Woman graduate student in nature
“Being in nature always makes me feel like my family is with me.” – Yvonne Schramm, Conservation Leadership Through Learning graduate student

Warner graduate student on path to educate future stewards of the land

By Heather Bradley

From the weeping willows in South Africa to the red rocks in Moab, nature always has found a place in Yvonne Schramm’s heart. Schramm is finishing up her first semester as a Conservation Leadership Through Learning master’s student and is on a path to educate and inspire others about protecting natural resources for future generations.

“My parents ignited a passion for the outdoors in me at a very young age by encouraging my brother and I to explore,” said Schramm. “Being in nature always makes me feel like my family is with me, even if they are far away, so I love being outside.”

Coming to Colorado from her home country of South Africa wasn’t easy, but with the love and support from her family she was able to create a home at Colorado State University.

When she first came to CSU, she had no idea that Warner College of Natural Resources was an option. She was enrolled in the veterinary program and hoped to work with animals. Her path changed when she took Rick Knight’s environmental conservation course. She was immediately drawn in by his passion and went to see an advisor about adding a conservation major. She switched majors soon after that talk and has never looked back.

Learning to lead

“Without a doubt in my mind, Mountain Campus was the most valuable, thrilling and exhausting time of my undergraduate degree,” Schramm said. “It is where I learned so many new skills and met some of the most incredible humans at CSU.”

She used those skills to become a teaching assistant at the Mountain Campus, spending most of the summer between graduation and the start of her master’s work sharing her experiences with other natural resources students.

The idea of learning to teach and lead wove its way through her entire undergraduate journey. While she navigated the rigors of earning a science degree, she also worked as an educator for the Environmental Learning Center and as an ambassador for the Office of Admissions.

“Through her passion and reliability, Yvonne constantly kept the ambassadors grounded,” said her Admissions supervisor, Ruben Nunez. “She was a role model to not only the team but also me as her supervisor, I have learned a lot through seeing her compassion for students, families, and her colleagues.”

Her compassion also showed itself through her work at the ELC, where Schramm was instrumental in helping to create a new after-school program in partnership with Poudre School District.

“Yvonne is a wonderful educator and has made an impact on every child that she has worked with at the ELC,” said Kristin Wilkinson, program coordinator for the ELC. “She gives dedicated attention to each child she works with and ensures that they feel a sense of belonging.”

Schramm wants to use her environmental teaching experiences and graduate work to help her launch her own non-profit environmental education center someday, she said.

“I hope that my passion has shown and that there are at least a couple of children who have made connections with the outdoors and want to become future stewards of our land.”


The CLTL program is open for admissions through March 1.