Student Spotlight: Pamela Deckert
Major: Associate in Science
Pamela Deckert always had a passion for animals.
“I spent much of my childhood outside in nature and being a zoo member,” she said. “I’ve always had more of a connection with animals than with people, and a career working in the field is where I need to be, especially when it comes to the ocean. I’ve always been so drawn to it. It’s one of those things you don’t really have an explanation for. I just know that it’s something greater than I am, and that I’m connected to it in some way.”
Deckert selected College of DuPage for financial reasons, but she truly enjoyed the experience.
“I was able to work at my own pace when it came to my education, and with being able to stay at home I could continue with my job as a dance teacher, which was a major plus,” she said. “With so many opportunities and classes to take at COD, I really developed as a person. I saw what classes really sparked my interest and built from there.”
These classes included experiential opportunities, such as the “Bahamas: Introduction to Tropical Marine Ecology” course offered through COD’s Field and Experiential program.
“When I first heard about a marine ecology class, it just had my name written all over it,” she said. “Then I received a scholarship that paid for the majority of my class, which allowed me to go. It was my first time out of the country and even on an airplane, so it was a huge deal. The campus I was at was the most incredible place I had ever been. It was completely sustainable, from the furniture to the food. Even all the fresh water on campus was obtained through an eco-friendly method. Everything had a purpose. I even got to meet other fellow vegetarians, so I felt like I finally belonged somewhere.
“We snorkeled every day and explored all different kinds of habitats. Each day in the field we did something different. We caught, tagged and released stingrays, turtles, bonefish and barracuda. I even got to catch and touch juvenile lemon and nurse sharks! I basically became an expert on the invasive lionfish, which I gave a 40-minute presentation on the first day there, because I got to see them in the wild. At 6 a.m. we headed out on boats for a free dive in a 45-foot deep area far from land. The reefs and organisms out there were incredible, and this was all before breakfast. That was probably my favorite part, but it is so hard to choose since we did so much in that short week.”
She then enrolled in another Field Studies course where she spent one week at Queens University Biological Station in eastern Ontario
Deckert is transferring to Salem State University in Massachusetts to pursue a bachelor’s degree in Biology with a concentration in Marine Biology. Her goal is to work on research in the field in New Zealand and Australia.
“My biggest passion is for the ocean, and I would like to work on conservation of marine ecosystems. Also as part of my career I'd like to be a mom – which, yes, is a career,” she said. “I not only want to inspire people around the world to love our oceans, but also to have a very passionate family and work together. Imagine a wildlife family like the Irwins – that’s what I want. I can’t wait to see what the future holds. I have always felt that the world would be my classroom, and I hope to make that happen. Next stop is Australia and New Zealand – at least that’s the goal!”
For any student exploring their college options, Deckert believes College of DuPage should be on their list.
“In high school, everyone is so quick to judge COD and it can be very discouraging,” she said. “In actuality, I feel that it is the best option. You will receive an amazing education without the debt that the universities will give you. If you are serious about learning and expanding your education, then College of DuPage is a perfect fit.”
College of DuPage
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2017 College of DuPage