Senior forestry major Taylor Jennings chose wildlife habitat management as a concentration, or maybe it chose her.
“I always knew that no matter what career path I chose in life, it would be wildlife-related,” said Taylor, who serves as the Conclave Chair of Tech’s chapter of the international non-profit Wildlife Society. “I changed my mind from marine biology to animal rehabilitation to veterinary medicine. It took a bit of exploring in college to find forestry, but ever since I have, my love for the outdoors and all of its inhabitants has grown each and every day, as I know it will continue for the rest of my life.”
She got a head start in the field due to her natural obsession at a young age “with nature documentaries of all kinds — from prehistoric life to the wildlife found in the many different ecosystems on the planet today,” she said. “I would also sit and just observe all of the animals in my yard, enough so that I could recognize individual squirrels.”
Unlike many of her peers in Forestry, Taylor wasn’t raised in a family of hunters or fishers. “They weren’t even involved in much outdoor recreation, she said. “But my family and many others have always supported me and been by my side.” With the help of Tech’s faculty and fellow students, she and the animals and the forests have done the rest.
“I came to Louisiana Tech because I knew that the education I would get here would be the absolute best for my money,” Taylor said. “Along the way, I’ve found that I’m getting an even better deal than I thought. The professors here at Tech care so much about their students’ well-being, not only while they’re in school, but also in their careers after graduation. Whether they’re helping us grasp the concepts and skills they teach and we practice out in the field, or bringing employers to us for interviews, I know I’m always covered. I know almost nobody who graduated that didn’t have a job lined up well beforehand: employers love Tech.”
Taylor has no specific plans after spring graduation other than she eventually wants to become a certified wildlife biologist.
“The more direct contact I have with animals,” Taylor said, “the better. I’d love to take the opportunity while I’m still young to be as mobile as possible and to see as much of the country (and its wildlife) as I can. I know that no matter where my path takes me, I’m meant to be there and will do my best to conserve the forests of North America and pass on my love and appreciation to anyone willing to listen. I’m so excited for my future in this profession and can only hope that I will give back as much joy and knowledge as I have gotten out of it.
“I could be anything from a forester with the United States Forest Service, a wildlife biologist with any state service, a private consulting forester, or tons of different positions relating to forests or wildlife,” she said. “While I don’t know exactly where I’ll end up quite yet, I know that there are so many opportunities coming my way because of Tech.”