Amanda Bunn ’20 was one of those kids who preferred nature documentaries to cartoons. “I spent most of my free time outdoors,” recalled the Fleetwood, Pa., native, “and I wanted to have an in-depth understanding of the systems that surround me, and the factors that harm and benefit them.”
So, it was no surprise when Bunn chose to major in environmental science with a minor in marine and aquatic science. And since Bunn first set foot on Albright’s campus, her education has been on a fast track. In fact, she is set to graduate a full year ahead of schedule.
By taking advantage of dual enrollment at Reading Area Community College (RACC) while still in high school, Bunn was able to get many of her general education requirements completed before enrolling at Albright. Through the college’s transfer agreement with RACC, she entered her first year with nine courses already complete. In addition, she took classes during Albright’s interim session, including a field study in Costa Rica.
Bunn says the interim session provides students with the opportunity to take classes they might otherwise not have the opportunity to take, and as in her case, “get ahead and fulfill requirements early, giving students more flexibility in their future schedules.”
It’s also helpful to students who may have fallen behind and need to make up credits to graduate on time, she added.
Summer internships — one at the Exeter Township (Pa.) Wastewater Treatment plant in 2019, and one with the Berks County Conservation District in 2018 — have also helped fast track Bunn’s career readiness. “The internships gave me a sort-of ‘dry run’ in two different types of work, as well as exposure to many others. Through this, I now better understand the types of work within the field that would be the best fit for me,” she said.
Bunn said her internships also demonstrated the interdependent nature of her field of study. “Any environmental work done is the result of collaboration,” she explained. “I learned a great deal about the value of communication and cooperation between and within groups.”
It’s honing skills like this that Bunn considers a hallmark of her Albright education. From serving as a tutor in the Academic Learning Center to the instruction of professors like Professor of Biology Stephen Mech, Bunn said, she has learned how to collaborate with others across disciplines and communicate complex topics with intellectual confidence.
“I naturally prefer independent work to group work,” she said, “but my time at Albright has taught me to effectively communicate in groups and expanded my ability to work with others. I see this as very valuable because group work is far more common in life than individual work.”