Student Spotlight

By Savannah Hoag, CSU student

Colorado State University junior Daniel Kelley knew he wanted to be a Ram from the very beginning.

CSU was the only school on his list, thanks in part to the natural resources program in the Warner College of Natural Resources. Kelley studies conservation biology and hopes to conduct field research for managing wildlife in Colorado national parks.

“I didn’t want to be a doctor and I knew I didn’t want to be a lawyer,” Kelley said. “I knew I wanted to go into natural resources, so I was looking at places. It was really convenient that CSU happened to be the highest for that program.”

Although Kelley knew natural resources was the field for him, he decided to take a gap year. Kelley worked, traveled and as he describes, “did some soul searching.”

“I deferred and it was the lowest stress, but I made the right choice,” Kelley said. “I went to France and Spain for two months just sort of wandering around. I had a lot of time to figure out what I wanted to do with my life.”

As a high school graduation present, Kelley received a course through the National Outdoor Leadership School. During the course, he spent thirty days mountaineering in the Cascade Mountains in Washington. It was through the NOLS course where Kelley’s dreams of working in the natural resources industry were affirmed.

“I tried out traveling and spoke with someone in the natural resources industry, and realized that this was a field I could go into and be successful in,” Kelley said.

As the youngest of three, Kelley was the last one out of his parents’ house. He knew that by coming to CSU he would face some financial issues along the way, and wanted to alleviate the financial pressure on his parents.

“I’m the third kid out of the house, and my parents are actually retiring this year,” Kelley said. “I’m trying to make it on my own by paying my own rent and food.”

Kelley spends his time doing what he loves working at the Environmental Learning Center, thanks to the CSU Alumni Association’s Metro Denver scholarship. The scholarship helps many students, like Kelley, who are trying to make ends meet while simultaneously receiving a degree.

“Having the extra help from the scholarship took a lot of burden off of my mind, as well as mine and my parents’ wallets,” Kelley said. “It’s been empowering me in working toward the job I want.”

Kelley is grateful for the aid he received and is thankful for the generosity of those who choose to support higher education through scholarship donations.