Spotlight Isabel Jalamov
Q&A with Isabel Jalamov, Senior, Environmental Studies Major; Hometown: Pataskala, OH
- ODNR Wildlife Education Intern
- President – Kent State Environmental Society
- Vice President and Social Media Coordinator – Future Environmental Professionals Club
What is your area of research or interest?
Environmental and Wildlife Education
What made you interested in pursuing this area?
When I started at Kent State as a freshman, I was pursuing a degree in Integrated Science Education in order to be a science teacher, which has been an aspiration of mine since high school. After about a year of taking classes within various disciplines of science, I found that my passions lie more in the realm of environmental science. More specifically, I enjoy learning about the ways people interact with the environment. Growing up in a pretty rural area, I have always had a profound appreciation for our environment, and I enjoy watching others experience the same sense of fascination and curiosity when immersed in nature.
How do your studies or classes at Kent State support you in your sustainability endeavors?
The interdisciplinary nature of the Environmental Studies program not only considers the science that explains the natural systems of the earth, but also incorporates other disciplines such as politics, sociology, economics, and geography in order to get a sense of the bigger picture. This is important to me because I believe that understanding the current state of our environment goes well beyond understanding the science behind it. In order to combat the climate crisis, we have to understand our relationship with nature as well.
What are your favorite accomplishments or projects you have worked on so far?
This summer, I got to work on a bat conservation project with the Division of Wildlife’s bat specialist. The project focused largely on bat population data, as bat populations are decreasing across the country as a result of white-nose syndrome. White-nose syndrome is a fungal disease that causes bats to leave their hibernation stage before their food sources are abundant enough to meet their needs. I got to do a combination of mobile bat surveys, where bat calls are recorded via a microphone strapped to the top of a vehicle, and mist-netting surveys, where bats are caught in a fine, nearly invisible net and studied. That was the first time I had ever been up so close to such an elusive animal, and I really enjoyed getting that kind of hands-on experience.
What type of work, research, or projects are you working on this year?
In May, I got hired on at the Ohio Department of Natural Resources Division of Wildlife headquarters in Columbus as a Wildlife Education Intern. Since then, I have been fortunate enough to work around the state, learning about Ohio’s diverse wildlife hands-on, as well as help instill a sense of fascination and care for wildlife into others while helping lead programs and workshops in schools and other facilities. I was also fortunate enough to have my summer internship extended through my graduation in December, so I will be working out of the division’s office in Akron until then.
What do you enjoy about being an Environmental Studies major?
The fact that the Environmental Studies program is still relatively small allows for a lot of one-on-one connection with faculty. This personal connection with faculty has allowed me to network my way into some really cool opportunities, such as my internship with ODNR.
What career or path do you see yourself pursuing after graduation?
After I graduate, I am hoping I can stay on with the state doing something in the realm of environmental education. I am also considering getting a master’s degree in earth science/environmental education in order to further my knowledge and give myself the option to work in a classroom setting like I’ve always hoped to do.
Can you tell us more about the student organizations you’re involved with and what they do?
I am the president of the Kent State Environmental Society, as well as the vice president and social media coordinator for the Future Environmental Professionals Club. The Environmental Society focuses on general sustainability efforts, while the Future Environmental Professionals Club focuses on professional development and career opportunities for environmental studies majors at Kent State. I am currently working with Dr. Kaplan to start a monthly newsletter for the Environmental Studies program, which will include ways to get involved in environmental student organizations, professional development opportunities, and other general announcements pertaining to the program. I also served as the EcoRep for Koonce Hall during the 2019-2020 school year.