Undergraduate Student Profiles

 

Stephen Hnatuk is working to chart his course to the future, by being extremely involved within the College of Agriculture, Health and Natural Resources. Driven by his passion for the environment, he has created a variety of opportunities for himself. Stephen enjoys learning about water resources, our environment and the world. Read more about Stephen’s experiences as a UConn Student.

What attracted you to UConn?
I came to UConn undecided about what I wanted to study. I knew UConn would have a lot of opportunities for me to explore. I was also attracted to the wide variety of clubs and academic programs available.

What is your major, and why did you choose it?
I am double majoring in natural resources and the environment and applied resource economics. I chose this path because I have always had a love for the outdoors and conservation. When I was in high school, I took a marine science course, which opened my eyes to a lot of environmental issues. I discovered that I was interested in water and saw its importance as a resource for life in our world.

Which one of your UConn activities, internships or jobs was the most memorable? Why?
Since the beginning of the summer, I have been interning at the United States Geological Survey. I have appreciated being able to apply the knowledge and skills I have learned in school. For this internship, I do a lot of field work, including taking discharge measurements in streams and rivers. I enjoy being able to engage in problem solving at this internship. There is always something new that I’m unprepared for, but I like taking on the challenges.

Name two other experiences that have enriched your studies.
This semester, I began working as an ambassador for the College of Agriculture, Health and Natural Resources. I like being able to help students who are looking for information and guidance about what they want to study in college. I also went on a study abroad to Rome, Italy where I learned about ancient water systems and Roman history. I saw how progressive ancient Romans were for their time and how their advancements profoundly affect our lives today.

What was the biggest challenge in your UConn career?
The biggest challenge in my UConn career has been discovering how my academic interests correlated to a major. When I came to UConn, I had a pretty broad focus and wasn’t able to find my niche right away. Through participating in clubs and programs, such as Eco-House, alternative breaks and research in the natural resources and the environment department, I was able to find what I enjoyed doing.

When do you expect to graduate? What then?
I am currently a senior graduating in December 2018. After graduation, I hope to continue working at the United States Geological Survey. Then, I want to pursue a graduate degree a year or two later in order to study something relating to water hydrology.

Is there anything else you would like us to know about you?
The biggest thing I have learned during my time at UConn is that it’s not where you start, it’s where you finish.

By Erin Norris



As a UConn athlete, Julia Schnelting is always working hard at both school and rowing. Julia is a foreign exchange student from Germany and has overcome a language and culture barrier to be a student in America. Her outgoing personality has helped her to find a home with the UConn Women’s Rowing team. Read more about Julia’s experiences as a UConn student.

What attracted you to UConn?
I initially came to UConn to be on the Women’s Rowing team. In Germany, it is very hard to combine sports with school. I had heard about students coming to the United States to play sports. So, I applied with an agency that brings athletes from around the world to the United States to participate on college teams. I was then approached by coaches to be a part of their rowing teams. Although I was unable to visit UConn, I liked how the school looked in pictures, and I had a good feeling about attending here.

What is your major, and why did you choose it?
I am a senior studying applied resource economics in the Department of Agricultural and Resource Economics (ARE).  In Germany, I had previously been studying sale engineering and product management, which was more engineering based. I thought ARE was a little strange at first, since it was in the College of Agriculture, Health and Natural Resources, but when I did more research, it seemed like a good complement for my major back at home.

Which one of your UConn activities, internships or jobs was the most memorable? Why?
Rowing has been the most memorable activity for me on campus. Last year, our UConn team made it into the biggest competition, which was very exciting. Being on the rowing team has given me the experience of being on a college sports team that I had hoped for when I came to the United States.

Name another experiences that have enriched your studies.
Last spring, I had the opportunity to attend a workshop on discovering your leadership skills. This fall, I facilitated that workshop and helped to lead it.

What was the biggest challenge in your UConn career?
The first few weeks in the United States were hard because I had to adjust to life away from home and the different academic environment here. It has been a continual challenge to get used to life in a new country.

When do you expect to graduate? What then?
I expect to graduate in May 2018 and will be returning to Germany to complete the bachelor’s degree that I began there. Eventually, I would like to get my masters at a school in Germany and then return to the United States for a PhD program.

Is there anything else you would like us to know about you?
I love living in the United States and being part of a team here. In Germany, I was always the only girl participating in sports. It is very exciting to come to America and see all the women involved. All of the sports in America are so much bigger and have a greater team feeling, which I love.

By Erin Norris

After moving to Connecticut from Indiana, Audrey Folta has been actively involved in exploring and promoting the major that made her feel at home. Folta, a junior studying applied and resource economics in the Department of Agricultural and Resource Economics (ARE) with a business minor, was an environmental studies major her freshman year. Her switch to ARE opened up a number of opportunities for study and travel. Here is what she said about her experiences as a CAHNR student.

What attracted you to UConn?

I grew up in Indiana and my father, Timothy Folta, taught at Purdue University. When I was a junior in high school, he got a job at UConn. I stayed in Indiana and graduated. When I was applying for colleges, I sent an application here. It was the only one I sent outside the state of Indiana.

What is your major, and why did you choose it?

My major is resource economics. I started in environmental studies as a freshman and changed to resource economics at the start of my sophomore year. I enjoyed environmental studies, but it wasn’t exactly what I wanted. I found it to be more about environmental rights and I wanted to learn more about the business side of things. I met with Associate Professor Morty Ortega and he advised me in this direction so I switched my major.


Which one of your UConn activities, internships or jobs was the most memorable? Why?

After my freshman year, I went to China for a month as part of the Environmental and Natural Resources Education Abroad Program led by Professor Xiusheng (Harrison) Yang. We spent our time traveling around the country and learning about different water systems, farming and sustainable development. It was an incredible experience.

Name two other experiences that have enriched your studies.

I’ve been working with Professor Rigoberto Lopez as a student marketer to help promote the ARE major. I’ve visited different classes and represented ARE at career fairs. Once I began doing it, I noticed that people began to recognize me around campus, especially professors, and it helped me to make connections and build relationships. I’m taking a break from doing that now, but I plan to continue it in my senior year.

At the beginning of my sophomore year, I joined the resource economics club. The president of the club at the time, Chris Bruno, really pushed me to get involved. I’m the secretary now and I’m hoping to move into the presidency next year. In the club meetings, we talk about everything from important issues to study tactics. ARE is a small major so you see the same faces in most of your classes and it’s nice to get to know them better.

What was the biggest challenge in your UConn career?

It was hard to find where I fit when I first got here. I liked environmental studies and I was interested in it, but I knew I needed it to have another spin. Even when I switched to resource economics, I wasn’t entirely convinced I made the right choice. Although once I started to immerse myself in it, I really grew to love it.

When do you expect to graduate? What then?

May 2018. I’m considering going for my PhD, but I want to take two or three years and find a job. I’m hoping to find a management position in the environmental division of a company. I know previous students that have majored in resource economics and loved their post-grad jobs so that’s encouraging.

I think if I pursue a PhD, it’ll be in economics and I’ll possibly focus on business structure.

Is there anything else you would like us to know about you?

For the last two years, I’ve attended the Global Trade Symposium. It’s a great event to learn more about the produce industry and to network. I would encourage students to put themselves out there. For me, with this major, there are a lot of possibilities and flexibility in what I can do. It’s important to know what options are out there.

By Jason M. Sheldon

Department of Agricultural and Resource Economics
University of Connecticut
1376 Storrs Road, Unit 4021
W.B. Young Building
Storrs, Connecticut 06269-4021

Phone: (860) 486-2836
Fax: (860) 486-1932

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