Student Spotlight: Matthew Brousil
Major: Transfer/A.A. and A.S.
Matthew Brousil, who graduated from Lyons Township High School, chose College of DuPage after receiving a scholarship to the Glen Ellyn institution.
During his time at COD, Brousil was a member of the Living Leadership Program, the Student Leadership Council and the Endowment for Future Generations.
“During my first year, I was just feeling my way around and getting a handle on the atmosphere,” he said. “But I knew how important it was to get involved with other students and learn from their perspectives.”
Brousil was equally impressed with his instructors, including Casey Slott, associate professor of Speech; Richard Jarman, professor of Chemistry; and Michelle Moore, professor of English. It was Moore who told him about Evergreen College in the state of Washington.
“She thought it was the perfect fit for me, so I visited and fell in love with it,” he said. “She was the one who ultimately gave me the idea to explore environmental studies.”
In 2011, Brousil earned both Associate in Arts and Associate in Science degrees and was named one of the two Outstanding Graduates. At Evergreen, Brousil focused his studies on Agroecology and sustainable agriculture. He worked as a farm assistant intern with a local organization in Olympia called Garden-Raised Bounty (“GRuB”), using this internship for academic credit.
“I consider myself lucky for finding classes that offered almost entirely field-based work, and which set students up for faculty-supported independent research options,” he said. “I was able to take part in a backpacking trip and field ecology course in Patagonian, Chile, through the Wildlands Studies consortium program. The trip was a great follow-up to the Costa Rica Study Abroad I participated in at COD and served as an interesting comparison between environments and lifestyles in Central and South America.
“With some guidance from Dale Simpson at COD, I also spent a week backpacking and touring Easter Island at the end of my Chile trip. I’ve kept in touch with him since I took his People and Cultures of the Pacific class, and I’ve been working with him in selecting a graduate school for a master’s or Ph.D. program.”
In 2013, he began working as an Associate Editor of both Psychology & Social Sciences, and Physical Sciences, Mathematics, & Engineering for the Journal of Young Investigators, an online undergraduate research journal. He later became a research editor and is now managing editor of the Journal.
Brousil graduated in 2014 with a dual BA/BS degree focusing on Ecology and Sustainable Agriculture. In finishing the program, he helped to instruct and tutor the sustainable agriculture program that brought him to Evergreen in the first place. The opportunity allowed him to communicate his favorite principles from the class while feeling like both a part of the student body and instruction team.
He currently is in his first full-time position post-graduation as an Agricultural Technologist in the WSDA Entomology Lab in Olympia, Wash., which will last until November. He also accepted a funded research position for a Masters in Forest Science at California Polytechnic State University in San Luis Obispo, where he will move in December or January. His future advisor, Dr. Sarah Bisbing, grew up just outside of DuPage County.
“Through the MS position, I will participate in research into the response of coastal redwood forests to environmental disturbance and climate change throughout California,” he said. “I see this as my next step toward a Ph.D. It’s an opportunity that I’ve been preparing for through my previous coursework in Evergreen’s Field and Ecosystem Ecology Lab, as well as with the ongoing support of the Honors faculty that I met at COD.”
Eventually Brousil would like to go into research and then teach.
“I want to pass along what I’ve experienced at COD,” he said. “I want to help kids discover how exciting it can be to explore something in-depth and then turn it into something they can pursue in their lives.
“I honestly had no idea how great a resource College of DuPage was going to be for me, and I know that I would have ended up following a completely different and less planned path if it wasn’t for people like Dale who were available to me through the school.”
(Photo by Kelli Finet)
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