Is this an area you’ve always been interested in, or did you take a round-about route to get here?
It was a round-about route, but when I think back on it, I’ve always been very interested in and engaged in outdoor activities- everything from fishing, to hiking, to rock climbing, and things like that. And I think having kind of that core-foundation of interests gave me something to build on when I started thinking about what I was going to do in school. I’d say the most interesting thing about school, and one of the reasons I mentioned time management, is that although you do pick up the language and you do pick up the information base and skills from school, if you can’t manage time appropriately then it’s harder to apply the information that you have derived.
What would you consider your most important real-world experience?I would say that one of the most important real-world experiences that I had was what actually got me to consider going to college to begin with. I had dropped out of school. I had gotten my GED, so I had the diploma. I did that at a very young age. I moved out of my house when I was 17 years old and just went to work in the real world. And I had been engaged with some friends in falconry, and had been flying falcons and things like that, and we had come up with an idea to go to Hawaii and spend several months doing research on the Hawaiian hawk, which is a species that’s indigenous to the Hawaiian Islands. It is found nowhere else in the world and it’s very unusual for that type of bird to have evolved in that area. We spent several months there, we filmed the birds, we did some of the research that we could at the University in Hawaii, meeting with some of the professors and folks like that. And that enabled me to look back at myself and understand that I didn’t have all of the strengths that I needed to actually put all of this information into a package and really organize it quite well. So I would say that was kind of a watershed moment which caused me to seriously consider going back to school based on that experience.