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    Student Profile: Alanna Elder

    April 21, 2017

    Like many Wyoming high school students, Alanna Elder, of Laramie, Wyo., originally wanted to leave the state for college. “I started at the University of Arizona ... and then I ended up coming back, and I’m really glad I did,” she says. “At UW, you have such close interactions with your professors and people doing research.”

    Alanna Elder found a passion for journalism during her internship with Wyoming Public Radio.

    She has made the most of her time here, studying abroad, serving on the board of UW ACRES Student Farm, conducting undergraduate research, taking honors classes and participating in internships.

    “I always look forward to the honors classes,” Elder says. “I’m always really impressed how much I learn from other students in those classes.” She also appreciates the early registration honors students receive.

    “My favorite thing about coming to UW has been ACRES Student Farm,” Elder says. “It’s awesome to have the experience of growing things and working communications and the business of a farm. We’ve all learned a lot from doing that.”

    Two summers ago, Elder took a two-week faculty-led course to India. “We were studying human-elephant conflict,” she says. “It was powerful to get to learn about the human and environmental dimensions of that problem. We talked to farmers and met with people at universities. That was an awesome experience and was really meaningful.”

    Elder also participated in undergraduate research. “This past summer, I got to help with a project studying how forests in Colorado and Montana responded to beetle kill and what the fire risks afterward were,” she says. “The year before, I got to help study weevils and lygus on alfalfa farms around the state. That was really cool. I learned a lot about insects and about farming.”

    Elder also holds a leadership role in UW’s Sustainability Coalition of student organizations. She recently won an honorable mention for the prestigious national Udall Scholarship recognizing her environmental focus.

    Like many of the students profiled in this issue of UWyo Magazine, Elder found it easy to explore her diverse interests at UW. “Right now I’m interning at Wyoming Public Radio and getting a whole new experience,” she says. “I’m doing news and getting to write stories.”

    With this newfound passion, Elder plans to incorporate journalism into her career plans. “That would never have happened anywhere else,” she says of the opportunity to walk in with no experience or a major in that field and get such an exciting internship. “That’s been really amazing. There are a lot 
    of opportunities for people to get involved here.”

    She also appreciates the down-to-earth and accessible professors and hopes to pursue a master’s degree. “I feel like I’ve gotten a quality education here, and I won’t have debt, and that’s really cool,” Elder says. “That gives me so much freedom upon graduating with what I decide to do and the risks that I can take, because I won’t be trying to get back that money I had to borrow.”