2016, Honors College
Growing up in the mountains of Warrenton, Virginia, Tabitha King (Environmental Science ‘16) was always surrounded by nature. King’s exposure to the natural world sparked her interest in the environment that she later turned into a career. “Being exposed to nature all throughout my childhood, I developed an interest in conservation and learning about the natural world,” says King.
King entered Mason’s Honors College in Fall 2014. During her junior year, she completed a semester at the Smithsonian-Mason School of Conservation (SMSC), participating in the Wildlife and Ecology Conservation Program.
While studying at SMSC, King took courses ranging from Biodiversity Monitoring, Landscape & Macrosystems Ecology, Conservation Seminar, and Research in Conservation.
The Research in Conservation course - offered through HNRS410 credit - helped King strengthen her science communication skills. “The class helped me look at my research topic from an outside perspective, getting to the root of the important questions I needed to emphasize in my research,” says King.
Prior to her semester at SMSC, King was part of an OSCAR summer research program at the Potomac Environmental Research and Education Center. King investigated the presence of pharmaceutical micropollutants in Hunting Creek and Gunston Cove on the Potomac River. She played a dynamic role in the program, collecting field data alongside other professional researchers. “It enhanced my laboratory skills that I went on to incorporate in my time at SMSC,” says King.
Looking back on her undergraduate career, King reflects positively on her research experiences, expressing that the Honors College’s interdisciplinary program exposed her to a variety of perspectives. “You’re constantly being exposed to scientists that are saying different things, all on one campus,” says King, who is pursuing her Master of Science at Mason, studying Environmental Science and Policy.
Original reporting by Leah Antler. Photo of Tabitha King speaking: by Leah Antler. Photo of Tabitha King using equipment: courtesy of Smithsonian-Mason School of Conservation website.