinarian from Rwanda shared with our staff his mission to end the illegal poaching of endangered grey-crowned cranes in his country. Since then his non-profit, Rwanda Wildlife Conservation Association, has grown significantly, and their amazing efforts have been internationally recognized. I have been supporting the project hands-on through three conservation grants and have raised funds through multiple fundraisers and major donations to support their mission. My involvement in the project has catapulted my interest in wildlife conservation.
I currently live in Ohio in proximity to a magical place called The Wilds, which comprises nearly 10,000 acres of reclaimed mine land in rural southeastern Ohio and is a non-profit conservation center.
I chose Unity College to become a grounded and skilled wildlife biologist through the online Bachelor’s Wildlife Conservation degree program. Unity College accepted transfer credits from my AAS coursework and credit hours from additional undergraduate classes. I was confident I could complete my Bachelor’s degree on my own time while continuing to work.
I have gained valuable research, writing, communication, and biology skills I need to pursue my goals. I am determined to obtain the knowledge I need in order to devote my energy to preserving biodiversity and conserving wildlife.
I really like the format of the 5-week terms that focus on a course project allowing students to put to use skills learned throughout the class. Course projects allow students to compile and work with real-world data preparing us for the field.
I plan to secure an internship before pursuing a related Master’s degree after graduation. My experience is with endangered species and I plan to continue supporting them by working internationally with in-situ wildlife conservation projects.”
Unity College student Amanda recently took the Wildlife Conservation Genetics course at Unity College with Professor Louisa Collins.
“I live in southern New Hampshire. Before starting at Unity College, I attended a local private college but quickly realized it wasn’t for me. I searched for online schools when I found Unity. I love the flexibility and independence that online learning gives me; I can learn when and where I want to. I can even take school outside! I am an undergrad majoring in Wildlife Conservation, although I have discovered throughout my time at Unity that I have a newfound passion for ecology and environmental science in general.
What I want from my education is to explore different areas of environmental science. I want to learn as much as I can and soak it all up like a sponge. I want to learn how I can use my passion and my knowledge to make the Earth a better, cleaner, safer place for people and wildlife. I have changed my mind about future careers many times and have come to the conclusion that I just want to be outside.
I really enjoyed the wildlife conservation genetics class – more than I thought I would (and I was excited about it before I started). I found it interesting how deeply genetics affects whole ecosystems. I guess everything has ripple effects throughout the universe. I am always fascinated by the way the smallest parts of nature can have such a big impact; tiny nucleotides come together to become the blueprint for an organism, which will act on an ecosystem, impacting living (and nonliving) beings all around. It reminds me that the small things in life matter.”
Unity College student Kristina recently took the Humans, Parasites & Wildlife course at Unity College with Professor Megan Linske.
“Prior to starting at Unity, I was a stay-at-home mom for many years. Once my kids got a bit older, I reentered the workforce in several fields such as retail and office administration. I quickly realized sitting behind a desk staring at a computer for most of the day wasn’t for me. I decided it was a good time to finish my degree online when the pandemic started. I am currently located in Windsor, Maine after moving here from Cheyenne, Wyoming.
I chose Unity because of the distance education option, the availability and diversity of environmental studies choices, and the Wildlife Conservation program, which I am currently nearing completion.
I hope to gain more knowledge about terrestrial and aquatic wildlife and the ways in which I can help them sustain for future generations. I want to use what I have learned to practice in the field to protect and conserve our wildlife and their habitats.
What I liked most about the Humans, Parasites, and Wildlife course was learning about the various vectors that cause such widespread diseases among humans and wildlife. The instructor, Dr. Megan Linske, is an extraordinary resource for questions relating to the course content as she is incredibly knowledgeable in the field. She was always available for questions and responded quickly with detailed information in an easily understandable way.
My future goals are to expand my understanding of local wildlife and their habitats and get hands-on experience to further my knowledge to then be able to educate others. I would love to do a little bit of everything in the conservation field to learn as much as I can so I can be an advocate for our wildlife’s current and future protection and preservation.”
Unity College student Samantha recently took the Wildlife Conservation Genetics course at Unity College with Professor Louisa Collins.
“Before I started at Unity, I honestly felt lost. I had just graduated from my local community college with my Associate’s degree in Environmental Biology and was not sure where to go from there. Once the Covid-19 pandemic started, I felt secluded in my hometown with no clear path for me to take until I found Unity College. Right now, I am in a small town in East Tennessee, known as Wartburg.
I chose Unity because I knew I belonged. The entire process from beginning to end has been an absolute thrill and pleasure. Every single professional and person I have met at Unity has been so kind and helpful to me during my education there. I longed for a place that was specific for what I wanted to do and after stumbling across Unity, I knew that was my new path out.
I am earning my Bachelor’s degree in Wildlife Conservation. Although I am a Distance Education student, many of my classes here at Unity have challenged me to get out into nature to learn and explore. The experience in combination with the knowledge that I am getting, will give me what I want out of my education along with so much more.
The Wildlife Conservation Genetics course was a hard one for sure. I think that many people believe that just because it is online, it must be easy. Wrong! This class challenged me to connect my biology background to the conservation aspect I have been learning over the past year. It was like everything clicked into place for me. What I enjoyed most about this class was how challenging yet interesting it was. The constant contact between my peers, my professor, and me made it that much more fulfilling.
My future career goals include becoming a park ranger and really making a difference in the conservation community. Even within my own small town, I have seen a lack of attention towards our parks and reserves, which are so beautiful and deserve so much more. Conserving and protecting the wildlife and their environment is of utmost importance to me now and during my career!”
Graduates | Alumni Working in the Field | Current Students | Student Internships & Experiences
Environmental Health and Safety
Unity College student Tyler recently took the Planning & Responding to Disasters course at Unity College with Professor Ali Shah.
“My name is Tyler McKay and I live in Massachusetts. I have always dreamt of becoming an Environmental Police Officer. Ever since a young age, my passion has been to serve my community by aiding efforts to protect and preserve our landscape and wildlife. I currently work for the Department of Natural Resources while simultaneously working to earn my degree.
During my freshman year of high school, I went to a college expo at a neighboring school. To which I had stumbled upon the Unity College desk. When I had received the brochure and read through it, I knew right at that moment that Unity was the place to be.
Distance Education has provided me opportunity and flexibility with earning my degree. Once adjusted to the schedule and curriculum, I found it easy to complete assignments, work with the amazing professors and learn the material. The Unity College staff are some of the most helpful, personable, and down-to-earth individuals I have ever met. It is clear that their goal is to see their students succeed. Their willingness to spend 1 on 1 time with you, and make sure you leave with no question unanswered has been phenomenal.”
Unity College student Jakob recently took the Environmental Remediation & Toxicology course at Unity College with Professor Danielle Reid.
“I continue to be impressed with the content and rigor of the courses offered by Unity. One such example is Environmental Remediation & Toxicology. In this class, students had to research both past and current events of environmental contaminants and clean-up, and the final project was to refine an already existing plan for a clean-up site. I took an interest in this class because contamination is a major issue facing the environment today. I chose a clean-up site close to my home in Massachusetts. I did an extensive amount of research on the site and its major contaminants, looked over its current plan, and eventually made my own plan for this site. My plan focussed on how the contaminants react, and how to keep them from spreading and causing more damage. I determined that once the contaminants were halted and properly disposed of, the area could be reconstructed for more suitable purposes. This class, like all my Distance Education classes, provided me with new knowledge, more opportunities for research, and a deeper understanding of environmental issues and their impacts. I fully intend to use what I learned from this course in the future.”
Unity College student William recently took the Planning & Responding to Disasters course at Unity College with Professor Ali Shah.
“I chose to attend Unity College because I was looking for a college that was not only affordable, but also offered a degree that would prepare me for a career as a Park Ranger.
What I enjoyed most about Planning & Responding to Disasters was the time I was given to really grasp the content of the course. The professor, Ali Shah, incorporated a method that is rather rare to see in a course; every time we finished an assignment that built up to our course project, we were allowed to go back and look at our mistakes while appropriately correcting them to demonstrate our understanding. The “one and done” method of grading an assignment can be frustrating because while a teacher may provide you with the information regarding what you missed, it ultimately equivocates to nothing if the student has no opportunity to improve.
My future career goals are to ope day have the opportunity to work for FEMA and to one day work overseas in Japan as a park ranger.”
Graduates | Alumni Working in the Field | Current Students | Student Internships & Experiences
Environmental Science and Climate Change
Unity College student, Liz recently took the Ecological Principles: Application to Conservation course at Unity College with Professor Diana Townsend.
“I’m an Animal Health and Behavior major, working on a second Bachelor’s degree. I’m contemplating getting my Master’s from Unity in Animal Science and Behavior, with Feline and Canine Health as my focus. I’m hoping to gain a foundation in animal health and behavior that will prepare me to manage an animal shelter or a vet’s office.
I’m a non-traditional student! I taught elementary school for 14 years. When enrollment went down, I was laid off. Moving wasn’t an option, so I went back to school for my LPN. I’ve been working as a nurse for 11 years. I have always wanted to work with animals, especially cats and dogs.
I live in a very rural area of the Upper Peninsula of Michigan. There are not a lot of educational opportunities. Unity had the only online program in Animal Health and Behavior. It was exactly what I was looking for!
The Ecology Class was required for my major. I enjoyed the weekly projects which required me to go out into the field. In this way, I practiced using the scientific method, practiced using calculations ecologists use, and learned more about my environment. I always enjoy doing video presentations and PowerPoints!
This was the second class I had with Dr. Townsend and she was great! She answers questions in a timely manner, grades assignments fairly and quickly, and met with me in a previous class via Zoom when I needed some guidance on a project. She also interacts in class discussions and strives to develop a rapport with students.”
Graduates | Alumni Working in the Field | Current Students | Student Internships & Experiences
Marine Biology and Sustainable Aquaculture
Unity College student, Erin, took the Freshwater & Marine Resources course with Professor Amanda Moeser.
“I love taking classes with Unity College because the online format allows me to continue to work while I go to school. The classes are engaging, and the professors are always easily reachable if I have questions about the coursework.
I have always had a passion for caring for those that are unable to care for themselves. Through my studies at Unity College, I am learning that by working towards saving our ocean’s ecosystems we can not only save our ocean friends and their environment but also provide small coastal communities with food security.
It is my dream to be a tropical marine ecologist working with small coastal communities to help restore reef systems so that animals and humans can thrive. I believe the education that I gain from Unity College will be fundamental in helping me save as much of the ocean as I can.”
Unity College student, Courtney, recently took the Form and Function of Unique Marine Ecosystems course at Unity College with Professor Tanya Lubansky and the Animal Nutrition course with Professor Anooshrokh Rakhshandeh.
“I am majoring in Marine Biology & Sustainable Aquaculture with a concentration in Animal Health & Behavior and plan to graduate in December 2022.
I started my college career back in 2014 at CSULB and attended classes there for almost three years, but life happened, and I was no longer in a situation where I wanted to participate in college. While attending CSULB, I volunteered at the Aquarium of the Pacific as a Husbandry Volunteer for about a year. That is where I got the aquarist bug. With that experience and working at pet stores in the aquarium section, I was able to get a paid aquarist position at SeaWorld San Diego. My favorite animals that I got to work with are sharks, octopuses, and sea turtles. The three years that I worked there taught me so much and made me realize that I wanted to go back to school to better understand the aquarium world so that I could be a better aquarist. That is when I found Unity! I love how the school is structured so much that I decided to leave my past job to dedicate my time to school and finish faster by taking two classes at once.
My favorite classes so far have been Unique Marine Ecosystems with Professor Tanya Lubansky and Animal Nutrition with Professor Anooshrokh Rakhshandeh. In Unique Marine Ecosystems, we studied unique marine ecosystems around the world and how the organisms within them interact, and I believe that it strengthened my knowledge of caring for them in an aquarium setting.
In Animal Nutrition, we learned about animal nutrition, an essential aspect of caring for animals in all zoological settings. It allowed me to understand why animals need a complex diet to grow and maintain their health.
I love that both classes were directly applicable to my desired field. I look forward to using all of my knowledge from Unity to help me excel and be an inspirational leader in a future dedicated to caring for exotic marine species.“
Unity College student, Jayne, recently took the Marine Mammal and Seabird Biology course at Unity College with Professor Jessica Herboth.
“It was March 2020, when the future seemed painfully uncertain, that I decided it was the perfect time to go back to school. I signed up for Unity’s online Environmental Studies program to complete my Bachelor’s degree, and I am so thrilled I did. Back then, I had little direction or idea of what I wanted to pursue but knew that higher education could only better serve my future self. So, I jumped in, open to learning and exploring as much as possible to see what lit a spark in me. Along the way, I have explored various facets of the environmental world, such as environmental justice and environmental education. I am veering into the education field, after working this past summer as a naturalist and educator for The Wetlands Institute. I find fulfillment in getting the younger generations excited about nature and facilitating a connection to the outdoors.
