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Benton Bio: Jacq Zier ’15

By bentonscholars on April 4, 2013

At Colgate University, I am a happy, busy student majoring in molecular biology and minoring in German. My home is on beautiful Orcas Island in northwest Washington. I attended a small public high school and served as vice president of the student government and captain of the rowing team. I graduated as a co-valedictorian of my class.

In high school I joined the Orcas Island Youth Delegation to the United Nations Commission on Sustainable Development (CSD). Each May I traveled to the U.N. Headquarters in Manhattan to participate with the Youth Caucus at the CSD. There I learned about issues of sustainable development, how to collaboratively write statements, and practiced lobbying government delegates. I also had the nerve-racking experience of giving a statement myself in front of hundreds of delegates at a plenary meeting.

In 2011, I joined the Alas de Rio Project, a documentary project featuring international youth working in sustainable agriculture. In June of 2012 I traveled with Alas de Rio to present our documentary at the Rio+20 Earth Summit in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil. I received partial funding from the Benton Scholars Program to attend Rio+20.
jacq rio picIn high school I also began my study of German. My high school didn’t offer German language classes, so I took online classes and attended the EF Language School in Munich, Germany, for a few weeks during the summer of 2010. Living alone in a youth hostel in Munich with limited language ability is certainly an experience I will never forget.

Now I have a heightened appreciation for the real German classes I take at Colgate. I hope to spend time in German-speaking countries after I graduate.

As a first-year Benton Scholar, I traveled to Rwanda and Uganda to conduct environmental health projects with my class. That was a fantastic, eye-opening experience. I now have the privilege of working with Professor Frey, a leader of the Uganda trip, in a lab that analyzes the data we collected.

Over last winter break, I also traveled with a Colgate group to Moscow. We visited historical landmarks and learned about Russian history. We stayed in the U.S. Embassy, which also gave us another interesting lens through which to view the city.

This upcoming summer I will do a short internship with the SeaDoc Society on Orcas Island and hopefully with the University of Washington’s Friday Harbor Labs as well.

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