Shaelyn Predmore- Pine Island MN – $1000
I chose the biology field because I have always had an interest in the way the human body works. Since I was three years old, I knew that I wanted to be a doctor. I have always loved helping others as it brings me an abundance of joy. Through school, I have gained a deeper interest in the human brain and how all the systems work together to keep us functioning. From my freshman year of high school and having the opportunity to take Biomedical Science class which opened the doors to the medical field, to my recent college Biology classes, I have been able to dissect a sheep brain, pig heart and fetal pig. I found it very fascinating how similar they were to those of a human. I remember being amazed by the fact that the different parts of the organs that we learned about in class were right there in front of me physically. I knew from the first moment that I needed to be in the medical field in some way. I continue my exposure to the world of biology through the two biology courses I took in college this year, specifically getting done first and being asked by my professor to show others my way of how it worked. Due to my experience in trapping and hunting and learning the life cycle of animals, I naturally did not have the distaste that others were showing during this, often a barrier to being successful in a biology lab environment. These classes have broadened my perspective on the natural and physical world, and next year will advance that even further once I take a course on genetics. Another aspect of my life that influenced my career choice was my father and grandpas. Ever since I was a young girl, my father and grandpa took me out hunting, fishing, and trapping. Through these experiences, I was able to learn so much about the natural world around me.
No matter what kind of action we had, my father would always make a point to teach me something while we were out there. Many times, we would stop on the way to our tree stand so he could show me an animal track and teach me about that animal. Now, as a young adult, I find myself doing the same thing, as when I am out hiking, I often find scat and tracks from animals. Thanks to my father, I can identify them and be curious about the world around me. I am very thankful that my father taught me how to trap. He took me out every year and taught me how to trap. My grandpa also made an impact on me. Before he passed, he was a medic in the war. I can recall my father telling me stories about how my grandpa had a dream of becoming a doctor. Unfortunately, he was never able to. From hearing these stories, I was inspired to live out my grandpa’s dreams. When I was a young teen, my grandpa had a kidney transplant. Miraculously, he was able to receive his kidney from my father. Following them through their journey of the transplant, doctor appointments, and surgery, I saw first-hand how amazing the human body and medical field is. These components influenced my choice in biology because of both the human and natural world elements that it has to offer. I am extremely fascinated by how nature works and how the human
body works. By studying biology, I will be able to learn a little bit about both and am intrigued by how parallel human and animal behavior can be. I also feel these men were and are leaders in this world, which I strive to be through being a leader in my classes, joining the Biology Club at the University of MN Duluth where I can volunteer at the local hospital, making blankets for the children in the hospital and approaching a professor to start some research projects.
My first long term goal is to graduate from college with my Bachelor of Science degree in Biology, with a minor in Psychology. I am already halfway through this journey. I came into college with many credits from post-secondary during high school, and I now have my first full year of college under my belt. I am currently taking three summer courses and will be able to graduate a year early. I have been selected to take a master’s level Psychology class this Fall, called Cognition and Emotion, which I am elated for this experience and challenge. My second long term goal is to graduate from medical school. I have had this vision since I started as it entails not only knowledge, but experience. This summer, I have been working at Cottagewood Senior Community and have completed the training to become a Resident Assistant, working in cottages with those that have Alzheimer’s and Dementia. My third long term goal is to become a neurologist. After taking psychology courses in high school and several this past year, I have grown fascinated with the brain and how it works. Given my interest in neurology, my employment at Cottagewood has been a very comfortable transition for me and I continue reading about the brain and dementia as well as hands on learning with residents at this wonderful facility. My first short term goal is to lose fifteen pounds. Through hiking, working out and yoga, I will become healthier and begin to see improvements. My second short term goal is to raise my GPA by getting an A in Genetics. Although I had good grades in high school and school always came easy to me, college proved to be more challenging than I expected. My first semester threw obstacles at me that were hard to overcome. I worked harder in the second semester and saw improvements. With continued determination and hard work, I believe that I can get an A in Genetics in the fall and boost my GPA. My third short term goal is to become more confident with myself. Through continued college presentations, group work and volunteering, I will continue growth in my confidence, as I did during my first year already. I am a leader in many things and so proud of it. In five years, I ideally see myself healthy and deep in my journey in medical school. I hope to attend medical school in Florida, or somewhere down south, which will give me diversity, variety of knowledge and fulfill my love of traveling.
