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    Alumni Profile: Barbara Jean Bender

    April 24, 2017
    Barbara Jean Bender enjoyed study-abroad and research opportunities at UW. (Courtesy Photo)

    Barbara Jean Bender is using her international education to make a difference right here at home. “One thing that most folks don’t expect to hear about UW is the study-abroad opportunities,” she says. Bender spent three weeks in India and two weeks in Chile on separate study-abroad trips. “Both of these trips changed my life, because they gave me a chance to see the natural resource management issues I had learned about in Wyoming in a global context, all the while earning credits for both of my majors.”

    Her senior year, Bender received the Center for Global Studies Nielson Undergraduate Scholarship and gave seven talks around Wyoming about her sustainability research. After graduation, Bender began her job at the Natural Resources Conservation Service, where she works with farmers and ranchers throughout Johnson, Sheridan and Campbell counties. “I am very excited to help private landowners, like the ranchers I have met so far, accomplish their conservation and production goals,” she says. “So far I have worked on designing stock-water pipelines, designing some flood and sprinkler irrigation lines, high tunnels, and I have also done some field inventory and monitoring of vegetation and soils.”

    In addition to her coursework, Bender found the student chapter of the Society for Range Management, called the UW Range Club, especially beneficial. “This club is what really provided a link between my studies and current range management strategies and challenges,” she says. “Ultimately I feel that my experiences in the Range Club helped me find my true passions and led me to pursue the career I am in today.”

    Bender encourages students considering UW not only to take a tour but to meet with professors and departments in the fields they’re interested in. While she acknowledges UW’s great affordability, she believes it’s the quality of education that truly sets the university apart. “It was the quality faculty and tight-knit community of UW that made this the best place I could have chosen to do my undergrad,” Bender says. “The support system at UW in the form of opportunities and scholarships was incredible as well.”