Q&A With Kyle Watkinson

Watkinson is a senior in natural resource science and management

Why did you decide to come to the University of Missouri and major in natural resource science and management? What do you enjoy about the program itself? The field of study?

Having grown up in the Columbia area, the question “Where do you want to go to college?” has never been tough to answer. I am a legacy student who has been chanting “MIZ-ZOU” since preschool. As luck would have it, CAFNR offers one of the most high-quality educations in Natural Resource Science and Management in the nation! I developed a passion for the outdoors and conservation at a very young age. Hunting, fishing and just being outside played prominent roles in my life growing up, and I learned at a young age that responsible use of these natural resources is crucial for these opportunities to be available for generations to come.The Natural Resource Science and Management major here at Mizzou gives you the opportunity to tailor your degree to what you are most interested in, preparing you for your intended career.

How have you used resources in the CAFNR Academic Programs Office (student services, career services, advising, study abroad)? What was your experience like?  

As students in CAFNR, we are very fortunate to have access to the CAFNR Office of Academic Programs. College can be a tough journey at times, but these resources are made available to us to ensure that it goes as smoothly as possible. I have utilized CAFNR Career Services numerous times for tips on resumes and interviews, how to prepare for career fairs, and to search for job opportunities. I also meet with my academic advisor multiple times throughout the semester to discuss questions that I may have and ensure that I am on track for graduation. It is evident through these experiences that CAFNR faculty genuinely care about our success as students while also being devoted to preparing us for life after college.

CAFNR’s RISE Initiative encourages students to have a variety of extracurricular experiences during their time at Mizzou (Research, International, Service Learning, Experiential Learning). What parts of the RISE initiative have you taken advantage of so far, and which do you plan to? What have you enjoyed about these experiences?

CAFNR’s RISE Initiative really encourages students to get the most out of their college career. While being a student here at Mizzou, I have had the opportunity to become involved in and hold leadership roles for multiple student organizations including, Conservation Leadership Corps and Missouri Collegiate Conservation Alliance. I have also recently joined the School of Natural Resource’s Student Ambassador Team, where I hope to become more involved in events, communicate with alumni, and talk with current and prospective students. In terms of the experience aspect of the RISE initiative, I have had the opportunity to work for both the Missouri Department of Conservation as a Wildlife Resource Assistant and for the University of Missouri as a Laboratory Technician in the Serology Department of the Veterinary Medical Diagnostic Laboratory. These experiences have been invaluable and have further prepared me for life after college.

What has been your favorite activity or experience of being a CAFNR student?

Since becoming a student in CAFNR, I have most enjoyed the opportunity to share my experiences with others. While being a member of the Conservation Leadership Corps, I have been able to converse with high school students who have interests in conservation and natural resources to ensure that they are aware of the opportunities available here at the University of Missouri. I have also stayed involved with my high school FFA chapter where I can use my education and experiences to assist with coaching and foster interest in the Forestry and Grasslands Evaluation Career Developments Events.