MacKenzie Dooner, 2017, Ecology and Evolutionary Biology

This summer, I worked with the Northern Kenya Conservation Clubs (NKCC) alongside Nancy Rubenstein of the Mpala Research Center. These after-school clubs run in 12 schools in the Laikipia district, with the aim of instilling students with ecological awareness through experiential learning. Over 300 primary and secondary school students participate in club activities and conservation projects. My role this summer was to deliver lessons on topics ranging from the water cycle, to behavioral adaptations, to the value of biodiversity. I worked side-by-side with a college-bound intern from the Mpala village to deliver the dynamic NKCC curriculum to one after-school club each day. I became fully convinced of the importance of environmental education, especially in the developing regions of the globe. I was so struck by the ecosystem dynamics in Laikipia that I decided to change concentrations from geology to ecology and evolutionary biology when I returned to Princeton in the fall.