I live in northern Vermont, in a small town. Although, I grew up at the beach in Southern New Jersey, where I still return to when I can. I have a deep love for wetlands and the animals that inhabit them, specifically the Osprey. I signed up for Marine Mammal & Seabird Bio as an elective to enjoy over the summer term while I was working in New Jersey. It was a fascinating class, which I particularly enjoyed due to the interactive sea bird activities on Mount Desert Island. I felt like a real biologist and hope to turn that virtual experience into a life experience someday!”
Unity College student, Barbara, recently took the Marine Mammal and Seabird Biology course at Unity College with Professor Jessica Herboth.
“Before starting at Unity, I graduated with a degree in Asian studies at another college. I was looking for more opportunities, so I decided to explore the world of marine biology. I am located in Miami, Florida. I am earning a B.S. in Marine Biology and Sustainable Aquaculture at Unity College.
I chose Unity College because the Marine Biology and Sustainable Aquaculture program really interested me and aligned with my passions! I had learned the basics of marine biology from prior coursework at another college, but wanted to learn more in-depth information. In other marine biology classes I had taken before starting my journey at Unity, it felt like a lot of my classmates were just there to satisfy elective requirements, and didn’t have the same passion and enthusiasm you see among the students at Unity. At Unity, the instructors and students both care a lot about the same things I care about, like protecting marine life, taking steps to save the environment, and making the planet a better and more eco-friendly place. Every time I take a new class at Unity, I feel like I am definitely in the right place. I’m surrounded by people with the same goals and passions, and feel so inspired by everyone I meet!
My main interest is in animals, I wanted to take classes related to learning more about them. I was also interested in learning more about sustainable aquaculture. Fish and other forms of aquatic life make up a big part of our daily lives, from choosing what food products to buy to maintaining a pond or aquarium at home. Overall, I wanted to be able to specialize in a field that constantly fascinates me with all the new discoveries we are making, from new deep-sea species to future solutions to environmental issues such as overfishing and pollution. These are important topics that will continue to be relevant in the future.
From my education, I am hoping to gain a well-rounded knowledge of all things related to marine biology and what we can do to protect the ocean and all the life it contains. In particular, I want to gain knowledge on different animal species, and what important role each animal plays in the marine ecosystem.
The thing I liked most about the class was learning about how humans impact animals and the environment in ways I was not aware of before. The class was about marine mammals and seabirds, so I learned about the effects that humans have on them. For example, climate change impacts their habitats, putting many important species in danger of extinction. There is also the threat of noise pollution from human activity, such as transportation vessels or off-shore construction projects, which disrupts communication and other behaviors of marine animals.
Right now, using the knowledge I have gained from my courses at Unity College, I have become really involved in raising environmental awareness. Being at Unity College inspired me to join the Climate Reality Leadership Corps, which educates others about climate change. Climate change is an important issue in marine biology because climate change can raise ocean temperatures, decrease sea ice, and alter circulation. In addition to the Climate Reality Project, I have also joined some local organizations dedicated to climate awareness and education. I am interested in a career where I can use what I learned in my classes to build a more sustainable future. The class greatly enhanced my communication skills through the use of discussion boards and presentations, so I plan on using these skills to communicate ideas about climate change and protecting animals in a future career.“
Unity College student Beverley recently took the Form and Function of Unique Marine Ecosystems course at Unity College with Professor Tanya Lubansky.
“My name is Beverley Husted. I am earning my degree in Marine Biology at Unity College. I honestly had no intentions of going to college for a degree; I merely wanted to obtain information that I could use for personal hobbies. I am in Northern Michigan, surrounded by water, and am interested in water quality.
I am a mother of three and a spouse to a retired veteran. I chose Unity because my husband saw the college offering online courses for Marine Biology. I couldn’t apply fast enough. I wanted to continue learning everything and anything possible about aquatic habitats and water quality.
I recently took the Form and Function of Unique Marine Ecosystems course. I have had some of the most amazing teachers who do a great job of relaying information. In this course, my professor Dr. Tanya Lubansky somehow left a significant impression on me from how she taught the course. She took the time to make personal videos that make the online experience more one-on-one. When we take online courses, it sometimes feels like you’re one of many students and that all you must do is check the boxes, and you will pass. However, here at Unity, that is not the case in any of the classes, especially in this class.
Dr. Tanya Lubansky’s teaching made me want to further my efforts of obtaining information. I had a separate notepad of terms she used that I wanted to keep for future use. On top of learning about unique marine ecosystems in the course, I was also researching terms on the side because I had never heard someone speak with such a vast biology vocabulary, and I want to sound as intelligent as Dr. Lubansky when I talk. I could only hope to be someday as great as all the instructors I have had thus far, whether by teaching others or simply by having someone look up to me the way I look up to all my previous instructors. What an experience Dr. Tanya Lubansky has given me!
Whenever I think back about where I have come from and where I will end up, I can’t seem to hold back emotions because I am so grateful for this college. This college teaches so much more than just information from a book. It somehow prepares you for more if you put in the work; you will walk away from this college with the knowledge you gained without knowing. There are times I sit back and ponder when and how I learned something without being taught in person. Something as simple as how to research and relay information is so useful. Somehow, you know how something is supposed to sound depending on the target audience you’re trying to reach. I don’t remember ever being taught this before.”
Unity College student Piper recently took the Marine Mammal & Seabird Biology course at Unity College with Professor Tanya Lubansky.
“For two years, I was working almost exclusively in animal care, I realized that maybe pursuing my childhood dream of becoming a zookeeper was my best shot at happiness. I saw Unity’s distance education program in Animal Health and Behavior back in 2019 and immediately requested more information. The process was smooth, the people were wonderful, and all of my core classes from my previous schooling transferred without a hitch.
The biggest reason I chose Unity is flexibility. I wanted to be able to pursue my career and move wherever I needed to while still attending college. While I currently live in New Jersey, I’ve lived in 3 different states over the course of my degree so far. I completed my zookeeping internship, got my first seasonal position, and moved halfway across the country for my first permanent position without ever having to put a pause on my degree. Having a school that travels with me has allowed me more opportunities than I could’ve possibly imagined.
The Marine Mammal & Seabird Biology course has been one of my favorite classes I’ve taken at Unity. While it isn’t required for my degree, I chose it as one of my electives. I’ve always been fascinated by the ocean and the animals that rely on it to survive. Also, you can’t always predict what animals you’ll be working with as a zookeeper, so I wanted to broaden my knowledge in the event that I work with them. Our professor, Tanya Lubanski, was fantastic. She made even the most difficult assignments a blast and was always there to answer questions or talk more about the material.
My favorite part of the course was just how interactive it was. Many online schools are missing the core element of interactivity in their curriculum, but Unity College always goes out of its way to immerse its students in what they’re studying. In this class, for example, we had multiple XR experiences that really made you feel like you were doing something hands-on. That level of interaction can really make a difference.”
Unity College student Whitney recently took the Marine Mammal & Seabird Biology course at Unity College with Professor Tanya Lubansky.
“Recently I took the Marine Mammal and Seabird Biology course through Distance Education at Unity. In this course, we used new immersive experiences to learn the course material, which truly helped me in understanding the material each week. Using the virtual reality technology, I learned; how to identify different whale species from a ship, how to perform ethograms on real nesting seabird colonies, and how to make phylogenic trees comparing different marine species to one another. Although marine species are not necessarily what I want to work with in the future, this class has provided me with skills that I can take anywhere in the animal care field.
My career goals surround working with and caring for large land mammal species at a zoological facility or sanctuary in the near future.”
Unity College student Amber recently took the Introduction to Oceanography course at Unity College with Professor Christiana Wittmaack.
“My name is Amber Cooley, I reside in St. Louis, Missouri. I currently work as an electric and appliance coordinator for a home service company. From a young age, I’ve known I wanted to work with animals. As a child, I would save worms from hot sidewalks and through my adulthood, I’ve rescued many species from dangerous and/or harmful circumstances.
I’m going on my second year at Unity College, and I couldn’t be happier with my decision to enroll here. I chose Unity because of the flexibility; I’m still able to work my full-time “9-5” job and volunteer, all while attending classes. I’m earning my Bachelor of Science in Animal Health and Behavior with a concentration in Marine Biology and Sustainable Aquaculture.
I recently took Introduction to Oceanography. Our ocean is a major contributor to global climate patterns, and I truly believe anyone in any field would benefit from this course. If you’ve ever stood on a beach, gazed out into the ocean, and wondered, “what’s out there?”, this course is for you. I learned everything from the effects of plate tectonics at the seafloor to the primary producers near the surface, and everything in between.
I currently volunteer at an animal sanctuary and a wildlife rescue/rehabilitation center. I’ve already been able to utilize my knowledge from previous classes with these organizations! My goal is to eventually establish my own animal sanctuary, and rescue/rehabilitate sea life. It’s been my dream since childhood to work with sea lions, sea turtles, dolphins, rays, etc. Although, rescuing and rehabilitating any species is a win in my book.”
Unity College student Rachel recently took the Form and Function of Unique Marine Ecosystems course at Unity College with Professor Tanya Lubansky.
“Before starting Unity, I had been in the beauty industry for a couple of years. I knew it wasn’t something I was passionate about and felt stuck in a career I didn’t love. I had dreams of working in the ocean and going to college to study Marine Biology, but I thought it was impossible. I graduated high school with no knowledge of how secondary education worked, didn’t know the application process, or where to even look. During the covid-19 lockdown, I was scrolling through Facebook and came across a Unity College ad. Right then and there, I took the leap of faith and applied!
I chose Unity for their Distance Education option (since I live in Connecticut), their flexibility with my work schedule, the affordable tuition, and the fact that the school’s mission aligns with my personal values about our beautiful planet. I am proud to major in Marine Biology and Sustainable Aquaculture thanks to Unity.
I’ve gained so much knowledge, understanding, and skills from my education. What I loved most about this class was the immersive experience from the learning material to the course project, I felt like I was actually an NOAA intern. It was an incredible feeling, and I want to give a huge thank you to Professor Lubansky for being so kind and helpful during those 5 weeks!
When I graduate, I plan to go back to school with Unity as a graduate student for Environmental Science! I have many future career goals, including doing deep-sea research expeditions, working for NOAA, or becoming a science educator since I now have the pleasure of working
with elementary students!”
Unity College student Cherie recently took the Form and Function of Unique Marine Ecosystems course at Unity College with Tanya Lubansky.
“I’ve been attending Unity since January 2022, before this, I was attending a traditional four-year university. I chose Unity because it saved me roughly fifteen thousand dollars compared to the school I was already attending for the same degree. Unity’s class set-ups also provide me with a flexible schedule so that I can work and support myself while still earning my degree.
I’m currently located in Colorado and am earning my Bachelor’s in Marine Biology and Sustainable Aquaculture. With this education, I’m hoping to better understand our oceans, the life they hold, our influence on them, the different ecosystems within them, and the varying processes they undergo. With this degree, I plan on either a career working out in the field as a scientist or working in a fishery. I want to work with fish because they absolutely fascinate me, and I want to have an impact on them and their habitats.
Form & Function of Unique Marine Ecology was one of the most in-depth and fascinating classes I have taken so far! This class covered the dynamics in marine communities, patterns in marine diversity, nearshore ecosystems, offshore ecosystems, and human impact on marine systems. I loved how the class structure was set up because, while it provided plenty of wiggle room, the due dates and assignments provided ample interaction and involvement opportunities with my fellow peers and teacher. It encouraged learning in a timely manner and allowed me the freedom to ask any questions I had in a judgment-free environment. My favorite part of the class was learning about the deep sea, the unique yet bizarre creatures that live there, and how they manage to survive in such extreme conditions.
I love attending Unity, and it finally feels like I’m learning without being burnt out or overwhelmed. The structure of classes and learning is unique yet refreshing, and I recommend this school to anyone who wants a great school to attend that is affordable and cares about you!”
Unity College student Peyton recently took the Form and Function of Unique Marine Ecosystems course at Unity College with Professor Tanya Lubansky.
“I currently am working towards a Concentration in Marine Biology. I recently took Form and Function of Unique Marine Ecosystems with Dr. Tanya Lubansky. I was extremely nervous about this class because it was the first marine biology course of my concentration. Dr. Lubansky cleared up all the questions that I had throughout the course and remained extremely active throughout the semester both by emailing and moderating the discussions. The course material was so interesting and was all new to me. I truly would not have wanted a different professor for this course because Dr. Lubansky made it so incredibly fun!”
Unity College student Deanna recently took the Sea Turtle Rehabilitation course at Unity College with Professor Maximilian Polyak.
“Before Unity College, I graduated from Western Michigan University in 2000 with my first Bachelor’s degree in Criminal Justice and a minor in Sociology. I worked for the DNR until I severely injured my knee. After reconstructive surgery, I went to work in customer service in insurance, and sales in manufacturing. I am currently working full-time as an inside sales rep for a worldwide hose manufacturer. During this time, I was a divorced, single mom to a kiddo who is now 19!
