Students with science and nature-based majors are motivated to make change
First-year students at Humboldt State University made it a goal to continue learning in an online environment. Each of the following students are pursuing a science-based major with determination to impact the future.
Sabiha Bentanzos is majoring in forestry with an emphasis on wildland fire management.
“I actually want to become a wildland firefighter,” Bentanzos wrote in an email. “I want to persevere in the forest as much as I can and save lives while I’m at it.”
While becoming a wildland firefighter doesn’t require a degree, Bentanzos wanted to attend HSU to prove female capability in a male dominated field.
“I also want to prove to myself and others that a female can get a degree in a male-dominated field like forestry,” Bentanzos said.
In science class, Bentanzo was assigned a poster group project. The project restored her passion for forestry and has been her favorite assignment of the semester.
“I have a passion for fire awareness and safety and doing the project reignited my passion,” said Bentanzos.
Tori Bernal was a wildlife major when she first attended HSU. She’s completed multiple projects both interactive and hands-on, despite being 100 percent online. Despite her love for veterinary work and rehabilitation, she switched to be a forestry major after taking a botany course and spending time in the forest here in Arcata.
“I grew and tested cyanobacteria in water from the Klamath River from the safety of my dorm,” Bernal said over email. “I realized majoring in forestry would be a better fit for my long term interests… I actually fell in love with it.”
In the midst of a pandemic, Bernal discovered her true interest and what she truly wanted to get her degree in.
“I am not 100 percent sure what I am looking to get out of my degree. I am not even sure what I want to do career-wise,” said Bernal. “But I know that the forestry program will help me to explore my interests and options in the coming years.”
After originally being a wildlife major, Lake McLeod made the switch to a political science major. Lake McLeod is majoring in political science to create change. He wants to become a civil rights attorney and go to Berkley for law school after HSU.
“The science would kind of be the psychology of people, kind of learning how people identify with their own political views and how people act and react to certain things,” McLeod said. “Especially with everything going on right now, I decided to switch to political science because I want to kind of be more in that realm and help people with civil rights and equal rights especially.”
Regardless of the instruction state utilized at HSU, 2020 has motivated students to hone their skills and interests in hopes of making an impact in the future.