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Abigail Waugh

Abigail Waugh wearing a WVU Mountaineers sweatshirt
Recreation, Parks and Tourism Resources
Class of 2020
Burceton Mills, West Virginia

What is your favorite quote?

“Talk is cheap… it is the way we organize and use our lives everyday that tells what we believe in.” - Cesar Chavez

What book would you recommend and why?

My go-to recommendation is The Soul of an Octopus by Sy Montgomery. It’s a super interesting read about octopuses, aquariums, and animal behavior. It raises some good questions about captivity, our understanding of consciousness, and how humans relate to animals. Also, I think Sy Montgomery is a fantastic naturalist writer. She’s a really good example of taking scientific content and crafting a really engaging story that helps people relate with, understand, and appreciate wildlife and nature.

What do you love most about your major?

I would say I have three favorite things about the recreation, parks and tourism resources program. First of all, it’s a small and close knit program. I know a lot of the people in it, and have created strong connections and friendships with people of similar interests and career goals. Secondly, I really appreciate that I can go easily to the faculty of RPTR with issues or ideas and they will work with me and help me connect with resources, because they care about their students and are invested in seeing that we get the most out of our experience at WVU. Finally, I love that students have the ability to tailor aspects of the program to their career goals. It’s a pretty broad major, just about all of the RPTR students I know are heading in slightly different directions career-wise and their experiences reflect that.

What are your career goals?

My current career goals are to achieve a masters degree in environmental education and to be an environmental educator, specifically working with children. Long term, I’d like to eventually reach a program coordinator type of role in an agency or organization where I would coordinate and oversee a host of environmental education programs and support other educators.

What is a cause you're passionate about?

I’m passionate about getting kids outside. I believe every child everywhere should have the chance to experience the outdoors and to play and explore in it without interference, and then have the opportunity to learn about how the natural world functions. I think this is critical if we want conservation to have a future, and if we want to have happy, healthy, curious, and adaptive children. To me, if we want society to thrive, those need to be two of our top priorities: the health and stability of our planet, and the wellbeing of our children.

What makes the Davis College special?

The Davis College is a really exciting, inviting, and collaborative environment. It covers such a wide variety of interests and skill sets, resulting in some really creative collaborative projects. We’re really encouraged to interact with the different disciplines housed within the college and to acknowledge that everyone brings unique and valuable perspectives and strengths into a situation. We’re taught that for society to function and advance we need innovation in all of our different fields. This is especially evident in Davis college’s emphasis on promoting and working towards sustainability in many fields.

What are some of your favorite classes?

Some of my favorite classes are those that explore how humans relate to the environment, like the human dimensions of natural resource management and environmental and cultural interpretation. I love learning about what natural places and resources mean to people and how we can help them protect, appreciate, and connect with them.

What advice would you give to incoming students?

My advice to incoming students would be to take every opportunity you have and to actively seek out more. WVU and Davis College can take you to amazing places and lead to truly incredible experiences. Don’t be afraid to try new things, step out of your comfort zone, or to work on creating your own opportunities to do something totally unique. There’s a lot of resources for you here at WVU, you’ll never know what you can do with them until you try.