Involvement within the Auburn University College of Forestry, Wildlife and Environment student organizations provides opportunity for students to exercise leadership skills, build relationships with their classmates and foster community between students and professionals in the varying occupations associated with forestry, wildlife and natural resources. In his own words, learn how participation in student clubs has positively impacted Garett Norton’s experience at Auburn and his career potential after graduation:
Area of Study: Forestry
Expected Graduation: Spring 2023
Involvement: Forestry Club
Why did you choose Auburn?
I chose Auburn because I wanted to stay in Alabama, my home state, for college and because I knew the university had a respected forestry program. This decision was also made easier for me because I was able to live with one of my good friends from high school, Riley Hill.
What led you to choose this field of study?
I chose to study forestry because I had family and friends that had introduced me to the field, and it seemed like a good fit for me. I knew after I attended summer practicum at the Solon Dixon Forestry Education Center that I had made the right choice.
What is your favorite part about being a student in the College of Forestry, Wildlife and Environment?
My favorite thing about being a student of CFWE would be the relationships that I have formed with my classmates. These friendships are largely due to having small classes with the same people each week for two years. We always help each other out when needed, whether that be with studying or outside of school. I have made some lifetime friends at Auburn that I will forever be grateful for.
Describe a class that you have taken as a student of Forestry studies that has left an impact on you.
Forestry in the Private Sector taught by Dr. Tom Gallagher has left the biggest impact throughout my time at Auburn. This class has helped me with soft skills and networking with other people in the industry.
What opportunities within the college have helped ensure your academic success?
Our academic advisors are very accessible and have been there to help me decide when I should take certain classes, keeping me on track to graduate.
If you are involved in a student organization within the college, describe the group’s purpose and why being a member is important to you.
Along with maintaining relationships with peers, the Forestry Club will give you an edge on upcoming internships or full-time job opportunities. Each week we host a different company representative who talks about their open and prospective positions. These representatives help our members gain a better understanding of the industry and what types of jobs are available to us as students and graduates. Being president provides me with leadership opportunities and my membership has allowed me to meet several people that can potentially help me succeed in my career.
What are you doing right now as a student that is giving you supplemental experience in your desired field?
Last summer, I interned with Dearmon Timber Company in Millry, Alabama. This worked out great because the internship was within thirty minutes of my parents’ house. I was able to improve my people skills, cruise timber, and learn more about the daily tasks required of a forester. I will always be thankful to Mr. Mont and Ed for taking time out of their lives to help ensure that I am the best that I can be in my desired field.
What are your plans after you graduate?
After graduation, I plan to pursue a job in procurement forestry, working with landowners and similar stakeholders in the timber industry.
What are you passionate about? How does CFWE allow you to pursue those passions?
I have a passion for helping others and the college allows me to do so through the Forestry Club. I enjoy connecting students with employers and helping them network with these industry leaders so that they can be better prepared to begin their careers in forestry.
What advice would you give to upcoming CFWE freshmen?
New students should keep in mind that being active within their college and overall field will greatly benefit them. I would strongly recommend joining clubs for exposure and networking opportunities. I would also tell them to be outgoing, and do not be scared to meet new friends within their college. These peers will help you along your journey.
Interview is lightly edited for clarity.
(Written by Avanelle Elmore)