Keeping Pace with PINES Students

January 4, 2024
TLC staff and PINES student leaders on a hike at Eno River State Park. Photo: Olivia Garcia

TLC’s Pathways Into Natural Environments and Science (PINES) team has been in full force getting ready for the upcoming spring program. Four returning high school students, Noe, Ava, KJ, and Tadrion, have been working with TLC’s Education & Outreach team as student leaders to plan out activities, guest speakers, and other experiences for 2024. Additionally, TLC staff has been assisting the program’s high school seniors with their college applications, holding college prep sessions, and helping to pay college-related fees.

Program helps students sharpen their career focuses

We recently caught up with two PINES alums, Emily Mobley and Hanna Camptella, who are both freshmen at NC State University. Emily is studying textile engineering and is thinking of potentially working in the automotive interior textile industry. When asked how PINES has influenced her career path, Emily said, “PINES has made me want to work for a company that emphasizes sustainability and environmental health.”

Hanna is currently majoring in Fisheries, Wildlife, and Conservation Biology, and plans to minor in environmental education. She is continuing her time with TLC as the PINES intern and hopes someday to make a difference in her community by connecting kids with nature.

“PINES definitely did impact my post high school plans because I knew I liked the outdoors. I knew I didn’t want a desk job, but I didn’t know exactly what that would look like,” said Hanna. “And through PINES I’ve learned that I really like talking to people about their interests and finding how you can take someone’s interest and turn it into a career and learn about the things you’re passionate about.”

PINES’ 2023 graduating seniors, Raphael, Quinten, Hanna, and Emily. Photo: TLC Staff

PINES receives continued support through the Burroughs-Wellcome Fund

The PINES program will continue to help connect students at Knightdale High School with nature and their future careers with help from a generous award from the Burroughs-Wellcome Fund as part of their Student STEM Enrichment Program (SSEP). The program aims to empower and inspire North Carolina students to pursue excellence in Science, Technology, Engineering, and Mathematics (STEM) and focuses on supporting career-oriented after-school programs for K-12 students. 

Several students kayaked for the first time over the summer at Robertson Millpond. Photo: Olivia Garcia

“We’re so fortunate to receive this funding for the next three years of the PINES program,” said Diquan Edmonds, TLC’s Senior Education & Outreach Manager, who co-runs the program with Kayla Ebert, TLC’s Education & Outreach Manager. “This award will allow us to continue to serve the young leaders in the program while looking for ways to grow and expand our impact.”

TLC’s new student cohort kicks off the Spring 2024 semester in February with lots of learning opportunities. We are excited to welcome these students and support their interest in the outdoors, conservation, and natural resources.

About Pathways Into Natural Environments and Science (PINES)

PINES started in 2022 with the goal of creating pathways of opportunities into the conservation and natural resource fields for students from Knightdale High School, which is just a few miles from TLC’s Bailey & Sarah Williamson Farm and Nature Preserve. Since then, the program has doubled in size – from five to ten students – and has seen all graduating seniors off to college to begin programs of study in science, technology, engineering, and math (STEM) fields. TLC works to help support students in their future plans, including planning tours of local universities, assisting in the college application process, and continuing to engage with alumni through internship opportunities. Students also receive a stipend while participating in the program.  

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