I chose Unity College because their distance learning allowed me to study my area of interest without having to physically attend classes or be on the ocean. Also, while the online classes were new to me, as this was not an option back when I received my first degree, I love the flexibility. I can work during the day and come home at night and do classwork. I am earning my Bachelor’s degree in Marine Biology and Sustainable Aquaculture.
During this class I set up a sea turtle hospital, using the different programs to place tanks, medical rooms, as well as a large tank for non-releasable turtles. I also enjoyed doing the drawings of the internal features of the turtle. I knew quite a bit about turtles as they are such a passion of mine, but our professor is a sea turtle vet, so we were able to see real photos and videos of procedures that were being done. This class exceeded my expectations, and only served to solidify that caring for these turtles is an important part of who I want to be.
My future goals are to become a sea turtle rehabilitation specialist. I have always loved turtles. I want to work to rehab and release them so that they can continue to increase their population.”
Unity College student Johanna recently took the Sea Turtle Rehabilitation course at Unity College with Professor Maximilian Polyak.
“My name is Johanna Nyman, and I am working towards a B.S in Captive Wildlife Care. I live in Winchendon, Massachusetts where I have lived my whole life with my mother and twin sister.
Before I came to Unity I was homeschooled by my mother and took other classes online. Being homeschooled allowed me to have great opportunities. I was able to pursue my personal interests and attend different camps and programs. Through Mass Audubon, I was able to complete the Field Naturalist and Birders certification programs. I have also volunteered at an exotic zoo and rescue. Being in these programs helped me narrow down my career path, as well as learn about new careers I would not have known about otherwise. I was also able to take my work on the road as we traveled. Vacation stops would include zoos and aquariums that were fun and educational.
I learned about Unity College from Flavio Sutti, leader of the Wildlife Biologist Club at Mass Audubon. I had shared that it was hard to find a school that taught environmental issues without waiting a few years and learning unrelated topics. He told me about Unity because he has gotten many interns from Unity for the Wildlife Care center. Unity has the flexibility I need with my schedule and courses on the topics I want to learn.
My favorite thing about this class was how the professor had us do most of the research on our own which is important in this career field. It helped me understand the information better and feel like I was actually preparing to start my own rehabilitation center, although I was only making a website for the finals. The professor was incredibly involved and gave great feedback and additional information about sea turtles. One of my favorite announcements was when he shared a video of a sea turtle from his most recent dive and had us practice identifying in the field for fun. It was an excellent class with an exceptional professor. I hope to someday work with him if our paths meet.”
Unity College student Courtney recently took the Introduction to Oceanography course at Unity College with Professor Christiana Kumar.
“My name is Courtney Hallmark and I live in Birmingham, Alabama. I am currently enrolled in my second year of Distance Education at Unity College. I was so relieved to find a way to chase my lifelong dream and further my education completely online. I have 3 kids under 5 years old, so the thought of going back to school was something I had given up on until I found Unity College’s online program. I’m now able to continue being a stay-at-home mom, work a part-time job, and be a full-time student.
I am majoring in Marine Biology & Sustainable Aquaculture with concentrations in Emergency Disaster Management, Environmental Justice & Social Change, and Wildlife Ecology. My goal is to research ocean acidification in the Gulf of Mexico and become an advocate for the diverse marine ecosystems in the waterways of the state of Alabama. I’m also looking forward to periodically traveling to study families of humpback whales along the west coast of the United States.
I recently completed the Introduction to Oceanography course. I was so excited that my professor, Christiana Kumar, was so knowledgeable in the subject as well as having experience working with marine mammals. The professors I’ve had in Unity’s Distance Education program are so beneficial to my learning experience and have a huge impact on the confidence I have in reaching my career goals.”
Unity College student Sarah recently took the Ichthyology and Fish Health course at Unity College with Professor Neysa Foy Gabriel.
“Prior to Unity, I was in uncertain times. I lost my job due to Covid and I was a stay-at-home mom at the moment. I decided during this time that I wanted to pursue my dream of becoming a Marine Biologist as it was always a passion.
I decided to enroll at Unity College because I loved the flexibility and the courses are asynchronous. As a mom of a 5 and 4-year-old, flexibility and being online was a MUST. While I was a little nervous about it being online for Marine Biology, I read reviews that eased my mind, and now being in a year they were all true. Now I work full time, am a mom, and do all my assignments, honestly, it’s a lot of work but very rewarding and not as hard as I thought it would be.
When I was younger, I was lucky to get Cs in sciences and became very discouraged from doing Marine Biology so I went to college back then for Tourism. Now I have been encouraged by my husband, children, family, and friends to take on this new journey. I am hoping to get out of this at the top of my class and prove to my younger self that nothing is ever impossible. Currently, I am succeeding with this. I am also just taking in all the wisdom that my professors are teaching us for real-life experience.
The best part of this class was even though it’s online, I loved that this course was hands-on. We got to dissect a fish during this class and I found it very fascinating. Being able to do something that in-class students would typically do made me super excited. Also, I appreciated how encouraging and helpful Professor Gabriel was.
After graduating, I am between wanting to work with Coral Restoration, Shark & predators, and/or something in helping educate and spread awareness to others (which I already do!). With each course I have taken my passion has gotten stronger.”
Unity College student Paige, recently took the Introduction to Oceanography course at Unity College with Professor Christiana Kumar.
“After being in the medical field as an emergency room tech for many years and doing nursing school, I decided that this wasn’t the path for me. I headed back to Florida for the ocean, where I was born and raised. I earned my scuba diving instructor certification while working in retail. I got a job at my locate Department of Health as a Biological Scientist and this gave me the time and income to go back to school and so I did, immediately. I saw an ad for Unity College one day and looked into it as I was a semester away from getting my AA and did not like my school options for marine biology here. Unity looked too good to be true. All of the classes focused on what I actually wanted to learn rather than filler science classes that would not apply to what I want to do. I requested information from the school. This was over winter break and by the end of the week I was enrolled and started that first semester in January.
I still wanted to get my AA at my previous school and finish a few prerequisites there so I somehow managed to take a total of 9 classes between January and June, all while working which is necessary for me, thanks to the help Unity gave me. I am Majoring in Marine Biology and Sustainable Aquaculture, and it has been amazing. I love how the classes are done. In Intro to Oceanography, we did a lot of independent research and had to critically think about how and why something can occur rather than memorizing things for a test. I was given so many resources to be successful in this class and others. The course material had a variety of content and projects including a video from my childhood hero, Bill Nye, to teaching me how to write an actual scientific report! I took this class in high school and thought it was boring but now I know it was just how it was taught because now I find it fascinating! I want to one day take this knowledge and become a shark researcher and conservationist. I never thought I wanted a Master’s degree and now I am set on it!”
Unity College student JoAnna recently took the Introduction to Oceanography course at Unity College with Professor Christiana Kumar.
“My name is JoAnna and I currently live in Denver, CO. I’m studying Marine Biology and Sustainable Aquaculture here at Unity College. I found Unity when I was searching for a way to major in Marine Biology out here in Colorado. Since I’m as landlocked as it gets, online seemed to be the way to go! I really loved Unity’s focus on the environment, so it felt like the perfect place for me. Before enrolling at Unity, I was studying Elementary Education, and realized it was not my passion. I always loved the ocean and grew up on the South Carolina coast. I decided pursuing my true passion for the ocean at Unity would be the best move for me to make. The staff and instructors here have made me feel very confident in my decision. I’m hoping to get my Bachelor’s degree and move on to getting my Master’s after that. One day, I would love to work in the research field and spend time with species of large fish.
My Introduction to Oceanography class was a great starting point for learning about the ocean. I loved the in-depth discussions and the meaningful interactions with my instructor. I’m so happy to have found Unity College. It has been a great journey thus far.”
Graduates | Alumni Working in the Field | Current Students | Student Internships & Experiences
Environmental Geospatial Technologies
Unity College student, Tanner, took the Sustainable Solutions course with Professor Brittany Grutter.
“Hi! My major is Environmental Justice And Social Change. I chose Unity College because I knew the school has the same passion for the environment that I have. I am interested in learning more about the global environmental crisis. My curriculum will prepare me to not only to confront the problem at a general level but specifically as it pertains to the unequal effects of environmental disasters in society.
One big takeaway from my recent environmental sciences course, is that environmental science requires a different style of abstraction — the environment is almost like a special shape or form, requiring a different thought process. That idea shows up in the literature we are exposed to in our coursework.
Another aspect of the class I enjoyed, is that we are required to break from a certain common sense thought process and think more critically and scientifically, for example, meteorology is not climatology.
What I enjoyed most about the course was the opportunity to both share the core of myself, nature-lover, and to hone professional skills pertaining to a general area that I’d like to be personally engaged in — it’s very actualizing for me.”
Unity College student, Kegan recently took the Conservation, Cartography, and Visualization course at Unity College with Professor Katherine Willis.
“Before coming to Unity College, I had just graduated from Paul Smith’s College the previous year and accepted an internship with the National Park Service through Americorp as a GIS Assistant Intern. I chose Unity because I needed an online degree program that was flexible enough to take classes while I was working a full-time job, and Unity fit those criteria with degree choice, affordability, and flexibility.
I am pursuing a degree in Environmental Geospatial Technologies, which will be my second bachelor’s degree. I hope to gain the necessary knowledge to pursue a career in the GIS field. My future career goals are to become a GIS Tech. or Specialist for the National Park Service.
I particularly enjoyed the map hunts while taking the Conservation, Cartography, and Visualization course because it forced you to change your perspective on how you view maps that you may see every day.”
Unity College student, Rainy, recently took the Conservation, Cartography, and Visualization course at Unity College with Professor Katherine Willis.
“Before starting at Unity I was working full time in restaurants around Des Moines, Iowa. I wasn’t feeling like I was living the fulfilling life I wanted to live. I had wanted to go back to school for Wildlife Conservation as an undergraduate and when looking at schools that could fit my lifestyle and needs, I found Unity.
When it comes to my education I wanted a place that could challenge me and would help me take steps towards working to balance the needs of our natural environment.
The professors at Unity College have been easy to talk with and always available to help when needed. Conservation, Cartography, and Visualization with Professor Willis helped me helped teach me the beauty of Cartography. I had the opportunity to use my passion for art to connect with this profession and program. Merging my passion with my education gave me a better understanding of the material we were going over in class.
I’m excited that I’m working towards a career that will allow me to help protect the environment.”
Unity College student, Ashley, recently took the Conservation, Cartography, and Visualization course at Unity College with Professor Katherine Willis.
“When COVID-19 started, I couldn’t find enough to do with all my new free time, so I decided to go back to school. Unity happens to be one of the few colleges that offer GIS degrees 100% online.
Cartography helps users to visualize and better understand the need for conversation in local areas. I liked the challenge of presenting our final project for the class to the North American Cartographic Information Society Student Map and Poster Competition.
I’m now entering my ninth term here at Unity and looking forward to another great term! I’m currently enrolled as a full-time student, earning a Bachelor’s degree in Environmental Geospatial Technologies.
I hope to use the knowledge I gain here at Unity to further my education and later go on to complete my master’s degree in the field. I plan to take what I learn from these classes and apply it to real-life situations and my future career.
I love the program’s flexibility – being 100% online allows me to work full time and be a student!”
Unity College student, Garret, recently took the Geographic Information Systems for a Changing World course at Unity College with Professor Katherine Willis.
“My name is Garret Steinert, I am 36 years old, and I live in Casper, Wyoming. I am an undergraduate, working towards my Bachelor’s in Geospatial Technologies here at Unity College. Before starting at Unity, I had just earned my Associate’s in Geographic Information Systems at Casper Community College. I became interested in GIS when I first learned that drones were making their way into wildland firefighting. I am a LEAD Crewmember for Wyoming State Helitack, which is an initial attack module for wildland fires, we use a Bell 407 helicopter for our operations and transport personal to and from incidents. While attending a helicopter manager workshop, I was exposed to a new era of aviation with UAS (Unmanned Arial Systems). As I dug deeper into the subject, I was told that if I were to get into UAS, I might need to know more about GIS, so I enrolled back into school the following semester.
I chose Unity College for its flexibility for the working individual. I googled the top 10 schools in the country offering an online bachelor’s program and Unity was among the top ten schools. It seemed like a great fit for me and I was accepted in the Fall of 2020. What I enjoyed the most about this class, GIS for a Changing World, was the course project. We were asked to find an endangered species, and create a suitability map using tools from ArcPRO, a GIS program. I chose the Whitebark Pine tree, which is not considered endangered, but proposed threatened. Instead of following a curriculum where everyone in the class is following the same steps to achieve the same result, the students in the class each had different projects that they were passionate about.
I hope to learn as much as I can about Geospatial Technologies while attending Unity College so I can be comfortable and confident when I find my career using GIS. I love wildland firefighting and have been a part of emergency management for almost a decade, but the time has come for me to put down the fire tools and chain saw and help solve problems and find solutions with the skills I learn here at Unity. I look forward to the day where I can build fire maps, analyze and predict fire behavior, and take real-time data from UAS to give the ‘boots on the ground’ up to date information that they need to get the job done.”
