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Meet the Grads: Christian Harris

Photo of man holding bird

MORGANTOWN, W.Va. — “Before starting college and during my first few semesters, I wish I would have known how valuable and important it is to have both professional and friendly relationships with advisers and faculty mentors,” West Virginia University graduating senior Christian Harris said.

Fortunately, Harris still reaped the benefits from relationships he was able to form during his time here. He will graduate from the WVU Davis College of Agriculture, Natural Resources and Design with a bachelor’s degree in wildlife and fisheries resources. Because of positive experiences with professors and research, Harris has decided to attend the Davis College in the fall to earn a master’s degree in wildlife and fisheries resources with a focus in avian ecology and biology under Christopher Lituma, associate professor of wildlife and fisheries resources.

From East Liverpool, Ohio, a river town where Ohio, Pennsylvania and West Virginia meet, Harris chose to come to the Davis College specifically because of the wildlife and fisheries resources program.

“Compared to a lot of other schools, this program fosters a much more intimate and close-knit environment,” he said. 

What extracurricular activities or clubs did you participate in during college, and how did they enhance your overall experience?

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“During my time in the Davis College, I participated in both the West Virginia Chapter of the Wildlife Society and the American Fisheries Society. As a new student coming into the program, these clubs helped me connect with others in my program and get involved in volunteer work that eventually led to my own independent research.”


What resources or support systems did you find most helpful during your college journey, such as mentors, advisors or campus services?

“The support I found most helpful was by far from my research mentor, Professor Lituma. All my research, conference presentations and academic performance thrived from having a mentor that I could go to with any questions I had.”

What internships, research projects or study abroad experiences have you had and how did they impact you?

Photo of man standing next to research poster

“I interned in multiple research laboratories in Percival Hall, working on projects from wetland restoration to avian community research. Additionally, I conducted two independent research projects, one in former professor of wildlife ecology and management James Anderson’s lab and another in Professor Lituma’s lab. Without these experiences I would not be the student or researcher I am today.”

What are your future goals?

“After I obtain my graduate degree, my goals are to work for either a state or federal agency, preferably the U.S. Forest Service, as a research/avian biologist or ornithologist in West Virginia.”

What advice do you have for current Davis College students?

“Build professional and friendly relationships with your advisers and mentors. Whether it be showing up to office hours every chance you get or being involved in their work, it is extremely valuable to have professionals in your field of study right here for you to be involved with.”

What advice would you give to your high school self?

“Be more confident in who you are and what you can do. If you truly set your mind to something, no matter what it is, you can achieve that.”