Making the most of your college education

Graduating in May with a double major in biology and biochemistry, Courtney Massey has certainly made the most out of her time at UNI. She is now looking ahead at graduate school to study ecology and conservation.

“Majoring in biology and biochemistry has allowed me to transform my childhood love of nature and science into a career path,” explained Courtney. “I have always wondered about why and how the world works the way it does and these areas of study have taught me how to see my queries from a new perspective.”

Courtney Massey

Throughout her years at UNI, Courtney has been involved in the Honors Program, the Model United Nations competition team, the American Chemical Society, and STEM Ambassadors.

Courtney’s childhood love has blossomed at UNI thanks to her professors, her coursework, and her extracurricular involvement. Throughout her years here, she has been involved in the Honors Program, the Model United Nations competition team, the American Chemical Society, and STEM Ambassadors.

Each organization has benefitted Courtney in a different way, further enriching her knowledge outside of her major.

“As a member and co-director for UNI’s Model United Nations competition team, I learned how to think about issues from outside of my personal perspective and gained speaking skills that have made me more confident in sharing my knowledge with others,” she said.

In May 2017, Courtney also had the opportunity to work for a wildlife sanctuary organization in Namibia and a desert research site. During her time there, she cared for animals unable to be released in the wild and worked on desert restoration projects.

“I was able to work on projects related to everything I love about the field I’m pursuing, and I’ll never forget how it felt to make a beneficial impact on the desert ecosystem there while also being able to participate in research that will further help to protect the native wildlife.”

Courtney is now in the process of achieving what she is confident will be her greatest success at UNI—her senior thesis. “Everything is finally coming together from the lab work and data analysis, and once it is written I will have completed my first major research project and fulfilled the requirements for my major and honors designation,” she explained.

When asked what piece of advice she would give to other students, it was no surprise that she suggested pursuing a wide variety of activities.

“If something catches your interest, hop on it. Out-of-classroom experiences, especially those that push you out of your comfort zone, have the potential to teach you a lot about yourself and can often help reveal and refine passions and help you shape where you want to go in your career and life.”

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