Exploring the World Around Me: Video Transcript

Tami LaPilusa (BA Botany, Miami, 1996) [faculty member in biology at the State University of New York (SUNY) at Oneonta]: I had always been interested in botany and being out in the natural world. I grew up in, I grew up outside of Youngstown, Ohio, and we had a lot of very rural areas and forested land, and I spent many weeks and weekends of my summertime out exploring the world around me.

I had the opportunity to really spend some time looking at the different departments, and I saw that Miami had a degree in botany, which really fit very well with my own interests that I had had from the time I was a child going out and exploring in the forest. And when I realized that that was an option for me to pursue at the college level, I was really very excited about that opportunity and move forward through taking various field courses and really expanding on those interests.

I had the opportunity to take Tropical Flora of the Bahamas through the botany department, which was taught by Hardy Eshbaugh and T.K. Wilson, and that was one of the main reasons that really prompted me to continue on in my career as a biologist.

As a botany major you might not take literature courses or art classes, but a lot of those are very crucial to being able to have a broader perspective and a broader appreciation for all things. Pursuing a degree with the liberal arts education really allowed me to expand upon the greater worldview. I was able to add a concentration in Latin American studies, which really allowed me to delve deep into a different region of our world and to allow a greater appreciation for the differences that I would see both as a United States citizen, and then also through my research in the Bahamas and other places where I've lived in the United States.

If you have a really amazing opportunity that presents itself, really do think about what you can gain from that experience, and even if it is a little bit questionable whether or not it’s something you should do, that's truly where some very amazing things can happen, once you're able to step outside what you would normally be doing. You know, we would go away for a weekend and just experience, we would go on road trips and experience different places within the United States, and certainly being able to take courses abroad either in Luxembourg or in the Caribbean islands or anywhere that Miami University offers for students. You know, don't be afraid to take some of those opportunities during your time at Miami University.

[November 2015]