Rayelle Sowers

Honours Bachelor of Environmental Management
Selkirk, ON

I was raised in a small town, a village rather, in Southern Ontario called Selkirk. My family later moved into a city, Brantford, where I truly started to grow up. People from these places don't leave very often; they finish school and settle down right where they grew up. I always wanted more than that. I wanted University. I wanted small classes and one-on-one time with my professors, the opportunity to make a difference, hands-on experience in my field, and I wanted adventure. I can gladly say that Lakehead has not been disappointing! 

Throughout my first year at Lakehead I got much more than I bargained for. I became part of something. There is an amazing atmosphere here at LU. The campus is large enough to encourage diversity, yet small enough that you're able to recognize people everywhere you go. It's a very unique community that I'm proud to be part of! The atmosphere around campus is influenced not only by the students, but by the professors as well. In every class that I have taken I have been beyond surprised with the experts that teach us. Not just a select few professors have impacted me; every single one has infected me with their enthusiasm for their fields and their genuine interest in the topics they teach, which in turn creates a desire for me to learn every day. They are always willing to spend extra time with their students outside of class if help is needed and they always encourage you to be curious and ask questions if you're having difficulty: they want you to succeed just as much as you do!

Even after completing only one year of classes so far, the knowledge that I have gained from my program has prepared me for exciting new opportunities in my field. This summer I have been working as a Summer Student Aquatic Wildlife Biologist for the Ministry of Natural Resources at the research centre on campus (Centre for Northern Forest Ecosystem Research). I have had the privilege of working alongside experienced scientists studying spatial ecology in Northwestern Ontario. We have been monitoring the songbird populations in forested areas, which were once harvest or disturbed. This data gives us an idea of the biodiversity that has been restored after disturbances and if the regulations and guidelines that are implemented to emulate natural processes have been effective. With hopes of one day becoming a Wildlife Biologist, this summer job has given me the perfect opportunity to learn the basic skills that I will need to conduct research and further my career in the future. Without Lakehead none of this would be possible!