Unity College student, Troy, recently took the Creating Maps & Graphics of Ecosystem Change course at Unity College with Professor Jessica Morgan.
“Before enrolling at Unity College, I served 8 years as an Artillery Officer and Unmanned Aircraft Commander in the Marine Corps. After leaving the Marines, I began working for a veteran-owned small business which is where I found my calling. A joint project partnered us with two large universities in North Carolina where we began utilizing drones for monitoring natural resources and environmental change over time on DoD installations. I was very comfortable flying the drones but had no idea what to do with the data.
I am currently located in North Carolina. I received a Post Baccalaureate Certificate from another university (also in GIS), but the program left me unsatisfied as it was not environmentally focused. My search led me to Unity and I’m now halfway through the Masters in Geographic Information Science program.
I’m looking to gain skills that I can directly apply to my current work. High-resolution drone imagery is an amazing tool for environmental managers, and I have already been implementing skills learned at Unity into current projects I’m working on.
I enjoyed the Creating Maps & Graphics of Ecosystem Change course because it is great to recognize names and have virtual conversations with the same individuals across several different classes. Having the same instructor several times has also been instrumental to my success as they can track my progress and keep giving specialized feedback to ensure my skills continue to grow.
I hope to continue in my current field of specializing in drone imagery for natural resource management. This education is providing the foundation I need by equipping me with tools and techniques to best display and share the imagery.”
Unity College student, Maegan, recently took the GIS & Remote Sensing for Environmental Solutions course at Unity College with Professor Jessica Morgan.
“Just before starting the Masters of Environmental GIS program at Unity College, I was working for Habitat for Humanity as a Volunteer Coordinator, in the process of moving to a new state, and changing careers. I just moved to Denver, Colorado from California and so far I’m loving it! I’m in the process of switching careers from program management in the non-profit sector to using my knowledge of GIS to help solve the environmental problems our generation faces. I became familiar with GIS through my internship to finish my Bachelor’s where I walked and collected coordinates of trails in San Francisco Parks.
I chose Unity because of their Distance Education program and their flexibility for working while going to grad school. I’m in my 3rd term at Unity and so far loving it! In each of my classes, the professors have been helpful, knowledgeable, and set up the class so each week builds off of the next. I’m loving Unity so far and can’t wait to see what else this program brings.”
Unity College student Nicholas recently took the Introduction to Geospatial Technologies course at Unity College with Professor Katherine Willis.
“My name is Nicholas and I am a retired soldier of the U.S. Army, just looking to make the most out of this Post 9/11 G.I. Bill. I live in Selma, NC with my wife Lindsey and my 3 dogs, Gronk, Gretchen, and Pepper. I am pursuing my Bachelor of Science in Wildlife Conservation with a focus in Geographic Information Systems.
I joined the Armed Services at the age of 17 and shipped out to training a month after High School graduation. I started my military career off as a reservist for eight years; after a small break of four months, I transitioned over to full-time active duty. Although I was prematurely relieved of duty due to knee complications, I am thankful for all the skills I learned along the way. While a reservist, my military duty was that of a carpenter/mason specialist. During my active time, I was a forward observer. Long story short, I was part of the field artillery family.
During my time as a reservist, I bounced around from job to job, and college to college. I tried several different community colleges and even more majors, but I just did not have the discipline to get through the GenEds. It wasn’t until I was deployed and much older that I realized my calling, buckled down and took higher education more seriously. I was able to muscle through a lot of general education classes e.g., math, the sciences, the English, and I actually felt accomplished and determined. This stems from the realization of “what do you want to do when you grow up?” I knew my time in the military was coming to an end and I needed to do something else with my life.
My dream career field has not changed since I was a young boy, but I would say my dream job has. This is due mostly to the fact that as I grew up, I learned that you cannot become a millionaire playing with baby tigers all day. Imagine arriving to work and being greeted by a Bengal Tiger or a baby Otter. Imagine being paid to visit exotic habitats all over the world. And now, imagine having the opportunity of changing the lives of an entire species. As it stands now, my dream is to become an avid wildlife conservationist. One who travels and studies different biomes works with unique animals and shares the learned knowledge with the world.
This passion of mine does not seem to be going anywhere, but I am not complaining. I am glad my senses have evolved, and I am able to understand what truly makes me happy. When I was younger, earning money was my greatest motivator, but thankfully I have moved past that and helping animals is more important.
As mentioned before, I tried multiple colleges but once I knew exactly what I wanted to study, the obvious choice was to find a great and affordable school. What drew me to Unity college was the ability to do classes 100% online at your own pace (within reason). You still have soft “hard dates” such as Wednesdays and Sundays. Classes are only five weeks long which means they are quick but are also packed full of information. This is sort of a challenge that I prefer. My favorite aspect about Unity, so far, is the professors. They care a ton about their students and their student’s success. I have had teachers offer to help me publish short stories or take the time to chat virtually face-to-face in order to explain something further. Every single one of them acts like they want to be teaching and not just showing up for an “easy” paycheck. They do not just let robots correct students’ papers and actually take the time to provide constructive criticism at an individual level.
Speaking about the GIS class I recently took specifically, it was a blast. Many aspects of my career field of interest benefit greatly from Geographic Information Systems. The application of remote sensing (RS) and geographic information system (GIS) in wildlife management and conservation aids in data collection and analysis of wildlife abundance, their distribution as well as providing data suitable for conservation planning and management. Being able to get training and understanding on this topic early in my career is just priceless. As humans continue to alter the landscape at a rapid rate, wildlife, especially those with rare, threatened, and endangered status, are increasingly feeling the pressures of habitat loss and fragmentation. It has been agreed upon for some time that habitat loss is the primary factor in species decline around the globe. It is becoming increasingly apparent that our present systems of species conservation are inadequate for preserving biodiversity and naturally functioning ecosystems. It is concluded through evaluating several scientific studies that Geographic Information Systems (GIS) are extremely valuable tools in aiding the efforts of preserving species richness. I hope to help rectify these issues.
By using my degree, the knowledge obtained, and the networks I will have had created during my educational journey, I know I can make a difference. Unite ~ Inspire ~ Succeed; That is what drives me to continue my education and to continue on with Unity College.”
Unity College student Kristina recently took the Introduction to Geographic Information Systems course at Unity College with Professor Jessica Morgan.
“My name is Kristina Lemoine and I currently live in beautiful Bend, Oregon. I am currently attending Unity College as an undergrad, earning my degree in Environmental Geospatial Technology. I am also pursuing a concentration in renewable energy, with the hopes to continue my education with a Master’s in Environmental Science or Hydrology.
Before coming to Unity, I was studying Geophysics at the University of Florida but really wanted to concentrate more on environmental studies. Unity was such a good fit for me. I am a full-time working adult, and so I fully appreciate the accelerated and personal attention you get with the GIS program, and its professors. I am hoping to be able to move forward into a role that is more related to my degree path, such as a GIS or Environmental Analyst with a wildlife company or non-profit. Thoughts of dabbling in grant writing has also crossed my mind.
Before joining Unity and for the last ten years, I have been operating small boutique hotels across the US with my husband and traveling the world. However, with the industry shifts over the last few years, it has allowed me to change careers at the end of 2020, and live at a slower pace. This has allowed me to work remotely and pursue my educational path in what I truly love!”
Timothy recently took the Field Data Collection for GIS course at Unity College with Professor Jessica Morgan.
“Before attending Unity College, I served in the United States Navy for 15 years as an Intelligence Analyst. I currently live in Yokohama, Japan.
I chose Unity because it had a degree that I was interested in that combined two areas that I enjoy learning about, GIS and Environmental Science. I am earning my Bachelor’s degree in Environmental Geospatial Technologies. I’m hoping to get the tools I need to pursue further education. I’m looking at getting my Master’s in Public Health, focusing on environmental health.
I really enjoyed the Field Data Collection for GIS course, especially going out and gathering GIS data with smartphone tools. Previously, I had thought expensive computers or electronic devices were necessary. Through this class I realized that anyone can gather GIS data with their cell phone.
Ideally, I would like to go on to grad school and potentially further. I accomplished a lot of things while I served in the Navy, and I feel that I have a lot more to accomplish in life, especially regarding ways to benefit our planet. Throughout my time in the Navy, as well at Unity, I’ve been drawn to water and learned a lot about it. It’s essential for our planet and lives, and it’s at risk daily from contaminants and climate change affecting what little reserves we have. I’m hopeful that in the future I will contribute to stabilizing our planet.”
Graduates | Alumni Working in the Field | Current Students | Student Internships & Experiences
Environmental Justice and Social Change
Unity College student Dylan, recently took the Transdisciplinary Capstone course at Unity College with Professor Richard Hudnett.
“Before I started Unity College, I had graduated with my Associate’s Degree at Tidewater Community College in Norfolk, Virginia. In August 2020, I started at Unity College to complete my Bachelor’s Degree. I am currently located in Staunton, Virginia.
I chose Unity College because they had my desired major and concentration when it was difficult to find a college that had the right fit for me. I am majoring in Environmental Studies with a focus in Wildlife Biology.
What I am hoping to get out of my education is the tools and knowledge I need to have a broad range of habitat and wildlife conservation skills to pursue my career soon after graduation.
What I liked most about the Transdisciplinary Capstone course is that I was able to utilize many of my previous courses together to do a research project in the field that I am passionate about.
My future career goals are after going on to earn my Master’s degree, I want to be either a wildlife biologist or wildlife conservationist.”
SBM Adventure Ecotourism
SBM Hemp Industry and Science
SBM Renewable Energy
SBM Sustainable Food and Farming
Sustainable Business Management
Unity College student, Wayne recently took the Communicating to Stakeholders course at Unity College with Professor Nathan Sand.
“Before attending Unity College, I had graduated from HINU with a Liberal Arts Degree majoring in Meteorology and also studied meteorology at the University of Kansas. I started a business tornado and snow forecast business, Sonfire Almanacs LLC, selling books of long-range forecasts. I decided to continue my education at Unity to earn my degree in Environmental Science Climate Change.
After speaking with an admission concierge from Unity College, I decided the climate change degree was the right way to go. Through The Bachelors’s Degree in Environmental Science Climate Change, I have already gained more knowledge on the subject through writing papers. I have also published a book, Ice Age The Next Cycle of the Earth, on climate change.
One of the best things about Unity is that the classes are very open to new ideas.
While studying at Unity, I hope to develop knowledge on a new way of climate and weather forecasting that is much more accurate than current products through earth science.
After earning my Bachelor’s from Unity College, I hope to gain more education through a Master’s Degree program. My career goals include teaching college-level courses and continuing to develop long-range climate forecast programs for city tornado, flood, and snow forecasts. I have already been able to hit tornadoes down to the street months in advance with the statistical math I learned at Unity College.”
Graduates | Alumni Working in the Field | Current Students | Student Internships & Experiences
Master’s Degree Programs
Animal Science and Behavior
Unity College student Belinda recently took the Animal Shelter Best Practices and Management course at Unity College with Professor Taylor Rezvani.
“I’m a graduate student at Unity College and my major is Animal Science: Animal Behavior and Modification. I’m currently in Abilene, Texas. Before Unity, I was attending a private University, full time, in person. I graduated from Abilene Christian University in Abilene Texas in 2020 with a B.S. dual major in Animal Science (Pre-Veterinary Medicine) and Biology, I considered going to Veterinary School but decided I was too tired! I worked full time while in college supervising around 25 staff at a state ran MHMR facility. I suffered from many nights of 10 hour work days followed by 9 hour school days. With travel time, homework, and studying there were many days I was up for 36 hours consecutively. The reality was, I was depressed and over-exerted. I didn’t want to live out my life at that facility and I had already been there about 10 years when I went back to school. I continued to work there until my senior year when I started working at an Emergency Veterinary Clinic in town.
I rescued my dog Roman and invested hours, hours, a week working with him and I turned around one day and realized our bond was so incredibly tight, I could teach him anything. I no longer felt depressed, it was that incredible healing. That encouraged me to study the human-animal bond. I focused on that repeatedly my last year, and it came to my attention that I actually didn’t even want to be a Veterinarian, I wanted to help others create that same human-animal bond. I had some opportunities to volunteer. My dog Roman graduated in 2020 too, as a therapy dog for a local program in town but honestly, that just made me see the benefit of that special bond even more through the patients he served.
That is what led me to Unity! I had at least enough working knowledge of my subject to where I didn’t need to be physically present in class, but I also needed to expand my knowledge base. I wanted to put in additional time to ensure I had considered other factors about animal behavior, nutrition, and overall well-being but the truth was I was so exhausted from physically going to school. I wanted a program that was going to give me the skills I needed, allow me to work full time, and wouldn’t require me to change my location. The convenience of the programs at Unity College cannot be beaten.
While here at Unity, I took Animal Shelter Best Practices and Management, in that course we discussed Standard Operating Procedures extensively. I caught on quickly to just how much room for error was present in some of these operating procedures and it indicated to me that attention to detail really can impact several lives of animals we care for. We were afforded some wiggle room to focus on a subject from the SOP that mattered to us. I focused on diseases and cross-contamination which allowed me to use my background in biology to think critically about the subject. On another high note, Dr. Rezvani is absolutely phenomenal at engaging with her students and she gives meaningful, sincere, feedback.
