Online Extra: Kelvina Doss
Kelvina Doss (MAEE – Agricultural and Environmental Education, ’17) is an environmental science educator at Yosemite National Park with Nature Bridge, a nonprofit educational partner of the National Park Service. She leads school and group environmental science programs for fourth through 12th graders in the Sierra Nevada, teaching about native animals and the ecosystem.
An Ohio native who moved to Alabama during high school, Doss earned her undergraduate degree in animal and poultry science and pre-veterinary medicine from Tuskegee University before applying for graduate school at CAES.
“I realized halfway through undergrad that I wanted to go into some sort of teaching with the outdoors incorporated,” she said. “I was living in Georgia and I looked into programs that fit that passion and I stumbled across the ALEC (Agricultural Leadership, Education and Communication) program at UGA. I saw that Dr. (Nick) Fuhrman was doing research involving animals and I thought, ‘Cool, I can teach about animals too.’”
When she joined the program, Doss found an ideal environment, balancing her academic goals and a welcoming community.
“There was a good professor-to-student ratio, you could go to office hours and chat with professors one-on-one. It was very close-knit, like a family, really. I enjoyed that, and everyone was very helpful,” she said.
Doss directly applies the skills she learned at CAES in her current position and previously as an environmental educator in Keystone, Colorado.
“I learned to create programming and develop curriculum and lessons, and in our international agricultural development class you learn how to teach diverse populations. All of it directly applies to what I am doing now,” Doss said.
Doss credits her academic advisor with being supportive of her desire to take classes outside of the master of agricultural and environmental education (MAEE) course list if she was interested in them.
“Being able to take different classes that didn’t perfectly align with my outlined goal was important to me. If I felt it would be helpful, my advisor would be open to helping fit that into my required coursework,” she said.
After completing her master’s degree, Doss worked as an environmental educator at Rock Eagle 4-H Center before moving to Colorado to teach.
“Because 4-H is part of UGA Extension, it was very much connected with faculty and other experts in my field. It definitely helped me in getting the jobs I have had, as I have sought out organizations that have similar goals in connecting people with the outdoors,” she said.
By Maria M. Lameiras