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Peter S. Smouse Award for Outstanding Student in Evolution 2017
Leila Al-Daqa

Leila Al-Daqa is the 2017 Peter Smouse Award Winner Growing up in Flemington, New Jersey, Leila Al-Daqa did not realize her deep passion for nature and the environment until she visited Baxter State Park in Maine just before high school. The park was unlike anything she ever experienced before and she was inspired to help others experience the thrill of purely natural areas through conservation. At Rutgers, Leila majored in Ecology, Evolution, and Natural Resources and completed a Certificate in Environmental Geomatics, as well as a variety of human ecology-based courses. After her second year at Rutgers, Leila interned with the Student Conservation Association and the National Park Service at Prince William Forest Park in Virginia, assisting the Park Biologist, mainly conducting invasive plant management and monitoring the water quality of the park’s lakes and streams through E. coli testing and macroinvertebrate surveys. Upon graduation, Leila aspires to work in the field of wildlife conservation and her dream job is to work for the National Park Service.