After Unity, I want to work with Service dogs and animals with behavioral issues to modify their behaviors as well as use that to benefit my current role which is as a Caseworker for kids. I definitely want an opportunity to work with other therapy dogs as well. I’m hopeful that in the future I’ll be privileged enough to not only work towards creating the animal bond but maybe teaching it and researching it to help us as a society recognize how essential it is to the well-being of many.”
Unity College student Priscilla recently took the Emotional Support and Service Animals course at Unity College with Professor Charis Nick-Torok.
“I live in Staten Island, New York and before Unity College, I worked as a docent and animal caretaker for a wolf hybrid rescue.
I chose Unity for the degree choices that really align with my career path, how affordable it is, and for the Distance Education opportunity it provided.
I am a graduate student for the Master’s in Animal Behavior and Science and I loving it! I’m hoping to find more stability and knowledge towards my path in working with animals.
I absolutely love the overall setup of how the classes are made. I love the assignments and how unique and practical they are. The Professors are really kind, passionate, and knowledgeable. I’ve learned so much so far, so I feel encouraged and excited to continue.
I ended up loving the Emotional Support and Service Animal course because it really broadened my focus and allowed me to think of the regulations and laws that generally affect animals. The course helped me think of connecting important arguments to a wider audience range and work on my approach. My professor Charis Nick-Torok, is the absolute most loving and intelligent woman I have ever had the pleasure of communicating with. She really took the extra step to check in with the students during a very experimental sort of educational approach of distance learning. She gave incredible feedback, and I really learned a lot from her to the point of enjoying the subject! Which I originally was not fond of. But most importantly I was understanding how applying the lessons of this course in the future, greatly aids in making a real difference in the world.
My goal beyond a general love of constantly learning is in aiding wildlife through rehabilitation. I feel that Unity College and its staff are really helping me align in my life to achieve my dream. “
Unity College student Destiny, recently took the Emotional Support and Service Animals course at Unity College with Professor Charis Nick-Torok.
“Before starting Unity, I was changing careers and planning a military move. I started the beginning of my last semester living in Hawaii and during my final two weeks, I moved from Hawaii to Maine to forward my military and civilian career. I chose Unity because it works with my busy schedule. I work full-time so finding a program that can help to further my education but also accommodate my work schedule was important. Unity checked all the boxes for me!
I am currently working towards my Master’s in Animal Science and Behavior. I hope to be able to further my career with this goal and establish a behavior rehabilitation program for shelter animals who would otherwise not be given a second chance.
In the Emotional Support and Service Animals: Rules and Regulations course, I was able to learn all about the legislation guiding our interactions with animals in public and private locations. My favorite part of this class had to be learning about something that is relevant to us today. The use of service and emotional support animals has become of increasing importance and understanding the rules and regulations that are or are not(in most cases) in place is vital to continue utilizing these animals and supporting their welfare. I hope to utilize my degree from Unity to be a researcher focusing on the improvement of animal and human welfare.”
Meet Unity College student Daphne recently took the Canine & Feline Nutrition course at Unity College with Professor Anoosh Rakhshandeh.
“In 2018, I graduated from Virginia Tech with a Bachelor’s degree in Animal Science. After graduating, I decided to go straight to the workforce. Ever since then, I have been working as a veterinary technician/assistant at an animal hospital.
As I was scrolling through Facebook, I happened to run across a past college friend who wrote about starting her Master’s program at Unity College. After doing my research, I became interested in pursuing my Master’s degree at Unity College as well. After sending my application, a few weeks later, I received some great news! I was ecstatic to be accepted into the Master’s program in Animal Science and Behavior. I chose this specific program to gain more knowledge between human-animal interaction and developing a greater understanding of animal welfare matters.
I am hoping this degree will help me expand my knowledge of animal behavior. I hope to be a Veterinarian Behaviorist in the future. The courses I have taken so far have been very informative, challenging, and intriguing. I love that they use live scenarios that have helped me with my everyday conversations at my current job.”
Unity College student April recently took the Canine & Feline Nutrition course at Unity College with Professor Anoosh Rakhshandeh.
“I’m April and I live near Charleston, South Carolina with my husband and two dachshunds Byron and Emily. We just adopted a senior dachshund; his name is Dante. All are named after poets, my husband is a writer. I have always loved dogs and when my husband and I decided to get our first dog together, I started researching everything that would give them a happy and healthy life. I had just finished my Bachelor’s degree in Graphic Design and had come up with the idea to start a blog about small dog nutrition. That’s when the idea came to me to look at earning my Master’s degree in Animal Science and Behavior with a focus on canine and feline nutrition.
I chose Unity because of the online atmosphere, and it works well with my schedule at my job. I recently took the course Canine and Feline Nutrition. I really enjoyed learning about how to understand the information that is listed on pet food and what types of nutrients our companion animals need. I started volunteering at my local animal shelter and have a goal to either work as a nutritionist or behaviorist.”
Unity College student Jessica recently took the Emotional Support and Service Animals course at Unity College with Professor Charis Nick-Torok.
“I’m originally from New Jersey but have lived in Florida for over ten years. I am currently pursuing my Master’s in Animal Science and Behavior to help me be more competitive for vet school applications. My main goal is to become a feline-only practitioner. My journey started after high school graduation: volunteering in a hospital kennel, and my skills as a veterinarian technician advanced by working at multiple animal hospitals. Two of the hospitals were feline-only clinics. I love feline medicine and wrangling crazy cats. At one of the clinics, I was called the cat wrangler. I currently work at a cat-only hospital in Florida. I have been a Veterinary technician since 2007.
I chose Unity because of their “Experiential and Immersive Coursework,” flexible schedule, accelerated classes, and admissions selections. I, unfortunately, was diagnosed late in life with ADD, and it explains my struggles and mediocre grades in undergrad. This made getting into any graduate program seem impossible. I had significant accomplishments and recommendations but was still denied admission. Unity College gave me a chance, and their fantastic teachers have helped me succeed. In every class I have taken, I have gotten A’s. Their online platform is very user-friendly, and the class structure is excellent. I loved the class structure because it was not about memorizing a bunch of jargon and then forgetting it after taking the test. You take what you learned and apply it to real-life situations. In consequence, now what you learned was encoded into your brain. The teachers always gave great feedback and helped me succeed in the class. I highly recommend Unity College for grad school.”
Unity College student Olivia recently took the Emotional Support and Service Animals course at Unity College with Professor Charis Nick-Torok.
“Just before I arrived at Unity College, I was in the midst of a career change. I received my undergraduate degree in electrical engineering, but I really wanted to pursue a career path involving animals or the environment. I luckily found an amazing program at Unity College through Distance Education where I could obtain my Masters in Animal Science and Behavior! I currently reside in Champaign, IL.
I chose Unity because of its dedication to environmental education, the ease and convenience of distance education, and how involved the professors and staff are in each student’s success!
I’m earning my Master’s in Animal Science and Behavior. I’m hoping to get a deeper understanding of animal ethology, so that I can make a difference not only in the worlds of animals but humans too. I want to educate people on how intelligent and complex all animals are, and that we can coexist with them by cultivating a safe, healthy planet for all to enjoy.
During my time in the Emotional Support and Service Animals course with Charis Nick-Torok, I greatly enjoyed exploring the concept of animal welfare and ethics in the context of the law. It’s interesting how what is ethical and what is legal is not always the same thing, but the power is in the people. We have the ability to change the laws to ensure they are both legal and ethical.
I’m not sure what my career will look like, but I find myself drawn towards research in animal psychology and behavior, environmental education, or simply animal welfare!”
Unity College Distance Education student Alyssa recently took the Capstone I course at Unity College with Dr. Maurice Testa.
“Before I graduated as an undergrad, I threw around the idea of pursuing higher education, but back then was not fully sure what I wanted to do. It wasn’t until I started working in zoos a few years later that I committed to getting my master’s. It was my best friend who convinced me and told me “there is a school out there for you”.
Last year I decided to humor the idea again and do more research. I came across Unity and was immediately drawn to the school being referred to as “America’s Environmental College.” I looked over the programs and decided to apply. I don’t think it was two weeks later that someone from admissions told me they wanted to give me the opportunity to show my academic abilities. I accepted and didn’t look back.
I truly enjoyed many of my classes at Unity. Two favorites were Conservation Ecology taught by Dr. Livengood, and Wildlife Identification taught by Dr. Algeo. What I really liked about conservation ecology was that I felt I was a conservation ecologist having to solve problems. Dr. Algeo’s wildlife identification was a bit different. The entire course was set up like you were an environmental educator at a nature center educating the public. This summer, I started working for a forest preserve at a nature center as a naturalist and have been able to take the material from that course and apply it.
My biggest takeaway is the personal and professional growth that school gave me. Unity and this program gave me more than just useful skills, and I am excited to see what my future holds.
I really enjoy working as a naturalist so I hope my degree will help me explore that path further. I would also enjoy being back in zoos as a conservationist or even working as a wildlife ecologist.”
Unity College Distance Education student Caitlin recently took the Advanced Animal Training course at Unity College with Dr. Ruth Greaves.
“I currently reside in Spring Hill, Florida, which is where I was born and raised. I graduated with my Bachelor’s in Biology this past December, and I am currently in my fourth term at Unity College where I am earning my Master’s in Animal Science and Behavior. I chose Unity because I wanted the freedom and flexibility to study anytime and anywhere at my own pace. This allowed me to start my career while going to school full-time. The online master’s program is very affordable, the class sizes are small, and the courses are science-based, so choosing Unity College just felt right for me. Additionally, the online class format has allowed me to make more time for my passions outside of the classroom.
Throughout high school and undergrad, I volunteered at a state wildlife park that rescues and cares for species native to Florida that cannot be returned to the wild. I now work at ZooTampa where I help care for over 1,000 animals from all around the world. With advancements in my education, hard work, and determination, I hope to be able to work my way up through the ranks of the zoo until I can one day become a curator or director of the zoo so that I can make as much of a positive impact on the animals’ lives as possible.
After taking Dr. Greaves’ Advanced Animal Training class, I have a better understanding of, and increased my appreciation for, animal training and the work that goes into creating a training manual from scratch. Having more knowledge of animal training and the fundamentals of a training manual lays a strong foundation for my future career as a zookeeper since a large part of caring for animals involves training them. Even though this was an online class, I liked that the use of discussion posts allowed me to interact with my peers as if we were in person. I especially liked how Dr. Greaves’ encouragement and support for her students showed in the thoughtful and constructive feedback that was provided on all of my work.
All of the classes I have taken at Unity have allowed me to further my education while working in the field that I love so that I can simultaneously apply what I am learning to the real-world animal-related experiences I encounter each day.”
Graduates | Alumni Working in the Field | Current Students | Student Internships & Experiences
Environmental Geographic Information Science
Unity College student Seentia recently took the Creating Maps & Graphics of Ecosystem Change course at Unity College with Professor Jessica Morgan.
“In 2020, I graduated from the University of Maine with a B.S. in Ecology and Environmental Sciences with a concentration in Sustainability, Environmental Policy, and Natural Resource Management. I was a Quality Assurance Specialist at Niyam IT, an IT consulting company that offers crucial solutions in Data Science, GIS Applications, Agile/DevSecOps, and Cloud Engineering. Since then, I have been promoted to a GIS Specialist and am contracted by the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) to implement the quality assurance and data management of the Flood Map Service Center, the only official public source of flood hazard information that is compliant with the National Flood Insurance Program (NFIP). I am also a part-time coding dojo student as part of their Python Full-Stack Program.
I chose Unity College because I wanted to continue my education in an affordable manner. Since I work full-time, Unity College’s online Master’s degree program allowed me to do so with the flexibility that I needed. I am on track to receive my Master’s in Professional Science Degree in Environmental Geographic Information Science with a 4.0 GPA in May 2022.
Although I am grateful to have such a position during a global pandemic, I would like to push myself further and gain more skills in Geographic Information Systems (GIS) to join other projects that align with my interests: Disaster Management, Natural Resource Management, and Environmental Justice. My love for GIS derived from an elective course in Applied Geographic Information Systems at the University of Maine. I loved it so much that I became a Teacher’s Assistant for that course shortly after. Since then, I have gotten internships related to Stormwater Management, Sustainability, and Natural Resource Management. I would like to use GIS to mitigate climate change, protect land and water, provide food and water sustainably, and build healthy cities. I want to implement these objectives in areas in which they are needed the most. My parents immigrated to the U.S. from Bangladesh, a third-world country that faces numerous environmental challenges, so that is what has motivated me to do what I am doing today. I want to be a public servant to people and the environment. I just want to help people, no matter how big or small the gesture may be. I think that this course will help me achieve these goals.
Besides the awesome professor, Dr. Jessica Morgan, my favorite part of her “Creating Maps and Graphics of Ecosystem Change” course was the versatility of the cartographic skills that were taught to us. Her courses always have real-world applications and I especially loved how creative I was encouraged to be when developing my personal map layouts.
