Student Spotlight: Austin Ahlert

Austin Ahlert

Austin Ahlert
Major: Biology/Zoology
Hometown: Carol Stream

Austin Ahlert grew up surrounded by pets, so it's little surprise that his career would involve animals.

"I've had dogs, fish, frogs and hamsters, and while they're fun to play with, they're also interesting to watch," he said. "When we visited the zoo, the variety of animals spurred my interest because of their differences. Each animal is unique in its own way."

Ahlert is studying biology and zoology at College of DuPage. As a Presidential Scholar, he has received a full-tuition scholarship and enrollment in COD's Honors program and the Phi Theta Kappa Honors Society. And because he's financing college on his own, the choice was easy.

"COD is helping me to finish my general education requirements in a timely and inexpensive matter while providing a very good education," he said.

As for the future, he plans to transfer and eventually earn a master's degree. Although he doesn't have a dream job, Ahlert knows where his interests are leading him. 

"I've watched shows on Animal Planet that show the diversity of animals," he said. "I would watch 'River Monsters,' 'Mutual of Omaha's Wild Kingdom,' 'The Crocodile Hunter' and other shows that followed this pattern of one person exploring and searching for animals. I like to see what lives around the world.'River Monsters' is interesting because I like to fish and because of the mystery the water holds. I would never think to find those fish in freshwater close to home.

"I've thought about either working at a zoo or an aquarium. I would probably prefer the zoo because I'm leaning toward specializing in one animal, so I would be able to work with and interact with them easier than at the aquarium. Although I haven't chosen a specific career, I know I want to find a job that I like and want to come to."

More about the Biology/Botany/Zoology program