My definition of conservation is protecting the world around us. It is important to conserve and manage the environment because it is the only home we have. If we do not protect our world, we ultimately will not survive. Eventually, our environment will be ruined, and this will in turn kill off our wildlife. Without wildlife, we may not have any food or water. Our ecosystem will be ruined. If we do not protect our environment, then we cannot protect ourselves. I feel that part of protecting our environment is also educating others, modeling, and showing others how we can take care of the environment. For example, when I go shopping, I bring my own reusable bag instead of using the provided plastic ones. This helps the environment by limiting the amount of plastic and waste in our landfills and waters. I have also grown a deeper love for plants and nature through the biology courses I have taken this year and visiting the greenhouse on campus to learn more. We learned so much about plants, their life cycles, and how they impact and contribute to our ecosystem. We also learned how to reduce our carbon footprint and contribute to a healthy impact on our world. I now have many plants and have introduced my roommates to the fun of caring for plants as well! This is another example of how nature lives in my everyday life, no matter what the season may be. In a spring psychology class, I studied how the earth grounds you, and how animals in the wild have a sense of belonging and soundness, unlike many humans who are under stress and rigorous timelines. I learned that on a stressful day, I walk barefoot through the grass, on the earth, gaining my connection to nature, and feeling my purpose.
I have attended the MN Trappers Association Convention every year with my family since I was a baby. I took for granted what was instilled in me as a trapping family, until I realized that others did not know or fully understand. As I think about it and teach others about trapping, I know that trapping contributes to our society by keeping the ecosystem healthy. The past few years at the MTA Convention, I have helped with demos and kids’ activities, and these experiences have raised my awareness that these kids are our future, are eager to learn and it has given me gratification in being a part of that. By managing the population of animals, it keeps their worlds healthy and thriving. If we did not maintain the animal population, they would be killed off by lack of food or the human world. For example, trapping coyotes helps the farmers produce more milk by limiting the number of cows killed, or of chickens killed who were laying eggs. This helps the economy by increasing the number of dairy products used by the whole world. By buying and selling furs, this helps the economy. It also helps those who own trapping businesses. By having this knowledge, I educate others about the positive aspect of trapping. This will help me to advocate for the trapping community and aim for it to stay strong and alive. Another example of wildlife activity in modern society is managing the deer population, with the DNR making available additional deer tags and seasons, adding in-city bow hunts, and youth hunts, which is effective in avoiding deer getting hit on the road by cars.
Coming from a trapping family has shown me hard work, dedication, and positivity. I have learned that a trapline may not always produce, and may not always be easy due to weather, terrain or environment, but that then I need to try harder and never give up. This is much like life each day, taking classes, finding a job, having relationships, and learning and growing. I feel I will always have trapping and hunting in my life as a root, not only to do throughout each year, but to talk about memories, be with family, ask questions and share stories. As I have a family of my own someday, I will carry on this tradition of trapping and hunting animals.
This past year has brought many changes and growth. I have finished my first year of college, lived on my own for the first time, and met many new life-long friends. I sensed right away when I moved into my apartment with a tree-lined view, that I would be right at home. I saw deer daily and was able to spend time walking the nearby woods and trails, showing others the signs and sounds of wildlife. I learned maturity, accountability, and responsibility. I now feel more confident in myself. I have grown to look at Duluth as my home, and I feel so comfortable and happy here! I look forward to continuing my education in the biology and psychology fields. I also look forward to learning more about Lake Superior and its surrounding area along with all the hunting, fishing, and trapping that is alive in this area. I will forever take my passion for the outdoors wherever I go in life and for this I am thankful.