Sarah Willen-Nelson’s Ecology Studies Allowed Her to Fulfill Her Passion

Sarah Willen-NelsonSarah Willen-Nelson is a recent Webster University graduate, receiving her degree in Biological Sciences last semester. She is also a student board member of the Ecological Society of America (ESA), serving as treasurer for the organization. She studied ecology during her time at Webster which has become her passion.

Willen-Nelson is married to Brandon Willen-Nelson, who served in the U.S. Air Force from 2014 to 2020. She moved to multiple different states before finally settling down in St. Louis after her husband’s contract expired. Because of that, she enrolled as a non-traditional student at Webster University.

Willen-Nelson’s fondest memories during her studies at Webster was during her senior year when she was working with professor Nicole Miller-Struttmann in the field of ecology.

“We got to teach people about bees. For me, just going out into the general population and getting to teach them about science, and them actually being interested in it was a really nice experience,” Willen-Nelson said.

Her enjoyment of ecology comes from the ability to look at things at a very zoomed-out level.

“Instead of looking at like one gene or one specific thing, you're looking at the bigger picture, which makes it easier to think about changing things,” Willen-Nelson said.

Recently, she has been preoccupied with some virtual events and seminars coming up. She enjoys her role in the ESA as she gets to teach students regarding ecology and speak in several of the seminars and events. She credits ESA for fulfilling her passion in ecology while also helping her with her career, as she has aspirations to pursue a PhD and perform research in the ecology and science field.

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