Hello! My name is Emily Turpen. I was born and raised in Hereford, Texas and graduated from West Texas A&M University in December 2019 with a bachelor’s degree in Wildlife Biology. My grandparents farmed and taught school throughout the Texas panhandle for several decades before moving to Oklahoma. During my childhood I was heavily involved in 4-H. Many of my projects involved animals and the outdoors, and I also served on both my District and County 4-H councils my senior year of high school. Combined with a mom who was always bringing new critters home to show her science classes, I was quickly spurred toward a career in wildlife. I was also involved in Tae Kwon Do and received my first degree black belt at age twelve. Occasionally I serve as an assistant instructor for a women’s self-defense class in Amarillo. During the summer of 2019 I completed an undergraduate research project on the distribution of prairie voles in the Texas panhandle and will be publishing my results in a scientific journal. I am passionate about conservation and public outreach due to the growing disconnect between communities and the environment, therefore, my interests lie in those directions as well. My hobbies include reading, hiking, mountain biking, and “failing” to stay out of my chocolate stash. My long-term career goals include obtaining a master’s degree and pursuing a career with field research and outreach opportunities. I am excited to embark on this internship with the Ogallala Commons and gain experience through outreach events such as festivals and assisting with wildlife and resource conservation projects.