Southwest Region
Conserving the Nature of America
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Developing Future Conservationists at the University of Texas at San Antonio 
September 2017

Dr. George Perry, Dean of the College of Sciences, Dr. Tuggle, and Dr. Janis Bush, Department Chair, Dept. of Environmental Science and Ecology, join Dr. Tuggle after he accepted the award presented by UTSA students to express their appreciation to the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service. Credit: USFWS. Dr. George Perry, Dean of the College of Sciences, Dr. Tuggle, and Dr. Janis Bush, Department Chair, Dept. of Environmental Science and Ecology, join Dr. Tuggle after he accepted the award presented by UTSA students to express their appreciation to the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service. Credit: USFWS.

This fall, college students around the country are making decisions that will determine the course of their lives. Deciding what interests and passions to pursue, and how to turn those into a career, will have far reaching consequences for them and for the companies, agencies and organizations they will work for someday. While some students may know precisely where they want to go and how to get there, others may need more guidance and career development.

The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service (Service) has a proud history of playing this role while cultivating the next generation of conservation leaders. The Pathways Program, Directorate Fellows Program, Youth in the Great Outdoors, Student Conservation Association, and Youth Conservation Corps all provide career pathways for young people. Now, in the Southwest Region, the Service is making further inroads toward providing students with the knowledge, skills and access they need to build a career with the agency.

In spring 2017, the Service’s Southwest Region and the University of Texas at San Antonio (UTSA) signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) to formally establish and define a collaborative working relationship between the two organizations. The focus of the MOU is to provide students with an understanding of the Service conservation mission, coordinate educational opportunities between UTSA and the Service, and facilitate experiential opportunities that enhance student career development.

“We want students to understand all the opportunities we offer,” said Joy Nicholopoulos, Deputy Regional Director for the Southwest Region. “Whether they are pursuing a degree in ecology, computer science or accounting, the Service has fulfilling careers in those fields worth pursuing.”

To kick start this new working relationship, members of the Southwest Regional Directorate Team visited UTSA on August 22-23, 2017 to engage in student outreach. Students heard from their professors on the value of partnering with the Service at their annual freshman evening get-together. The evening culminated with undergraduate students presenting an award to Dr. Benjamin N. Tuggle for his continued dedication and contributions to the students and Department of Environmental Science and Ecology. The following day, Service staff participated in a Q&A session with UTSA students, including follow-up individual discussions. Handout hardcopies of Service mission and career information were provided to the students.

Last updated: March 27, 2018