Ashlyn Marie Cowgill, a graduating senior in natural resource management from Miami, has been selected to lead the Auburn University College of Forestry, Wildlife and Environment class of 2023 at next weekend’s spring commencement exercises May 5-6.
Cowgill first joined the College of Forestry, Wildlife and Environment intending to major in wildlife pre-veterinary medicine in the fall of 2019. However, a course in watershed management changed the path of her education and career. Taking the course through the Honors College, she completed a project studying the ways climate change affects temperature. Shortly after that class, she changed her major to natural resources management with a minor in watershed sciences.
“I liked that my degree program prepared me for graduate school courses in my field, but I also enjoyed taking classes with students following a completely different environmental track,” Cowgill said. “Most classes had at least a few days devoted to applying the knowledge we learned in class to the field, which was a great opportunity to gain hands-on experience in species identification, stream flow, environmental assessment and different research methods.”
She is currently building on these experiential learning experiences with lab and field work during her internship with Westervelt Ecological Services.
In her time in the CFWE, Cowgill was an active participant in the Forest, Environment and Wildlife Leadership Academy, CFWE Student Ambassadors, Society for Natural Resources, the Wildlife Society and the Coastal Resilience Team. She also was a Lead Honors Peer Mentor with the Honors College and was a member of the Society for Conservation Biology, Alpha Omega Epsilon and Phi Kappa Phi Honor Society. She also is the outgoing president of the Sailing Club.
Cowgill is graduating with a Bachelor of Science degree in natural resource management with a minor in watershed sciences. She has been accepted into a doctorate program in water resources science at the University of Minnesota next fall, with a focus on legacy phosphorous in streams. She hopes to eventually work as a hydrologist for United States Geological Service or the National Park Service.
“It would be a dream to manage water resources in our beloved natural systems for current and future generations to enjoy,” she said. “I am also interested in restoration efforts of impaired wetland and stream systems, which could lead me in a different, but also exciting, direction.”
“Ashlynn Cowgill is a superb scholar who will leave a lasting impression on the natural resources management program and the college,” said Janaki Alavalapati, dean of the College of Forestry, Wildlife and Environment. “We are proud of her accomplishments here and pleased to see her lead our graduating class.”
The university will kick off its graduation weekend at Neville Arena at 5 p.m. CT on Friday, May 5, with a commencement address from Auburn alumna Paula Marino, a two-time Auburn graduate who has provided more than 30 years of leadership to Southern Company. Marino also will speak at the 8 a.m. ceremony on Saturday, May 6, with three-time Olympic Gold Medalist Rowdy Gaines performing the addresses at the 1 p.m. and 6 p.m. ceremonies at Neville Arena on Saturday.
All ceremonies will be livestreamed, with recordings available on the commencement website following the weekend festivities, and graduates and their families are encouraged to check the website regularly for updated information.
(Written by Jessica Nelson)