In honor of Women’s History Month, celebrated annually in the month of March, we highlight women in the Warner College of Natural Resources who are making change to create opportunity, invite and celebrate diversity and lend their voices to the natural resources fields.
Valerie Carrol is a third-year Warner College of Natural Resources student majoring in Human Dimensions of Natural Resources at Colorado State University. Carrol was inspired to join the natural resources field by visiting the beaches in her hometown of Santa Barbara, California.
Carrol is currently enrolled in the HDNR capstone class where she and her group are completing a semester-long case study on diversifying visitation to Rocky Mountain National Park. As part of the Honors Program, she is also in the process of proposing a thesis inspired by the Intersectional Environmentalist non-profit organization.
Carrol, who is an intern in the WCNR Diversity and Inclusion program, hopes to create a student club that spreads IE resources and organizes intersectional events inspired by different disciplines to connect with students inside and outside of WCNR. After graduating, she would like to work at a conservation-based non-profit or nature camp as an environmental educator.
Q&A with Valerie Carrol
Can you share with us a highlight in your student career?
One highlight in my student career has been being part of the Pulliam Scholars program. I encourage Warner students interested in environmental education to consider applying to the program. Through this program, I’ve learned more about environmental education and being an environmental educator. My favorite part of the program is that our cohort gets hands-on experience. We’ve had the opportunity to write a lesson plan on fire restoration then implement it on field trips with 4th graders from local schools, and most recently we’ve been mentoring high school students through a FEMA grant proposal about combating natural disasters. It’s been really fulfilling to watch younger students connect with the outdoors and learn more about themselves.
What has been your role in the Untold Stories series for WCNR DEI? How has the series promoted women in natural resources history?
I’ve been part of the Untold Stories series team for the WCNR Diversity and Inclusion Office since September 2021. This role has given me the opportunity to collaborate with some amazing people and work with them to uplift stories that have been buried in history by more mainstream natural resource icons and stories. It’s important to show people interested in the natural resources field that it’s more diverse than it seems from the surface. Especially as a woman in the natural resource field, it can be hard to find professionals that look like you when looking back into natural resource history. The Untold Stories series team shares stories about different communities and individuals to show our audience that anyone can pursue a natural resources career.
Do you have any women who have inspired you or mentored you in your NR studies?
There are many women that have inspired me in my natural resource studies, students and faculty alike. I appreciate my women HDNR peers that bring their various experiences, perspectives and ideas to class discussions. Rebecca Gruby and Anna Lavoie are two HDNR professors that continue to inspire me as I pursue a career related to conservation and DEI. Their commitment to integrating DEI principles into their classrooms and into the HDNR department motivates me to continue placing DEI at the forefront of my academics and career.
What advice do you have for women entering this degree field?
The most important piece of advice I have for women entering this degree field is to respect yourself, your values and your abilities. Remember to prioritize your own health and values, and to acknowledge your own skills and knowledge. There are many different career and academic related opportunities to take advantage of as CSU student, but don’t feel like you have to be involved in every possible opportunity to be successful. Find a balance between work and rest that works for you.