2020 Warner graduate highlight: Daniel Dominguez

5 Questions with 2020 Graduate Daniel Dominguez, Ecosystem Science and Sustainability

2020 graduate Daniel Dominguez, a senior watershed science major in the Ecosystem Science and Sustainability department, is reflecting on his time at Warner College at Colorado State University.

Dominguez, a non-traditional and first-generation student, was recently awarded the prestigious Marshall Scholarship, offered to only 45 other students in the United States for 2021, as announced by the British government.  The scholarship gives American students the opportunity to study at the United Kingdom’s top academic institutions.

Dominguez will attend Scotland’s University of Glasgow in Fall 2021 to pursue a master’s degree in sustainable water environments. Then he will attend either the University of Oxford in England or the University of East Anglia in England in 2022 for further study.

Looking back on his time at CSU, Dominguez has answered five questions to sum up his time as a Warner Ram, what he’s looking forward to and giving advice to freshman starting their journey at CSU.

Q: What are your future plans?

A: I got a position as a NASA DEVELOP intern, so I’ll be doing that for the spring semester. I don’t know exactly what project I’m on yet. I asked them to clarify, because there are two options in Fort Collins. One of them is mapping the burn severity from the fires in the summer. The other one is mapping riparian vegetation, and pairing it with citizen science observations. Either way, I think one of the big highlights is being able to give back to the community that’s helped me out so much. I have no plans for the summer, but in the fall, I am moving to Scotland as part of the Marshall scholarship to begin my graduate degree studies.

I am going to relax a little bit because, on average, I probably worked like 60- to 70-hour weeks, for three and a half years. I’m definitely going to get my mind straight before I go to graduate school because I’m sure I’ll be back to a rigorous study schedule soon enough.

Q: What is your dream job?

A: I think it’s working for the U.S. Department of State or the United Nations in their water resources division. I want to be able to allocate foreign aid and help with water development in rural communities, so that they can get equal access to water.

Q: What is your favorite memory at Warner College?

A: Yeah, actually I have two really fun memories. The first one was in South Africa in the study abroad program, just sitting around a fire with my peers, asking questions and listening to the locals tell us about their lives. That was part of the Communities and Conservation: South Africa program led by Dr. David Bunn and Dr. Melissa McHale. Then my last two summers I spent in Yellowstone and Grand Tetons with the Colorado-Wyoming Louis Stokes Alliance for Minority Participation program with Dr. Gillian Bowser, camping up there and chasing butterflies and hiking all day. It was really taxing, but really fulfilling to be able to like step away from technology and connect with nature. It was really fun.

Q: What will you miss most about CSU?

A: Probably the partnerships that the university has around the city. I think they’re really in touch with the city and all the nonprofits that do work here in town. I think that I’m going to miss being able to hear about all the different work that people are putting in to make sure Fort Collins is a leader in sustainability.

Q: What is your advice to incoming freshmen at CSU?

A: I think it’s just to apply to the programs that you don’t think you’re qualified for. I think a lot of people tend to get scared about them being such a prestigious thing. They’ll think “I can’t apply for the NASA program” or “I can’t apply for the Marshall Scholarship.” But I think, just apply. I never thought I would get the Marshall Scholarship. Even getting just an interview is like a prestigious award. I think students just need to be able to try for all these different opportunities. All these programs are there to build their capacity as students and help them learn and become the scientists that they have the passion to be.