- An ecologist.
- A long-distance runner.
- From Shoreline, Wash.
- A gardener.
Curious about the Natural World
Hannah Vietmeier is turning her love for the outdoors into a career in conservation.
As a child, Hannah Vietmeier went on nature walks and left no rock unturned — and at Willamette, she continues training her eye on nature.
The summer after her sophomore year, Hannah worked with biology Professor Susan Kephart through Willamette's Science Collaborative Research Program to examine the way insects pollinate the camas flower.
Then she traveled to the Rocky Mountain Biological Laboratory in Colorado to join a research team studying the effects of soil nitrogen levels on flowering plants in the genus Ipomopsis.
"I'm so thankful to have found a mentor in Dr. Kephart," Hannah says. "She has really taken me under her wing. She helped me get my research assistant job in Colorado, and she later encouraged me to study abroad in Australia.
"To be treated like a real scientist as an undergraduate is really valuable."
Why I Value Willamette
"As someone who plans to major in biology and minor in English, I appreciate that Willamette encourages diverse academic interests. The more I learn about different fields, the more I learn about the ways they come together.
"Practicing writing for English helps me to write and think clearly when I need to create something for biology, while my biology writing has helped me be more precise when I'm writing for other types of discourse."
After graduation, Hannah hopes to obtain a volunteer position with Earth Corps or the Washington Conservation Corps. Both are Americorps programs that tackle environmental conservation issues.
Her eventual goal is to work in environmental management, preferably in the forest or wetland landscapes of the Pacific Northwest.
"I want to be the synthesizer, the person who hears the reports from the soil scientists, the water-analyzing chemists and the field researchers, and then decides what should be done overall with the project. I'm not sure if I would even have realized that was something I could do if Willamette had not exposed me to a more interdisciplinary way of thinking about things."
Beyond the Classroom
Hannah's love for the outdoors also manifests itself in her extracurricular activities.
"Running has given me focus and taught me a lot about motivation," she says. "The Willamette cross country team during recent years has been as good as some Division I schools, but at the same time, there's not as much pressure — athletics are important at Willamette, but we're here to be students first. My education is most important."
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