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Career profile: Courtney Wright ('11), Northwoods Wildlife Center

May 15, 2015

In an effort to give our current students a look at the opportunities that await them after graduation, we reached out to a few graduates to check in on the many ways the Nelson Institute helped shape them into the employees, alumni and leaders they are today. View the full series of career profiles here

Courtney Wright graduated in 2011 with a bachelor's degree in environmental studies and zoology. 

Nelson Institute: Please provide an overview of your current position.

Wright: I am currently the assistant director of education at Northwoods Wildlife Center located in Minocqua, Wis. Northwoods Wildlife Center is a 501(c)(3) nonprofit wildlife rehabilitation and education center that cares for 400-500 animals a year, as well as educating 30,000-plus people on topics related to the natural world. 

"I was in the first graduating
class with the environmental
studies major and it has helped
me tremendously in my line of
work. Not only did it help in
teaching me policy and conservation
techniques, but also providing future
networking opportunities."

In my position, I help in all areas of the Center, from bringing educational programming to area schools, to creating and carrying out fundraising events, to assisting in wildlife rehabilitation practices. 

How do you feel attending UW as a student in the Nelson Institute prepared you for this work?

As a double major in zoology and environmental studies, I believe that the Nelson Institute helped in providing me with a more well-rounded learning experience. Aside from the science-based courses I took in the zoology department, my environmental studies courses helped me in understanding much of the environmental policy and conservation, as well as how to better educate others on the natural world and how to preserve it. 

How do you apply this knowledge to growing as an employee and as a leader in the workplace?

As I said before, I work very closely with the public at my job at Northwoods Wildlife Center. The course I took through the Nelson Institute prepared me in talking with people and educating them in a way that they can understand. I have gained background in conservation that will continue to help me in my work with wildlife rehabilitation.  

What advice do you have for current Nelson students?

Get as involved as possible and get to know people (students and faculty) in the department. I was in the first graduating class with the environmental studies major and it has helped me tremendously in my line of work. Not only did it help in teaching me policy and conservation techniques, but also providing future networking opportunities with other Nelson Institute graduates.

This interview is part of a series conducted by Johanna Wirth, a life sciences communication and environmental studies double major graduating in May 2015.