Ryan J. Tallmadge
2010 M. Buell Award for the Outstanding Student in Ecology
I was born at St. Peter’s Hospital here in New Brunswick and grew up in Somerset. I have always been drawn to the outdoors and spent much of my free time enjoying it growing up. But as I approached an age to determine my life’s course I followed a different calling and joined the Marine Corps upon graduating St.Peter’s High School. I spent 5 years in the Marines and continued to enjoy the outdoors during my time of service. I had many interesting experiences during this time that helped to shape who I am today and these experiences have helped me to stay focused on current goals. As my time in the military came to an end I was again faced with another decision on what course to take. This course led me back to school. For me, there was no real question on what field to major in given my love of the outdoors. I initially went to Raritan Valley Community College and earned an A.S. in Environmental Science. At RVCC I had fulfilling experience and enjoyed classes, like Field Ornithology and Environmental Field Studies. I was awarded a Certificate of Achievement and Certificate of Excellence in Environmental Science upon graduating. From here I found myself at Rutgers and have had many rewarding experiences during my time here.
Some notable experiences include taking Winter Field Ecology and Dendrology. Also, over the last summer I interned with the National Parks Service’s Southern Plains Fire Group in Texas. Here I had the opportunity to travel to various historic sites and monuments including Capulin Volcano in New Mexico and other parks in Colorado, Kansas, and Oklahoma. With this internship I had the opportunity to become qualified in wildland firefighting and take part in prescribed burning operations. The main focus of this internship was fire effects monitoring, which entailed establishing monitoring plots and collecting biomass samples.
Upon completion of Field Techniques at the end of May I will have to immediately pack up and head west where I will begin a career with the U.S. Forest Service in the Black Hills of South Dakota. I will be a forestry technician and be working in timber stand improvement. I look forward to a job that will keep me active and in the outdoors. I know that my experiences and knowledge gained at Rutgers will take me far and am grateful for the dedicated professors in the Ecology and Natural Resources Department that have helped put me on the right path.