Our Stories

Willamette Student Receives Two National Scholarships

As far as summer jobs go, if you want to study environmental science, working at Yellowstone National Park is as perfect as it gets. Audrey Squires '07 spent her past two summers there as a waitress, enjoying the natural beauty of the landscape in her free time, but this summer she will return through a Student Conservation Association internship to help remove the invasive lake trout from Yellowstone Lake.

Her internship will allow her to use her science education and develop more skills for her future. But she'll also get to have some fun. "There'll be times when I'll get to go in the backcountry for a few days to just fish for trout," Squires says.

When she returns in the fall, Squires will have financial support in continuing with her environmental science major through two national scholarships she received for her academic excellence and leadership. Squires is one of two Willamette students this year to receive a $2,400 award from the Datatel Scholars Foundation. She also is the only student from Oregon this year to win a $1,000 "Diamond 45"/UbiquiTel Regional Scholarship from the Tug McGraw Foundation.

Squires runs on Willamette's track and cross country teams, something she also did in high school. Her father, Rick Squires, just retired last year after many years of coaching track at her high school in Springfield, Ore. So, as Squires puts it, she "grew up at the track."

She also dedicates much of her time to helping children. Squires has worked for three years at Bush Elementary School in Salem, helping in classrooms and acting as a mentor. She helped organize a campus event this spring called Bearcat Day, where about 150 students from Bush Elementary visited Willamette and learned how to play sports from the University's athletes.

Squires even took her talent for working with children to Quito, Ecuador, where she studied last fall and helped teach in a school for children of construction workers. The poverty of the children was overwhelming, Squires says, but she was amazed at the students' enthusiasm despite their living conditions.

"They were just so happy and full of energy anyway," she says. "Each day when I walked into the classroom, I was overwhelmed by a sea of children trying to hug me. Their love for others and enthusiasm to learn truly inspired me."