Bailey McNichol graduated in December 2015, earning a BS in sustainable forest resources and a BA in Spanish. This December, she will complete her MS in forest resources at the University of Georgia, where she focused on entomology, researching the southern pine beetle and several pine engraver species.
“I felt lucky as an out-of-state student to be able to attend UConn,” McNichol says. “I was excited about the faculty and opportunities available. I was able to find a place for myself at UConn and fully immersed myself in the experience. I appreciated every single day I was on campus, and the fact that I had access to a high-quality education and faculty that cared about me as a person and pushed me to keep learning. Having the additional financial support of scholarships made it easier in terms of my debt after graduation.”
“I came in as an education major, but decided I wanted a stronger science background. The natural resources program gave me the opportunity to spend time outdoors and get excited about forestry.”
McNichol plans to continue her education with a Ph.D. related to forest ecology and tree physiology. She would like to attend a school in Minnesota, Oregon or New Mexico, to study forests in a different part of the country. “I want to shift my focus from entomology to broad forest ecology,” she says.
Long term, McNichol is interested in an academic appointment that involves extension. She would also be open to a state-level forestry agency combined with an adjunct faculty appointment or position at a community college.
“I want to do something that involves research and teaching with a strong outreach component, “McNichol says. “I feel passionate about spreading scientific information to the broader public and increasing awareness of what scientists do and why that is important. I’d like to get people excited about understanding their environment and getting students outside and engaged with the material.”
McNichols particularly enjoyed classes at UConn that were taught by professors with decades of experience in the forestry field.
“I’d love to someday be that person with a large body of experience accumulated through teaching and research and sharing that enthusiasm with other people,” she says. “It’s so much more inspiring and fun as a student when the person teaching really cares about what they are doing.”