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2019 FEWL Academy

Endowments and Awards

Endowed Professorships

My name is Maurlan Dickerson and I am a Junior majoring in Forestry at Auburn University. I’m from a small town in south-central Alabama, named Fort Deposit. I wanted to join the FEWL Academy because I believe a forester’s responsibility extends far beyond the property lines of a pine plantation. I felt this academy could grant me with beneficial experiences and skills that I could reflect on throughout my career.


My name is Will Dunnam. I am from Bay Minette AL and I am a junior majoring in Forestry. I chose to be a part of the FEWL Academy because I thought it would be an excellent way to learn leadership skills that will be beneficial in my professional life after graduation. I plan to one day own my own timber company and the skills I will learn in the FEWL Academy will help give me the ability to lead my employees. I strongly feel that after being a part of the FEWL Academy I will have professional communication skills that will give me the ability to have a discussion with an elected official, as well as being able to have conversations with loggers. The timber industry is all about relationships and one’s ability to communicate with others. The FEWL Academy is a great way to learn and put these skills to use. The timber industry is a very small industry in which everyone knows everyone. Being a member of the FEWL Academy is a great way to set myself apart from other students in my class. Yes, we are all close friends, but the reality is that we will all be competing for jobs after graduation. I believe that being a member of the FEWL Academy is a great way to set myself apart from others while benefiting from learning the skills needed to be a successful leader in not only the world of forestry, but in everyday life in general.

Grace Holland

In the past, I have been placed in leadership roles without the proper skills to effect the change I wished to see. Whether these positions would be within a club, at work, or simply among my friend group; I have seen that I lack the tools to actualize my goals. With our meetings, I have already been able to analyze my own shortcomings and visualize the future of leadership for myself. I hope to continue to be inspired by the great leaders we come in contact with and see that they themselves had lessons to learn and that those are gained through their individualized experience. Our lessons plans have offered us the chance to read, hear, and soon to practice the skills that will leave us with a prowess unmatched among our peers. Even now I no longer go into leadership roles haphazardly, but rather with a set of goals and a plan to achieve them. I look forward to improving myself and in turn my organizations through the experience I gain with this amazing opportunity I am fortunate enough to have, for these reasons I joined the FEWL Leadership Academy.

Marisa Juarez

My name is Marisa Juarez and I am from Birmingham, Alabama. I am a junior in Natural Resources Management with a minor in Spanish. I wanted to be in the FEWL Academy to develop leadership skills to help me in my future career. I also was interested in the academy as an opportunity to network with important leaders in the environmental field.

Cal Logan

I decided to apply for the FEWL Academy because it looked like a great opportunity to improve my skills as professional that can be used in my future career. The academy also appeared to me a great way to broaden my network with professionals in the forestry field and across the university. The academy also has allowed me to meet various students in our school in different majors and work towards a common goal with them.

Philip McMichael

Philip McMichael is a junior is Sustainable Biomaterials and Packaging at Auburn. He is from Miami, Florida, and enjoys nature, mountain biking, and design, among other things. Philip applied for the FEWL Academy in order to gain a better understanding of what it takes to be a leader, both within forestry-based industries and in the real world. As a transfer student, he also wanted the chance to talk with and learn from experts on both the academic and business sides of the industry. Philip was also looking forward to the FEWL Academy introducing him to similar like-minded students in the School of Forestry and Wildlife Services, students who were making a purposeful effort to become leaders in both the university and in their own communities.

Joseph Contreras Perez

My name is Joseph Contreras, I am from Clanton, Alabama and I am a first-generation Latino college student currently majoring in Forestry. My parents came to the United States in search of the American Dream and worked hard in this country in order to give my siblings and I a better life. They both paved the way so that our family could continue to progress and be successful members of this society. I want to continue to be part of that legacy that both my parents and siblings have built by paving the way for other minorities to further their education and progress higher in society, despite the challenges that life presents at times. I believe the FEWL Academy will help hone and improve my leadership qualities in order to achieve my goal. Through its teachings, I will continue to work and encourage other minorities to have the need of improving their livelihood in order to further diversify different industries throughout the United States. We are a huge asset and part of the fabric of this county.

Gabrielle Ripa

My name is Gabrielle Ripa and I am from Escondido, California, studying Wildlife Ecology and Management. I wanted to be in the FEWL Academy because, as I continue my academic and career development, leadership will be a critical skill needed to contribute to any future employer. Additionally, I wanted to grow my understanding of policy and the function of governmental organizations related to natural resources and wildlife. Even though at this point in my academic career, I am interested in pursuing a career in wildlife research, I know I still want to be able to affect change. Learning more about the interface between industry and lawmakers through the speakers and trips throughout this course I hope to gain a better understanding of how conservation actions be enacted. I believe this leadership course will provide me with tools that are applicable to my life regardless of my career path.

After I graduate Auburn, I hope to attend graduate school. I am interested in community ecology as well as herpetofauna. Once I have completed school, I would like to work in wildlife research, possibly at a state or federal agency. I am excited to gain more leadership skills through the FEWL Academy to utilize throughout my life and professional career.

Noah Runyan

War Eagle! My name is Noah Runyan, and I am from Jasper, Alabama, and I am studying forestry. The FEWL Academy presents an awesome opportunity to be able to develop better leadership skills through a hands-on approach. The Academy gives us the opportunity to meet with leaders in Montgomery, Washington D.C., and other places. This was attractive to me because we get to learn from leaders how they apply leadership skills on a daily basis, as well as how they used those skills to attain the positions they are in now. The most unique element of the Academy is that we will have the opportunity to lead our own event for the community. This will be focused in the forestry, wildlife, and natural resources fields, and it will be geared to teach the local community about these fields. This gives us as a cohort the chance to apply our leadership skills. The Academy is more than just lectures and tests, it is hands-on, applied learning that not only benefits the cohort, but it provides us an opportunity to give back to the community.

Orum Snow

Hello, my name is Orum Snow. I was born and raised in Mobile, Alabama. I am a sophomore with the declared major of Forestry. Growing up, I knew from an early age that I would want to attend Auburn University. I loved tigers and the colors orange and blue, so Auburn was naturally my dream choice of schools to attend. I always had the intention of become a veterinarian due to my extreme love of animals, especially horses. Once I graduated from W.P. Davidson and received my acceptance letter to Auburn, I was one step closer to becoming a veterinarian. About the time when my first semester was coming to a close, I learned that animals were not my passion. Once, after leaving my agriculture advisor, I made the decision to visit the Forestry and Wildlife Sciences building to see what opportunities awaited me if I made the switch.  Taking a leap of faith, I chose Forestry as my new major. Not knowing much about the forestry business, I felt totally green (no pun intended). I was presented the opportunity of joining the leadership academy and felt that it would be a great chance for me to learn and experience what it is like to be in a role where my decisions matter not just to me, but to other people. Being given this opportunity is an important stepping stone in obtaining and maintaining a successful career.

Lexi Wiltfong

My name is Alexis Wiltfong and am currently a Junior in Wildlife Ecology and Management. I am from Huntsville, A.L., and grew up at the base of an Appalachian mountain. I wanted to be a part of the FEWL Academy because I feel that good leadership is a quality that is necessary in a healthy work environment. I want to eventually be in a position where I have the ability to lead a group towards a common goal at my place of employment. I knew the leadership academy would support me in reaching my personal goal of tailoring my intrapersonal skills to help guide others around me.