Ivy Leaf - Spring 2007
Turning Over a New Leaf
Spotlight on Amie Myers
When Amie Myers began her college career fresh out of high school, she just wasn't sure what she wanted to do with her life. She decided to take some time off before her love for the environment prompted her return to Penn State Altoona, where she's on the right path.
Now in her senior year, the environmental studies major says that, in retrospect, she's glad her college experience worked out the way it did.
"I know some people who've gotten their degree and didn't want it or didn't like it. I feel like I'm in the right major for me now, and I'm really glad I came back when I did; as an adult student I have a better respect for my education and appreciate its value."
Myers decided to return to college when she learned of Penn State Altoona's Environmental Studies degree program. She says she was always drawn to environmental issues.
"Part of what formed me was that my dad always took us out for Sunday drives in the woods and on walks. I just always seemed to understand the impact of industrialization and commerce on our natural environment."
Discovering some of her mom's memorabilia from the 1970s also helped shape Myers' attitude about the environment.
"I came across an incense burner and a Native American blanket, and I just loved that natural element. By the time I was in junior high, everyone called me 'hippie.' Even though I didn't like that stereotype, I was always kind of like that."
In addition to the challenges of juggling employment and full-time coursework as an adult student, she also is a single mom to her 7-year-old daughter Savannah.
"The challenge of being a parent and coming back to school was an adjustment, but my mother and my grandmother have been my saviors. I couldn't have done it without them. Having a family member take care of my daughter really made me feel a lot better about not being there."
Myers meets the challenges of her role as mom and student by maintaining an impressive 3.49 GPA, serving as a member of the college's Eco-Action organization, coordinating an Earth Day festival each year, and completing research projects with several Environmental Studies faculty members. She also carries her interest in environmental issues over to help the local community by serving as a member of the Community Interest Group civic organization, in which she was instrumental in submitting a proposal to develop a community vegetable garden, habitat and children's gardens, and playground on vacant city lots.
"I've never tried to say that my life is hard - it's just my life and I love it."
She was honored for her accomplishments last spring as a recipient of Penn State Altoona's Achieving Young Woman student award, of which she is very proud. She credits the support she has received from her family, fellow students, and professors as being a great influence on her success.
"People have often said to me, 'I don't know how you do it,' and that has been a huge compliment to me and really has kept me going. [Faculty members] have just always believed in me and have had great words of support. I have a lot of energy and I've drawn a lot of strength from just talking to people. I've never tried to say that my life is hard—it's just my life and I love it."