EMU Alum, Class of 2019
Biology Major, Chemistry Minor
Specialization: Ecology, Conservation, and Invertebrates
What inspired you to pursue a degree in Biology?
"I was always the kid playing around in the dirt and collecting weird bugs. I especially liked cicadas and the exoskeletons they’d leave behind on trees. As I got older and throughout high school I really took a liking to art and graphic design, but still didn’t have a clear path. When I got into Eastern I thought I would try and become a nature videographer, basically I wanted to be the guy who filmed all the cool stuff for Planet Earth. I figured I should at least take one biology course to help me know what I was talking about. That did it for me. I realized why would I want to be the one behind the camera when I could be the one actually interacting with the animals!"
Dallas is completing an internship this summer through the Student Conservation Association (SCA) as well as through AmeriCorps (the interior version of the Peace Corps). He will be working for four months in White River National Forest as a fisheries technician. There he will be doing everything from electroshocking for fish, doing counts of invertebrates, helping out with many endangered or threatened species including amphibians and fish, removing old abandoned campsites that now threaten parts of river that are home to some of these endangered animals, as well as general ecosystem quality checks. Dallas says, "the best way I can describe it is backcountry conservation. Most weeks we’ll be hiking out to a remote location and camping there for multiple days before heading back."
What part of your internship excites you the most?
"EVERYTHING! The location is absolutely spectacular, White River National Forest is incredible. On top of the location I’ll be spending the majority of time working with threatened or endangered species, which is rewarding in its own right. All of that while camping and hiking! How could it get any better??"
Why did you choose this internship?
"It is expenses paid. I have very strong negative feelings about unpaid internships. The SCA offers expenses paid internships, that is they cover travel, housing, and provide a small living allowance for groceries. Through AmeriCorps my loans are also deferred for the time I am there as well as any interested paid. I also receive a nice scholarship that covers loans as well. I don’t have to worry about how I’m going to afford to eat while working full time. That’s nice."
What do you hope to gain through your internship with Americorps?
"Experience. Not just experience to put on my resume but actual real life experience. I really like trying out all my possible options; I’ve worked with most types of animals and have found the ones I like the best. I’ve also worked in the agricultural industry in a lab setting and enjoyed that. So I figured the biggest change would be working in the public sector outdoors! Plus I’ve never worked in a fisheries before so that will be interesting."
How has, or will your time at EMU influence your future endeavors?
"My time at EMU has been everything. The friends I’ve made here will last a lifetime. EMU has presented me with so many opportunities I would not/could not have had otherwise. I am proud to have gone to this university and I am proud to have been part of the biology department here."