My ultimate goal is to become a GIS Developer. I am getting married this year and starting a whole new chapter in my life, so I wanted to be able to follow a career path that allows me to continue to work from the comfort of my home. We just bought our first home, so it would be awesome if I could set myself up to develop GIS web applications remotely, in case I decide to have kids in the future. Plus, I live close to Washington, DC, so I have a lot of opportunities to work for government organizations looking to provide GIS services to their contractors.”
Unity College student Nuvi recently took the Creating Maps & Graphics of Ecosystem Change course at Unity College with Professor Jessica Morgan.
“My name is Nurvidia Jeffery and I live in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania with my husband and two children, ages 2 and 4. I received my bachelor’s degree in Anthropology with a focus on Human Biology at Temple University. Before Unity College, I was working as a research reporter for a construction listing company. I strongly wanted to further my education, specifically with GIS, so I began to research and ask around. A good friend of mine recommended Unity and their graduate-level Environmental Geographic Information Science Program. Upon looking into it, I felt that this distance education program was a great fit for me. I could earn my Master’s degree from home and have the flexibility I needed for my family.
By furthering my education, I hope to gain the skills and knowledge I need to enter the professional world. I want to make informative maps that help address important environmental issues and that also convey anthropological data. By fusing my undergraduate and graduate degrees, I would be able to use GIS to help depict and find archaeological sites that are affected by environmental factors.
The Creating Maps & Graphics of Ecosystem Change course helped me gain the skills I need to accomplish my goals. I learned in-depth how to make educated decisions for every aspect of map-making. This course provided the necessary tools to visually represent data effectively. What I liked most about this class is the supportiveness and constructive feedback of the instructor, Dr. Jessica Morgan, and of my peers.
Unity College is my first experience with distance education, and I was worried that I would not be able to connect or understand the material as I would in an actual classroom setting. I was proven wrong right away. I feel I have had a better experience overall and now actually prefer learning online. I am learning more, connecting more, and I know that this will lead to positive things in my future.”
Graduates | Alumni Working in the Field | Current Students | Student Internships & Experiences
Unity College student, Megan, recently took the Ethical Practice and Policy course at Unity College with Professor Dianne Quigley and Climate Dynamics with Dr. Erik Larson.
“In December 2021 I graduated from Unity College with my Master’s in Environmental Science through the Distance Education Program. Before Unity, I had just graduated my undergraduate from the Massachusetts Maritime Academy and started working full-time in a high purity water laboratory as a chemist and microbiologist.
I chose Unity College because of the course curriculum that directly applied to my career goals. I love media quality (air, water, soil) and there were multiple courses that fed my passions.
Upon completion of my degree this past term, I found that I have mastered my literature review skills, created a better understanding for the different situational aspects of the industry, and, ultimately, I feel prepared for any environmental job I would apply for soon.
Dr Larson, taught the course Climate Dynamics, was by far one of my favorite teachers throughout my academic career. Not only did he actively post in discussion posts every day for every student, but he also created such a welcoming space to share concerns, comments, or questions. Regarding the coursework, I loved how in depth we went into determining alternatives for fossil fuels and other harmful practices to combat the current climate situation. Having students from across the country shaped our discussions to portray different backgrounds and ideas that I would not have normally thought of.
Dr. Quigley, who taught Ethical Practice and Policy, was such an enthusiastic professor throughout this course. Ethics is such an important aspect to any career, but especially in the environmental studies since the environment impacts EVERYONE. I think my favorite part of this course was incorporating my different life experiences in environmental ethics and learning about other students’ experiences. Upon completion of this course, I feel much more prepared to face environmental ethical dilemmas in my future careers.
As I move towards the future, I would love to obtain careers in environmental water, soil, and/or air quality. I am so passionate about the chemistry behind these media and am driven to protect any organism impacted by decreased environmental quality. Unity’s MS in Environmental Science absolutely made me more prepared to take on this goal.”
Unity College Student Ambassador, Sarah, recently took the Water and Soil Resource Management course at Unity College with Professor Erik Larson.
“Before enrolling with Unity, I had just completed a Master’s degree in Biology with Miami University’s Advanced Inquiry Program, while working for the University of Washington’s Department of Medical Oncology.
I chose Unity because I needed a program that emphasized applied science and practical skill-building, offered in a flexible manner that would allow me to maintain my job.
My academic and professional background is pretty eclectic, from performing professionally in ballet, theater, and modern dance to zoological horticulture. My focus in this program is ensuring that I have a strong foundation in, and understanding of, the scientific basis for management actions that I will be involved with in future professional contexts.
First of all, Erik is an outstanding instructor! He communicates clearly, is knowledgeable in the subject matter, and is consistently engaged with the class; all of which made the overall experience very positive. The course project was also a great opportunity to practice gathering and documenting information for technical reports such as Environmental Impact Statements.
In the short-term, I hope to continue building my vocational skills by finding employment in conservation horticulture. Eventually, I hope to participate in researching and implementing permaculture, regenerative landscaping, and “rewilding”/habitat restoration projects.”
Unity College student Christa recently took the Ecological Economics course at Unity College with Professor Wendy Morrison.
“I am in the graduate program at Unity College and my major is Environmental Science and Sustainability. Distance education really works for my educational experience as someone who is returning to higher education after almost 20 years. I have worked as a full-time high school environmental science teacher for seventeen years. I also am a mom to two young boys. I live in the southern part of New Jersey. The distance education experience allows me to set up my schedule in terms of working on the course materials and my professors have all been available to answer any questions I might have and provide guidance along the way.
I recently finished the course Ecological Economics with Dr. Wendy Morrison. My big takeaway from this course is that to truly find the cost associated with anthropogenic disruptions on ecosystems, neoclassical economics cannot be the sole analysis of the system. An ecological economics approach would better identify the true cost of human interactions in the environment and begin to help make these interactions more sustainable.
My career goals are to have an educational background in environmental science and sustainability that will allow me to work in other fields in education besides solely teaching. This may include curriculum writing with a focus on climate change or to be a consultant for schools that are looking to expand their science programs. I am open to all new opportunities that may arise along the way!”
Unity College student Zach, recently took the Water and Soil Resource Management course at Unity College with Professor Maurice Testa.
“Hi, My Name is Zach Moyer. Growing up in Central Pennsylvania and still currently living there, the natural world has always been a large part of my life. I still remember many of the life lessons I learned from my parents while being outdoors. After graduating from Susquehanna University in 2011 with a degree in Earth and Environmental Science, I found myself working for a large healthcare organization within their Safety and Industrial Hygiene Department.
I always strive to grow and develop my education to be a better professional and steward of the natural world, but I could never find the right program for me. When I found Unity College, I knew I had found a good fit. From my first conversation, the staff could not have been more helpful. Everything was clearly laid out and any questions I had were answered quickly. Before I knew it, I was enrolled in the Master of Environmental Science Program! The class schedule allowed me to continue working full time and the small class sizes allowed for great interaction among my peers and professors.
I have taken several classes with Dr. Testa, and I cannot say enough positive things about how he leads his classes. I have learned so much in each of my classes with him. The water and soil resource management class has been my favorite by far. Dr. Testa developed a class that gave me real-world experiences in an online setting. Through discussions, videos, research articles, and various other materials, I was able to grasp the concepts presented better than in the physical classroom settings of my undergrad work. The course project was to create an environmental site assessment that looked at the impacts a proposed project would have on the local environment. With a plastic recycling plant proposed near my town, I was able to use the information I learned from Dr. Testa to educate local residents to better understand the potential impacts of this plant.
I hope to use the knowledge I gained at Unity College to advance my work within my current organization. There are always opportunities to decrease the impacts we have on the environment and through the education I have received at Unity College, I will be able to do that in my current role and any future career opportunities that present themselves!”
Unity College Distance Education student Ella recently took the Water and Soil Resource Management course at Unity College with Professor Dr. Erik Larson.
Before starting my program at Unity College I was a 7-12th grade science teacher in South Texas. I had been working as a teacher for about 5 years. Before teaching I had completed my undergrad in biology and had worked in various conservation and animal husbandry jobs. These included work at a marine animal rehab center, a small zoo, and the African Lion and Environmental Research Trust.
My husband and I relocated last year to the southern tier of New York state for his job, and I decided this was the perfect time to go back to school and make a career change. I chose Unity college because it had the flexible time requirements that I needed from an online program and allowed me to still complete my home duties as well as work as a substitute teacher for the time being.
I am currently in the graduate program for Environmental Science. With my background in biology, this degree will give me a more well-rounded environmental education that will allow me to move into other science sectors outside of biology and conservation.
My most recent class was water and soil resource management. This is a topic that I did not have a great background in, so I knew it may be fairly difficult. The instructor, Dr. Erik Larson, was active and engaging during the course, always available to lend a hand or answer questions. He has been one of my favorite professors thus far at Unity. One thing that I enjoyed about this class is how the instructor had us go out into the environments around our home to evaluate the soils and water, which allowed for a greater connection and understanding of the material. The course project was in-depth and helped me to refine my writing and research skills.
Once I graduate, I would like to work either in consulting or research within the green energy sector. I am especially interested in the Hoary bat, and mitigation of mortality events associated with bats at wind energy facilities. I aim to utilize the skills I have learned during my degree programs to help produce a more stable and environmentally conscious energy grid while decreasing bat fatalities.
Graduates | Alumni Working in the Field | Current Students | Student Internships & Experiences
Environmental Studies and Sustainability
Unity College student Emma, recently took the Strategic Management of Innovation course at Unity College with Professor Sarah Lozanova.
“Before I started at Unity I had been working in the horticulture industry with tropical plants for about five years. I love working with plants, but I wanted to shift my focus to encompass more sustainability in my work. I studied sustainability in my undergrad at UMass, and it’s something that I’m passionate about, so when I found the Environmental Studies and Sustainability Masters program at Unity, I was really excited and wanted to jump right in!
I currently live in Providence, Rhode Island, and part of the reason I chose Unity is that the entire program is online, and because of that I have the flexibility to work and participate in the program. Other reasons I chose Unity are because it is affordable, the online distance learning program is well established, and the core values of the school align with my own.
I’m already getting a lot of out my education, and since I’m towards the end of the program I am making connections from my past and present classes. I’m currently in the beginning stages of creating a Sustainability Team at my workplace, and my classes have given me the tools necessary to move forward with that project. My Strategic Management of Innovation class was really interesting, and I really liked being able to focus on my professional goals for my in-class projects.
In the future, I hope to be able to continue to work in the commercial horticulture industry as a sustainability analyst or consultant. I’m already working towards that goal and I am grateful for the things I have learned at Unity because they have given me the confidence and the knowledge to take steps to achieve my goals!”
Unity College student Jeromy, recently took the Community Planning for Resiliency course at Unity College with Professor Tamara Lawless.
“After graduating from Fort Lewis College in Durango, CO with a degree in Adventure Education, I started out as an elementary experiential educator at an independent school in Seattle. I spent the following three years collaborating with my teaching team integrating experiential, social-emotional learning, and anti-racist practices into our curriculum and lessons. During this time, the pandemic hit, and after a year and a half I decided it was time to take the next step in my professional journey and obtain a Master’s degree. I currently live in the northern area of Seattle, WA, the traditional lands of the Suquamish, Duwamish, Stillaguamish, and Coast Salish Peoples.
I chose Unity because I was looking for a Master’s program that could not only help take the next step in my professional journey remotely, but also provide the time and space I needed to transition from a purely educational background towards one that is sustainability-centered, connecting back to my roots in adventure education. I graduated this May with a degree in MPS Environmental Studies and Sustainability.
I have received everything I initially expected, and a decent amount more with my time at Unity. Connecting the ideas across courses has been one of the most rewarding and important pieces of my experience. In understanding the overlaps and connections, I am able to understand and interpret the impacts that social, cultural, economic, and environmental factors have on natural and built environments and the communities that inhabit them more easily.
I took Community Planning and Resiliency during my final term along with the second half of my Capstone. It very much felt like a culminating experience for me. The topics explored each week connected to information I recalled from previous courses in ethics, economics, innovation, among others. There is something incredibly satisfying about making connections and relationships between topics that were otherwise hidden beforehand – like the lightbulb going off when an idea pops into your head. This is what each week of this course was like in my experience, except instead of a single lightbulb it was a whole firework show where each explosion represented a new connection or idea. Experiencing this was largely possible because of my fellow classmates and my professor, Dr. Tamara Lawless. Engaging with all of them in understanding resiliency, supporting and critiquing each other’s work, and exploring the topics presented through each other’s perspectives throughout the course made it all the more meaningful.
Looking to my career, I am eager to put my knowledge and experience in climate communication, sustainability education, and environmental game design to support educators, parents, community leaders, and most importantly students of all ages in developing action-oriented mindsets to overcome the apathy caused by the complexity and enormity of the climate emergency. In conjunction with this, I am hoping to jump into some consulting work related to sustainability reporting, ecosystem service valuation, or environmental education.”
