Honors Student Spotlight: Nikki Novak
Major: Environmental Studies
Hometown: Ashland, Va.
Why did you choose to be an Honors student?
I chose to be an Honors student because I knew that being part of this great community of scholars would offer me excellent academic opportunities to help further my career as well as provide a social network of support to which I could reach out to anytime I needed help.
What has been one of your best memories as a student in Honors?
My best memory as a student in Honors has to do with a class I took called "Avian Ecology and Conservation," through which I discovered my passion for birds, got to start great mentorship with my professor and eventually plan and conduct my very own research project that I have even presented at a professional conference! I have loved learning about birds and getting the opportunity to investigate my own question about the physical differences in a species of bird called the Swainson's Warbler. The coolest part was capturing birds in the net and getting to handle them with my own hands!
What has it been like to study abroad?
I have studied abroad two times now: San Jose, Costa Rica in Spring 2020, and Montevideo, Uruguay Spring 2022, and I must say: It has probably been the absolute best part of my college experience! I have learned about different cultures and customs, learned Spanish, discovered my passion for the environment, explored new places and made so many new friends. Studying abroad has provided me with a new perspective on life, allowed me to continue to be open-minded and provided me with opportunities to connect with people from other cultures. It has helped me grow as a person and I would highly recommend it!
Studying abroad has provided me with a new perspective on life, allowed me to continue to be open-minded and provided me with opportunities to connect with people from other cultures. It has helped me grow as a person and I would highly recommend it!
What are your future career goals?
After I graduate, I plan to pursue field job opportunities both in the U.S. and abroad and complete a master's degree in wildlife biology, conservation or ecology. Eventually, I want to have a career in conservation and work to protect endangered species and vulnerable habitats.
What advice do you have for younger or prospective students?
My advice for prospective students is to make as many connections as possible. Talk to your peers, your professors, your advisors or anyone you meet on campus. You never know who you may meet and what opportunities they may know of. Also, be involved in the VCU community! Join a club, a sport or study group or become a student leader.