Andrew’s passion for conservation biology first developed while exploring the outdoors. His family provided him with ample opportunity to cultivate an appreciation of the environment with trips to the Great Smokey Mountains in his home state of Tennessee. This appreciation is at the core of his interest in conservation biology and sustainable development.
Social and environmental change in Latin America has been the cornerstone of Andrew’s service activities. Three service trips to León, Nicaragua in high school left him with an interest in Latin American culture and sustainable development in Central America. Upon returning from his second trip to León, he and several friends organized a fundraiser to support a Nicaraguan family facing difficult times. They constructed a replica Nicaraguan village in their community and occupied the village for two days. During this time, they provided visitors with an opportunity to learn about the cause and motivated the community to contribute funds to support the construction of a home and sustainable business for a double-amputee and her family. At his high school, he co-founded a student organization, Dyersburg High School Global Youth, which has since hosted benefit concerts to support various local and international causes.
After graduation, he spent six weeks of the summer of 2011 as a volunteer with Amigos de las Americas. In Matagalpa, Nicaragua he and his volunteer partner promoted environmental awareness with CARE International’s MICUENCA watershed protection program, and they facilitated the renovation of the community preschool. In Matagalpa, Andrew grew to appreciate the inextricable tie between environmental health and community health.
During his first year at Vanderbilt, Andrew pursued a broad range of activities with different service organizations, including Manna Project International – Vanderbilt (MPIV) and the Nashville Chapter of Amigos de las Americas. He was Manna Project’s Volunteer Coordinator for the Shade Tree ESL program. He also volunteered at the Nashville Zoo at Grassmere, where he found inspiration in their mission to promote conservation and raise environmental awareness. He served as a volunteer Intern with the Carnivore Department of the Nashville Zoo during the summer of 2012 and assisted with the maintenance of their conservation initiatives, such as the clouded leopard Species Protection Program.
In his second year at Vanderbilt, Andrew spent Thanksgiving break at the Manna Project International site in Ecuador. As a research assistant in Dr. Patrick Abbot’s lab, Andrew and other lab members volunteered with Vanderbilt Student Volunteers for Science (VSVS). He became the Service Committee Chair of Phi Sigma Pi National Honor Fraternity and the Vice President - Local Initiatives of Manna Project International at Vanderbilt. Andrew works with several other Ingram Scholars in Vanderbilt-Pakistan Connection. Vanderbilt-Pakistan Connection is a student-led organization that pairs Vanderbilt students with English classrooms in Pakistan via Skype. As Student Affairs Coordinator, he researches recent news in Pakistan to keep teachers updated about the current events affecting the lives of their ESL students. Andrew is also involved in Vanderbilt Students of Nonviolence (VSN), a student organization promoting social justice on campus and in the Nashville community.
Andrew looks forward to learning from the community of Ingram Scholars. He is excited to see how his goals in conservation biology and sustainable development evolve through the Ingram Scholarship Program.