Unity College student Kaylie recently took the Water and Soil Resource Management course at Unity College with Professor Maurice Testa.
“My name is Kaylie Matthews, and I’m pursuing a master’s degree in environmental science at Unity College. I’m originally from southern California, but I now live in Seattle, Washington. Before attending Unity, I received my bachelors in Earth and Environmental Science from Washington State University. After my undergraduate degree, I started working as an intern, and I realized that there was still so much that I could learn regarding environmental science. At that point, I decided that I wanted more in-depth knowledge regarding environmental science not only for my own curiosities but for my career.
When looking at grad schools, I was looking for a program where I could continue to work full time. I ultimately decided on Unity college for the flexibility of the online graduate program. By picking Unity, I have been able to work and gather experience while also continuing my education. Currently, I am working as an environmental scientist consultant for WSP USA.
I recently took the Water and Soil Resource Management course. I appreciated that there was a lot of overlap between the topics in this class and my job. For example, our final project was to write an environmental assessment which I was also doing at work. It is very reassuring to know that the topics that are being covered in my classes are very practicable and setting me up for a successful career.
After receiving my degree, I plan to continue working as an environmental scientist. The fun part is that I have no idea what opportunities may present themselves, but I’m excited to see what happens!”
Unity College student Justice recently took the Community Planning for Resiliency course at Unity College with Professor Tamara Lawless.
“Before starting at Unity College, I was taking a culinary arts and hospitality course and gaining my ServSafe certifications. I worked at the Gary Comer Youth Center in Chicago, Illinois; as a Culinary Worker. Prior to that I worked in sales; post my graduation in 2015, from North Carolina A and T; where I did my undergraduate degree in Agriculture and Environmental Systems (Concentration: Agribusiness and Food Industry). I am currently located in Chicago, Illinois.
I chose Unity College because it was accessible for me. Unity College reached out to me first and kept encouraging me along the way. I appreciated that because it was hard for me to find a Master’s Program, where I fit and who wanted me. I felt that Unity College had a sense of community which ultimately led me to pick the college.
I am a grad student earning my degree in Environmental Studies and Sustainability. What I truly want to get out of my education is a lifelong community. I want to build something in my generation, so that three generations later my great-great-granddaughter or grandson continue my legacy. I also want to truly become a well-rounded individual; where I learned every aspect of life so that no one could put me down or box me in.
What I liked most about Community Planning for Resiliency is the emphasis on us working with our local communities. This was seen with a field trip we took. It was virtual and my favorite assignment from Unity College. Learning about my local community helped me to unlock trapped methods of thinking inside of me. I was able to learn about the concept of Biophilic Urbanism; which has become a basis for my life and my mission to bring to my local community.
My future goals are to become a full-time, salaried, certified teacher. I want to teach urban agriculture, environmental sciences, and sustainability to our next generation of bright and ambitious thinkers. Outside of the classroom, I would like to host an after-school special; where students get to run track, play tennis, do improvisational theater, learn fashion merchandising, and host their own research series. Furthermore, I seek to get my doctorate in education so as to one day teach at the collegiate level and become a tenured faculty member, who is an ally to my former younger students as they grow and become adults.”
Unity College student Kelsey recently took the Community Planning for Resiliency course at Unity College with Professor Tamara Lawless.
“Before I started this program at Unity, I was working in the public school system as a 7th-grade math teacher. I was teaching when COVID hit, and everyone went remote. As much as I loved working with children, it made me realize how desperately critical change is needed, so I decided to switch courses and pursue sustainability. I live in Asheville, North Carolina.
I spent a considerable amount of time searching for the right college because I wanted something specific in my degree. Many of the sustainability programs being offered revolved primarily around business and many of the environmental science programs being offered did not highlight overall sustainable change and equity. After working in the school system and seeing the disproportionate impact of society on thousands of children directly, and after watching the news and seeing how problems here and around the world are only getting worse, I realized how important looking at the big picture and working towards global societal change is. Everything comes back around to the unequal distribution of resources and the prioritization of human wants and needs over the entire natural system, so finding a program that focused heavily on environmental science as it pertains to climate change, sustainable development, and equitable change was very important to me. As soon as I found this program from Unity, I felt like it was the one.
Now that I am nearing the end of the program, I know that I made the right decision. I am getting my Masters in Sustainability and Environmental Science. From this education, I hope to gain the knowledge required to be a sustainability change agent. I hope to educate everyone around me regarding the importance of caring about this and working for it. I hope to be part of the movement that forces resilient, sustainable, and equitable change throughout global societies.
What I liked most about the courses in this program was their relevance. Most of them were designed in such a way that I had a main course project which imitated work that I will be doing after graduation, and now I have numerous templates for enacting any number of sustainability initiatives in various fields. Also, the direct communication with and feedback from peers was wonderful and incredibly helpful (not to mention a great resource for networking). I hope to improve upon the world and leave it better than how I found it.”
Graduates | Alumni Working in the Field | Current Students | Student Internships & Experiences
Unity College student, Jillian, recently took the Dynamics of Marine Ecosystems course at Unity College with Professor Sarah Driscoll.
“I recently finished a course with Dr. Driscoll called Dynamics of Marine Ecosystems. This class is a part of my Marine Predator Conservation track. I learned a lot from this class about how the ocean works, including biological, chemical, and physical processes. In this class, we were able to pick a Marine Protected Area of our choosing and become familiar with all of the governing processes of the MPA. This included the natural forces that shape the location, the social dynamics that support or oppose the designation, and the influences of climate change and other threats that impact the chosen location. This class, like many others at Unity is designed so that throughout the course you are preparing your final project. I really like this aspect as you are becoming specialized in a topic by the end of the course and do not have an immense workload at the end as it is spaced out throughout the term.
Dr. Driscoll supports her students every step of the way, allowing ample accommodations should a real-world problem occur. She also believes that our grade depends on our commitment to learn and interact with the coursework. Dr. Driscoll is an amazing teacher and does not stop at science. As one will know after consecutive terms with her: “data ARE plural!”
I have learned not only more about marine ecosystems from her but also have learned to be more concise and a better scientific writer. Interactions with professors such as Dr. Driscoll leaves a lasting impact on my life and is one of the reasons why I would recommend Unity College.”
Unity College student Patience recently took the Dynamics of Marine Ecosystems course at Unity College with Professor Sarah Driscoll.
“Before starting at Unity, I had just recently graduated from the University of Delaware with a B.S. in Marine Science. I knew I wanted to continue my education but wasn’t sure where to start. I had recently accepted an internship position working at the Microbial Ecology Research Lab at the University of Delaware’s Lewes campus. There I work with harmful algae. I wanted to continue my internship while taking classes and Unity College allowed me to do that.
I chose Unity because I like how environmentally focused the college is. I also like that I take professional classes as well as environmental classes in my program. I am currently in the graduate program at Unity majoring in Marine Science. I hope through my education I can learn about the management aspects of the marine world while continuing to learn about the marine environment. I think Unity College classes are great because many of the final projects are focused on real-world experiences.
My future career goal is to work in coral reef management. Coral reefs provide habitats for many marine animals. I hope I can work on saving them for the marine environment and for future generations to come.”
Unity College student Ashley recently took the Dynamics of Marine Ecosystems course at Unity College with Professor Sarah Driscoll.
“Hi, I am Ashley Eamma and I am in my 3rd term in Unity College’s Graduate School Distance Education Program. I am attending Unity to get my Graduate Degree in Marine Science: Conservation of Marine Mammals.
I was born and raised in Wilmington, NC. I began my undergrad at Appalachian State University, but the ocean was calling me home. I graduated from UNC Wilmington in the Spring of 2021 with a degree in International Studies: Environmental and a minor in Psychology. While attending UNCW I had an opportunity to study abroad in Greece. While I was there, I hiked Mount Olympus and earned my International Sea Sailing License. I have always loved the ocean and all life within it, especially whales, dolphins, sharks, turtles, and cuttlefish. I am hoping to combine my passion for protecting marine life with my love for traveling. I would like to work around the world saving, rescuing, rehabilitating, and hopefully freeing marine mammals.
Unity College had popped up during my search for Marine Mammal graduate programs, and I feel like Unity chose me! I love that being a part of Unity’s Distance Education I am able to increase my knowledge of marine mammals while continuing to coach swim and lacrosse at my old high school and work at Altar’D State.
Even though I am not on campus, the communication with professors, advisors, and classmates feels like we are. I am currently taking Identification and Life History of Marine Mammals and soon will be taking Marine Mammal Rescue and Rehabilitation, which I am most excited for! Working with a rescue and rehabilitation facility is what I am hoping to make of my marine biology career. I look forward to becoming Ashley Eamma Marine Biologist and reaching my dream of working with such magnificent creatures with the help of Unity College.”
Unity College student Maren recently took the Coral Ecology and Conservation course at Unity College with Professor Dominique McCowan.
“I chose Unity College, a school I assumed was in the middle of the woods, in a state I have never had any interest in prior, all because of its uniqueness. I attended a college fair in high school and among all the rows of these big-name colleges was this forest green booth with a big white U and a little pine tree and a man who looked an awful lot like Santa. The booth read “America’s Environmental College” and I think that was the only time I’ve ever fallen in love at first sight.
I am earning my Master’s degree in Marine Science with a focus on Coral Reef Biodiversity and Conservation.
My favorite part of the classes at Unity is how personal they are. The class sizes are small and I can do all of my work remotely. The professors are all so knowledgeable and kind. They really love their work which makes learning from them a great experience.
In the future, I want to investigate Conservation techniques for seaweeds and work with restoring the algae found in intertidal zones.”
Unity College student Meg recently took the Identification and Life History of Marine Mammals course at Unity College with Professor Tanya Lubansky.
“Before enrolling in Distance Education at Unity College, my family and I had just relocated back to Iowa after moving to Florida for a year for a position working in marine mammal stranding response and population assessment. Life had other plans for us, so we found ourselves returning to the Quad Cities in Iowa. Despite our move back to the Midwest, I knew I wasn’t ready to give up my lifelong dream of researching marine mammals and focused on finding how I could do anything in the field remotely. That is what brought me to Unity. I had never heard of a distance education program in the marine sciences before and I knew the flexibility of the program as well as Unity’s reputation within conservation circles would make this program the perfect fit for me. I was incredibly nervous to be going back to school after 13 years and being a mom on top of it, but I am absolutely loving the Master’s in Marine Science, Marine Mammal Conservation track here at Unity!
So far, my favorite course has been Life History of Marine Mammals because it really helped me refine my scientific writing and enabled me to take a deep dive into topics I knew about, but now feel I am truly knowledgeable about. This course was also fun as some of our assignments were interactive which made the class even more engaging. Dr. Lubansky was great, providing lots of feedback and always available to answer questions!
My future career goals are to start my own Midwest-based marine mammal research and conservation organization. I have a few research projects in the works in collaboration with some former colleagues and am hoping to find more opportunities that I can participate in remotely. I also plan on going into classrooms to talk about marine mammals and hopefully inspire the next generation of marine mammal scientists!”
Unity College student Patience recently took the Coral Ecology and Conservation course at Unity College with Professor Dominique McCowan.
“I am currently earning my Master’s in Marine Science in the Coral Reef Biodiversity and Conservation track. I recently took the Coral Ecology and Conservation course with Dr. McCowan. It is obvious how passionate and knowledgeable Dr. McCowan is about corals. She was always happy to answer any questions I had. I think the big takeaways I took from this course are how important it is to look back at the ecological history of corals, how to analyze data, and how to present data.
Through the course we learned about coral morphology, coral taxonomy, paleoecology, and disturbances that threaten coral reefs. We worked on a specific region in the world where coral reefs are found and created a status report of that region’s coral reefs. We investigated threats to the coral reefs through analyzing data from a database as well as collecting data from scientific journal articles. We also investigated management efforts to combat those threats and offered recommendations to improve management efforts. I investigated the Western Indian Ocean region’s coral reefs where I analyzed threats such as macroalgae, pollution, and tropical storms. It was a challenging but rewarding experience.
Through the immersive experience of writing a status report, I was able to utilize the knowledge I learned about corals throughout the course. I hope to use what I learned about scientific writing and corals in my future endeavors.”
Unity College student Aaron recently took the Dynamics of Marine Ecosystems course at Unity College with Professor Bruce Stephen.
“Hi, I’m Aaron Diauto and I am earning my Master’s in Marine Science through Distance Education at Unity College. I am pursuing two concentrations in Conservation of Marine Mammals as well as Marine Predators.
I grew up on the south shore of Massachusetts in Pembroke but also spent most of my life in Cape Cod where I received my undergrad at Massachusetts Maritime Academy. I graduated in 2020 with a degree in Marine Science, Safety and Environmental Protection, and a concentration in Marine Biology. While at MMA I gained incredible experience on ships and in the field. I had the opportunity to intern in Mossel Bay, South Africa working closely with great white sharks and marine mammals and received training in stranded marine mammal response and rescue, and participated in the necropsy of a beached pygmy sperm whale. I became passionate about the conservation of marine animals and knew it was what I wanted to do. After graduating I took a job for a year as a fisheries observer, monitoring commercial fishing vessels at sea, and then moved into an office as a fisheries data debriefer for current observers so I could attend graduate school and start moving towards a career in marine science and conservation.
