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Sports, studies and volunteering prepare Psychology major for life

April 02, 2012

Senior Chelsea Watkins hopes to turn her passion for sustainability, animals and the environment into a career. But first she will seize a once-in-a- lifetime opportunity to coach lacrosse in England.

“It will be the coolest learning experience to be completely independent and look after myself,” said the Columbia, Md., native. “I always wanted to go to Budapest while I was here but I didn’t want to miss lacrosse.” She expects the humbling experience to help her prepare for life after college and her future career.

The Psychology major, Environmental Studies minor, has known her career aspirations since she interned for the National Aquarium in Baltimore during her sophomore year. She learned to train birds, snakes and lizards, for example, helping snakes with desensitization to being handled. Her final project was training a lizard to navigate through a maze.

Watkins had always thought she would become a dolphin trainer, but after her time at the aquarium she knew she wanted to become involved on a more elemental level.

“Now I want to work with the initiatives to get at the root of the problem, at somewhere like the Nature Conservancy or the Environmental Protection Agency,” she said, adding that she’d like to work in the field, “in a position where I can have an effect on lowering pollution and reducing greenhouse gases.”

However, she knows she may have to start by volunteering instead of being employed by an environmental organization like the Chesapeake Bay Foundation. Watkins also thinks she will look into graduate school to get a more specialized degree.

As captain of the women’s lacrosse team for the past two years, Watkins is becoming adept at balancing the varied facets of her life, another thing she says prepares her well for the demands of “real life.”

She is also a member of the Alpha Sigma Tau sorority, with which she volunteers with the Carroll County Humane Society and Habitat for Humanity. She further feeds her love of animals by volunteering in her hometown at the Howard County Humane Society.

Her honor societies include Alpha Lambda Delta and Psi Chi, the Psychology honor society. Outside of the classroom, she enjoys extreme sports like snowboarding, surfing and wakeboarding.

Her twin sister, Charity, attends the Culinary School at the Art Institute of Washington. But they see each other most weekends, and her mom comes to every lacrosse game.

Although her sister is considered the “artsy” one in the family, after juggling the many aspects of her day, Watkins finds stress relief through airbrush spray paint art.

McDaniel was the only small college she applied to. Initially, Watkins spoke with women’s lacrosse coach Muffie Bliss who attended a few of her high school games. Among all of her college visits, McDaniel was the only school where she felt an “initial vibe” and clicked right away.

“There is a homey feeling. You know someone wherever you go, and I’m weirdly friends with my teachers,” she said jokingly.

 
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