Student Spotlight: Susan Graves

Susan Graves knew she wanted to study Biology since high school. Now, four years later, she will graduate college this May with a major in Biology and a minor in Chemistry. Pictured is Susan GravesBesides studying Biology, Graves keeps busy with the Student Nature Society, of which she has served as president for the past two years. She has also worked in the UNI Botanical Center and was an assistant coach for the local swim team, BLAST. During her free time, she enjoys volunteering at Hartman Reserve, spending time with family and friends, photography, traveling, running and being outdoors. Graves also has traveled to Europe, South America, Australia and New Zealand.

Graves chose to study Biology at UNI because of the size and location. She also liked the teacher to student ratio. When asked about her initial thoughts of UNI, she said, “My first impression of UNI was that it had a beautiful campus. Now, my impression of UNI is that it’s still a beautiful campus, but filled with amazing professors, students and opportunities.”

Graves also noted that the only thing that surprised her about UNI was the vast amount of activities and student organizations offered on campus. “There are so many great opportunities at UNI,” Graves said.

As mentioned above, Graves is a member of the Student Nature Society. She said of her time there, “My involvement in this club has enhanced my leadership and communication skills. I have gained many friends and have had great volunteer opportunities while being a part of this club.” Graves is also a member of the Omicron Delta Kappa National Honor Society.

Now, faced with graduation and future plans, Graves plans on attending graduate school. When asked how the Biology Department helped prepare her for the future, she said, “The Department of Biology has provided me with wonderful opportunities to visit graduate programs I am interested in. UNI Career Services has also been very helpful in helping me perfect my resume and preparing me for job interviews.”  

She offered advice to future students, and said, “Get to know the professors in the Biology Department sooner rather than later. All the professors are extremely friendly, interesting and want to help you succeed!”

During her time at the Botanical Center, Graves made many memories including the time her boss had to spend a half hour removing cactus spines from her hands after she accidently touched a cactus fruit. That memory doesn’t deter her from claiming the Botanical Garden, including the UNI Prairie Preserves, as her favorite spot on campus. She also taught Colombo, the African Gray parrot in the Botanical Gardens how to “meow.”

If Graves could do anything in the world, she would travel the world and take photographs. Her most memorable experience from UNI “was traveling with a professor and group of students to study amphibians in both Iowa and
West Virginia.”

Besides the trip to West Virginia, Graves also highlighted other events from her college career including: receiving 7th place in the women’s division in the UNI Run for the Preserves 5K, assisting Jeff Tamplin’s graduate student in her research, cleaning up a section of the Cedar River on an SNS canoe trip, camping with the SNS and organizing a plastic bag exchange for her Capstone class.