After graduating from Midland High School, Kendalyn Town found out it's not how far away you go for college, it's all about what you do when you get there. And at Central Michigan University, we do.
"I think a lot of students from Midland want to leave and go far away," said Kendalyn. "But I say, don't be deterred by the fact that you're not that far away from home. You have a lot of opportunities here. Just be open to new things. You can have the full college experience close to home."
She likes the vibe here. She's close enough to home to have her younger brother come for Siblings Weekend, a chance to show off everything you do to a younger family member. And it's big enough that she can have an impact on sustainability as part of the Community of Future Environmental Scientists. She'll be joining the group's leadership next fall as the secretary.
"It's all about your personal experience here," said Kendalyn. "You can participate in more things, and the professors care about you and your work."
She's had plenty of opportunities to get firsthand experience in her environmental science major. Last fall her class conducted soil and water tests at a certified environmentally friendly farm owned by one of her professors. Her class got to use a variety of high-tech instruments to test for contaminants.
"We have several classes in my major that involve fieldwork and getting out and practicing the techniques you would actually use in the industry," said Kendalyn.
Kendalyn took what she learned about identifying sources of pollution right into her Honors Program capstone project. She's researching the use of wetland vegetation as a measure of environmental health. Monitoring coastal wetlands around the state, she and her fellow classmates will be adding to a study of these wetlands that CMU has been working on for more than 10 years. This long-term study was recently awarded an additional five-year, $10 million grant by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency that will chronicle how conditions have changed and the effects of human encroachment on these wild areas.
It's exciting work and Kendalyn is proud to be able to add her knowledge to this important study.
She's discovered you don't have to move far away from home to make an impact. If you want to create a sustainable future, you can start close to home.