David Cressy’s journey from his childhood home in Louisiana to graduating with a degree in Ecosystem Science and Sustainability at Colorado State University took an unexpected detour through the southern tip of South America.
“I graduated high school and was enrolled in the business school at Louisiana State. I had my dorm assignment, and everything,” Cressy explained. “It seemed like my path was absolutely made for me when I realized it really wasn’t what I wanted to do, and I kind of freaked out.”
After discussion with his parents – David, a pulmonologist, and Rebecca, a marriage counselor – Cressy enrolled in the National Outdoor Leadership School, a global wilderness and leadership school, and headed to Patagonia. “I was going for a new experience, and NOLS was the opposite of business school at LSU,” he said.
The six-month experience pushed him physically, mentally and emotionally. He worked as a ranch hand, climbed mountains and learned to lead others through challenging wilderness situations. And he discovered that he was not interested in studying business. “I realized that I wanted to dive into the real world, the physical world, not the business world,” Cressy said.
He searched online for universities that offered the type of program he thought he was interested in and applied to ESS in the Warner College of Natural Resources at CSU.
During his first day on campus, Cressy said he stopped for a cup of coffee at Sweet Sinsations in the Lory Student Center. “I asked for a cappuccino and a job and ended up working there for three years.”
Cressy has used his leadership skills in many aspects of his CSU experience. Kaye Holman, Cressy’s academic advisor describes Cressy as a gregarious leader.
“David immediately jumped into involvement in the ESS Student Club, eventually assuming the role of club president, which he has held for the past two years,” she said. “He has served as a WCNR/Alliance Partnership college student mentor to high school students from the CSU Alliance Partnership high schools, and he also served as a WCNR peer mentor for our freshmen participating in the WCNR Residential Learning Communities.”
Cressy credits Holman for presenting academic and internship opportunities for him that affirmed his decision to create a career dedicated to environmental sustainability. He currently is interning with a legal firm in Louisiana, assisting with discovery and case analysis for an environmental lawsuit that is being prosecuted there. His goal is to earn a law degree and work in environmental law.
Although disappointed that commencement has been postponed until December, Cressy said he will come back to Fort Collins then to celebrate his achievement.
“My time at CSU has been a 180 for my life,” Cressy said. “Without the opportunities I have been offered here, I would not be where I am today … or where I’m headed.”