Passion for the environment spurs alumna to succeed
Kristen Randall grew up in rural Sullivan County and always had an interest in the natural world. As an environmental studies major, she had an ever-evolving “life plan,” which these days has her working for the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service at the Buenos Aires National Wildlife Refuge in Sasabe, Ariz.
She won’t be bored there, or as she pursues her other goals to teach, do research and become an author.
“I want to write books for children and adults that are entertaining and accessible and get research to the public,” she says.
Randall said her son inspires her passion for the environment. It’s a passion she has already put into action by designing a curriculum for second-graders to study environmental issues. “If children can understand the environment and respect it,” Randall says, “they’ll want to save it.”
Until her move to Binghamton, Randall commuted more than an hour each way to campus from her home in Calicoon. Before transferring to the University, she commuted 45 minutes each way to Sullivan County Community College, where she was on a full-tuition scholarship and in the honors program.
Randall says she decided during her first year at SCCC that she wanted to come to Binghamton. She started up an e-mail correspondence with Associate Professor Peter Knuepfer, who has since become an important mentor.
Knuepfer, director of the Environmental Studies Program, says Randall demonstrated remarkable initiative as a student in his class, taking on research at the Neversink River rather than doing the usual term paper. Her fieldwork continued with supervision from Joseph Graney, associate professor of geology as she spent five or six hours every month gathering data at six sites along the river.
“Kristen struck me as a dynamic person who really wants to learn and be involved as much as possible,” Knuepfer says. “She has a clear sense of where she wants to go in life and how to get there.”