Carley Cascione ’21 is making the most of her Clark experience. A double major in environmental science and studio art, she’s learned how to do research using a drone, monitored illegal activities on conservation land, and walked in the footsteps of two of America’s most prominent families during a summer internship. She recently filled us in on where her interests are taking her.
Describe some of your academic activities and experiences.
I did original research with Olivia Barksdale ’19 and Cindy Sellers ’19 as part of the course “Environmental Monitoring & Emerging Technologies.” We presented our paper, “Water Quality and Land Use Development Analysis of the Blackstone River Watershed,” at Academic Spree Day. I also did a course in small-scale land conservation with Professor John Baker that’s turned out to be very much like an internship. We performed land monitoring for the town of Petersham to make sure their conservation restrictions are being upheld and observed by landowners. We recorded illegal activities and wrote reports to the town officials. It’s the kind of job I might like to have in the future.
Who at Clark has inspired you?
Biology professor Richard King taught me drone-pilot skills and research methods, and encouraged my interest in the National Park Service. Olivia Barksdale encouraged me to take risks and to pursue all of my passions in both art and science. And my father, Dean Cascione, M.S. ’17, inspired me not only to attend Clark but also to follow my heart. He motivates me to make no compromises.
What are some of your memorable learning moments?
Learning experiences involving observation are always memorable and impactful for me. When I’m identifying invasive species or drawing from life, I find myself losing track of time and being fully invested in the task. When I’m in the field or in the studio, I can feel myself growing with the project and learning through experience and the knowledge of my professors.
How has Clark helped you develop your passions and interests?
As a resident of Worcester county, from a young age I’ve always seen Clark as a passion-driven university, and I’m here pursing my two-lifelong interests in art and science. I’m always finding applications for my skill sets and seeking to develop them through experience. Attending Clark has helped me find likeminded, passionate, and interested peers and professors who motivate and push me to test the limits of my comfort zone.
Tell us about your internship.
I worked at the Roosevelt-Vanderbilt National Historic Sites, where I experienced all areas of the park as an employee, a visitor, and a resident. I learned about historic land preservation practices from the park’s Roads and Grounds employees, which provided me with opportunities like no other. I tested water quality, worked with trees, operated and serviced equipment, laid stone, painted a mural, restored buildings, and maintained trails, all while upholding the values of the National Park Service.
Can you describe how your time at Clark has helped prepare you for your future?
Clark has made me a learner in any setting. I have developed better listening, communication, and analysis skills, and I’m prepared for any and all scenarios, not only within but also outside of my areas of study. I’m excited about the future and all the possibilities, choices, and opportunities that come with it.
What do you hope to do after you graduate?
I would like to find a job with the National Park Service or the Fish and Wildlife Service. I’ve always been drawn to nature, and am looking forward to working in conservation.