Interview with Krista Daniels

Major

Biology

Current Position

Naturalist

GC Graduation Year

2000


Why or how did you choose your field?

I always wanted to be a veterinarian. I’ve always loved animals and wanted to work with them. After I finished my first semester of organic chemistry, I decided the field of veterinary medicine was not for me. With this new perspective on my career (or lack of direction towards one), I spoke with my advisor, Mary Linton. She connected me to a few field projects involving a tree study on campus and a salamander study at Merry Lea. That experience, along with my love for the outdoors I had established as a child, was all it took. From there I enrolled in classes that took me to Merry Lea, including General Ecology, Bio 340, Land Management and Environmental Chemistry.

What’s exciting about your job or field?

One of the things I love about my job is the variety of what I get to do. One day it might be creating an interpretive poster about clouds on the computer, the next may take me to someone’s backyard to “rescue” a snapping turtle from their swimming pool, and the next I may lead a group of preschoolers through the woods looking for bird nests. It is nice to have a job that provides the excitement of the unknown almost everyday. It keeps me on my toes and I enjoy that a lot.

Another very meaningful part of my job is that I get the privilege of being with children (and sometimes adults) when they make a connection and get an appreciation of nature for the first time. It is hard to explain, but I am grateful for the opportunity.

What has been a challenge in your career journey?

The biggest challenge I have faced in my career journey has been achieving a sense of belonging and importance with coworkers. Coming from very different backgrounds, it can be a challenge to find common ground.

How did your liberal arts education assist you in your journey?

I believe that my liberal arts education helped me by molding and preparing me to have an open mind. You never know who you will work with or for, so it is best to have many experiences before you get there.

What advice would you give to a young person just starting out?

I have some quotes taped to the wall in my office: “I can’t help the way I feel, but I can help the way I think and act.” “The only limitations I have are the limitations I place on myself.”

It is okay to say “I don’t know” and there is nothing wrong with asking for help. Sometimes that can be hard to do when you have the pressures of being new bearing down on you.