I heard about Unity College from one of my best friends and a recent graduate. She spoke very highly of Distance Education at Unity, and it sounded like it was a perfect fit for my current work schedule. I am able to learn and pursue my career with flexibility while also working full-time and it has been such a great experience so far. I am hoping to take away from these courses as much as I can and become a true professional in the field of marine science and be able to make an impact in the conservational science community.
I have learned so much already and look forward to graduating with my Master’s and finding a career in marine mammal rescue and rehabilitation or perhaps marine mammal/predator conservation and research. I’m not entirely sure yet but either way Unity College will help make either a possibility.”
Unity College student Amanda recently took the Introduction to Oceanography course at Unity College with Professor Diana Townsend.
“Before I found Unity, I was living on the Mississippi Gulf Coast and had worked for the University of Southern Mississippi as a Marine Educator. I was stuck between knowing I wanted to continue my education but not know where or what I wanted to study. I am currently living in my hometown of Brecksville, right outside of Cleveland, Ohio.
I chose Unity because I was looking for something that fit into my life without having to completely relocate or stop working fulltime. I liked that it was online, and it essentially had the exact program I was looking for. I’m attending Unity for my Master’s in Marine Science, focusing on Marine Mammal and Marine Predator conservation.
I’m excited to see how these programs will apply to the real world and real-life situations. I want to work in rescue and rehabilitation and that is one of the courses within the Master’s track. I feel like you don’t often find classes like that within higher level schooling.
I liked Dynamics of Marine Ecosystems because the assignments and discussions were engaging and it didn’t feel like just another homework assignment, some of them were fun and I tapped into skills that I had not used in a long time, such as scientific writing. The chapter readings from the textbook came in handy when completing the assignments. Dr. Townsend was always quick to respond to any questions and was very thorough when describing assignments.
I want to travel and work hands on with animals. My goal is to be able to help animals in any way that I possibly can because they need our help now more than ever before. I want to make a difference in their lives, even if it is a small difference.”
Unity College student Meg recently took the Introduction to Oceanography course at Unity College with Professor Diana Townsend.
“I’m Meg Hoffman and am currently pursuing a Master’s in Marine Science on the Marine Mammal Conservation track at Unity College! I have recently completed my first year at Unity and absolutely love the program and all it has to offer. I am a busy mom that is currently living landlocked and looking for remote opportunities in the marine mammal field.
The most recent course I took was Dynamics of Marine Ecosystems, taught by Dr. Diana Townsend. I truly loved this course and that it had our course project focus on an entire ecosystem and how the various biological and physical processes interact together. The work we did each week tied directly into the ecosystem processes described in our required reading for that week, which really helped make the text applicable to real-world scenarios. We were tasked with selecting a Marine Protected Area (MPA) to focus on for the course project, and each week had an assignment that led to taking a deep dive into the processes at work in our chosen area and how threats from climate change such as warming ocean temperatures and ocean acidification can impact our MPA.
Overall, working on the course project and making management recommendations for my MPA was my favorite part of the course, but I also really enjoyed two of our discussion posts, one where we narrated the physical processes happening in a video with our best David Attenborough imitations and the other where we posed as a sea creature impacted by ocean acidification. We made Twitter posts describing how the animal is affected and suggestions for action. Both really brought out my creative side and were a fun way to show my understanding of what we were learning in class.
One of the things I love about Unity is how interactive the professors are, making students feel connected. The coursework I have completed so far at Unity has helped me see how much I would love to teach others and share my passion for and knowledge of marine mammals! In addition to finding remote work I can primarily do from Iowa, I would also love to educate and hopefully inspire future generations of marine scientists.”
Unity College student Kate recently took the Dynamics of Marine Ecosystems course at Unity College with Professor Bruce Stephen.
“Before Unity, I was a little lost on how I wanted to achieve my goals. I had graduated college with a BS in Environmental Studies, but that was unfortunately in 2020, right after we got shut down. I am currently working full-time as well as attending Unity fully online. I have lived in Albany, NY my entire life. While I do enjoy New York, my dream is to live in Cape Cod, MA.
I chose Unity because it seemed like an amazing opportunity to achieve my goals in a way that worked in my work schedule. I remember the day I found Unity’s website and inquired, I got a call right back from a lovely representative who answered all my questions and helped me choose my major.
I am currently getting my Masters in Marine Science. Grad school was always a goal of mine, but I was never sure how to get there given the way the world was changing around us.
I hope to get out of this education diverse knowledge of the field I want to work in to make me feel secure in myself professionally and personally. I also hope to gain connections and networking skills that I can use to further my career path.
What I liked most about my Dynamics of Marine Ecosystems class was the interactions we all had with one another, especially the professor. Dr. Bruce Stephen is an incredible educator and made me feel seen, even from behind the screen.
My career goal is to work in marine mammal rehabilitation. I have loved animals my entire life, and am incredibly invested in their well-being. I have always known I wanted to go into rehab, but it wasn’t until I saw what Unity had to offer that really cemented my course of action. I’m very grateful for what Unity has done for me so far, and I can’t wait to earn my degree.”
Graduates | Alumni Working in the Field | Current Students | Student Internships & Experiences
Urban Ecology and Sustainable Planning
Wildlife Conservation and Management
Meet Unity College student, Tay, recently took the Capstone course at Unity College with Professor Nathaniel Bickford.
“Before Unity, I was enrolled in an M.S. Ecology program where I was a graduate research assistant in Florida A&M University’s Groundwater Biodiversity Lab. Upon reviewing my curriculum and the course requirements for wildlife biology careers I realized that I needed to find a program that would more directly prepare me for a career in wildlife biology. Amidst the quarantine and looking for another program I stumbled upon Unity College and I enrolled immediately!
Unity provided me with a relevant curriculum as well as providing distance learning, which was very useful considering the impacts of COVID 19. I am earning my Master’s in the Wildlife Conservation & Management program. I am hoping to gain the necessary coursework, skills, and knowledge required to begin a career in the realm of wildlife biology.
I really appreciated the pacing of the class, feedback via discussion posts, and the professional development reflection assignments.
I am now set to gain field experience so I’m hoping to secure an entry level job or internship in wildlife management & conservation. Following my project I would also like to continue to explore ways to increase minority and urban participation in wildlife recreation as I would love to see more people like me in the field and joining the conservation movement. With that in mind I would also like to explore public outreach and social media initiatives with those goals in mind.”
Unity College student, Karen, recently took the Wildlife Ecology and Management course at Unity College with Professor Joe Caudell.
“Hi! My name is Karen Boerner and I am from North Texas. Before starting at Unity, I was approaching my third year of working as an Animal Care Staff member for my current zoological facility. I am still working full-time at the zoo while earning my Master’s degree in Wildlife Conservation and Management, Conservation and Management track.
I chose Unity for several reasons, they had classes that I felt would prepare me best for my future career, the 8-week class schedule allows me to focus on the class I am currently enrolled in while keeping a quick pace, and because of their commitment to the environment and the future environmentalists that they teach. I am hoping that with this degree I will be able to communicate the plight of wildlife more effectively, and what it actually means to participate in conservation and management, to the general public through public outreach and education.
This past semester I took the Wildlife Ecology and Management course with Professor Joe Caudell and learned several valuable lessons. My favorite parts about the class were, first, exploring all aspects of wildlife management including economics, disease, climate change, and much more. Then, I really enjoyed that for our final project, I was able to explore the management of a species of my choice. It caused me to really connect with the lessons because I was able to dig into the management aspects of an animal I am passionate about.
In the future, I plan to remain in the zoo field with a focus on education and outreach to ensure that more people develop a love of nature and animals so that they can be stewards for the ecosystem in their own communities.”
Unity College student, Monet, recently took the Climate Dynamics course at Unity College with Professor Erik Larson.
“I live in a suburb of Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, and currently work for a well-known, respected travel management company as a global project manager. I have been in travel since 1996 in many different roles. Prior to that, I worked in the music industry.
I dropped out of college the last semester of my senior year in 1990. It always bothered me that I didn’t finish. In 2019, a friend challenged me to complete my undergrad degree. So, at 52, while working full-time, I went back and graduated in the Spring of 2020. When I went back, I had already decided that I wanted to pursue a Master’s degree in Conservation or Sustainability. I looked at many colleges and universities, but I kept coming back to Unity. The faculty were experts in their fields, still worked in their chosen profession, and taught at other well-known universities. The level of experience, current relevance, and extensive knowledge was the deciding factor along with being able to complete my entire degree online while working full-time. Seven courses down and I haven’t had a single regret about my choice. I won’t lie, my first term was TOUGH, but you learn to develop a flow and focus.
My major is Wildlife Conservation Management. I hope to complete my Master’s this spring and I’d love to work in conservation. I want to contribute to the greater good and make a difference. I’ve still got a lot left to give. I am considering a second Master’s in either Environmental Studies or Marine Science – also at Unity.
Climate Dynamics with Erik Larson was excellent. I could have spent a whole second term just on that topic. Erik was always available, was engaged, and incredibly knowledgeable. On each and every discussion post he would ask questions to make you think a little harder and deeper.”
Unity College student Mariah recently took the Wildlife Ecology and Management course at Unity College with Professor Joe Caudell.
“Hi, I’m Mariah and I live in New Lebanon, New York with my fiancé Tyler and two pups, Jake and Mac. I’m working towards a Master’s degree in Wildlife Conservation and Management at Unity College.
I chose Unity because the program is well suited for working professionals, is interactive, and energizing. My experience at Unity has nurtured my curiosity and passion to connect people to the natural world and support my work as Community Conservation Manager for the Berkshire Natural Resources Council.
The Wildlife Ecology and Management course with Dr. Joe has been a highlight so far. The research project, class discussions, and supporting materials have guided my understanding of the interconnected nature of wildlife management and human dimensions.”
Unity College Distance Education Graduate student Dylan recently took the Wildlife Ecology and Management course with Dr. Bonnie Gulas-Wroblewski.
I joined the Air Force as an Explosive Ordnance Disposal Technician straight out of high school, I thought I’d never go to school again. I’ve been in the Air Force for 11 years now and I’ve lived in Florida, Colorado, Turkey, Guam, and my current location, Germany. Around 2017, I changed my mind and changed my degree plan to Environmental Science with a focus on fish and wildlife management, I finished that degree in June of 2021.
I am pursuing my master’s degree in wildlife conservation and management. Unity offered the exact program that I was looking for at a lesser price than the other few schools I found with the same program. Also, Unity seemed to have a good reputation for what I had read. And the motto “America’s Environmental College” kind of stood out to me.
Dr. Gulas-Wroblewski was the most engaged instructor/professor I’ve had in an online course. I’ve found that a lot of instructors are there just to mediate, but Dr. G had valuable input during all the discussion posts and assignments, and she was constantly challenging us with questions during the discussions. It was nice to have an instructor that seemed to genuinely care about educating their students.
I’ll retire from the Air Force in 9 years, and from there I’d like to end up in Tennessee working at a state or national park as a wildlife manager. But who knows, I’ve been to more than 30 countries, and I’ve fallen in love with traveling, so I might try to find a job that incorporates both travel and wildlife management if that exists.
Graduates | Alumni Working in the Field | Current Students | Student Internships & Experiences
Graduates | Alumni Working in the Field | Current Students | Student Internships & Experiences
Student Internships & Experiences
Work and Travel While Earning Your Degree
Unity College Student Talia is in the Master’s Program in Marine Science. Talia has spent years working with whales in Washington State, California, and Hawaii. She has carefully considered options for earning her Masters Degree. It is important to Talia that she does not need to be geographically tied to one place. Distance Education at Unity College has made it accessible for Talia to earn her degree while living and working wherever opportunities take her.
Internship at the Plumpton Park Zoo
Brooke interned at the Plumpton Park Zoo in Maryland working with exotic animals.
“The best part of the internships is being able to do them when it is convenient for me. I make my school schedule around when I am able to intern which is awesome. This way I can devote my time to working with the animals when it is needed for the facility,” Brooke explains.
Internship at the Nashville Zoo
Unity College Student Victoria Kennedy is in the B.S. in Wildlife Conservation Program. Victoria interned with the contact area department of the Nashville Zoo working with the kangaroos in the “Kangaroo Kickabout,” where the public is free to walk along an open-air pathway through the kangaroo enclosure. She feeds the kangaroos, cleans the enclosures, and monitors health concerns.
Earn Your Degree and Start a Fulfilling Career With Animals
Unity College Graduate Ellen earned her Master’s of Science in Professional Science in Sustainability Science. Ellen is currently working as a Primate Keeper at the Houston Zoo in Texas. At the zoo, she is responsible for cleaning, habitat maintenance, feeding, medicating, training, record keeping, data gathering, problem solving, grounds maintenance, and preparing for hurricanes.
Last Updated on March 20, 2023