BRI Student Spotlight: Caitlin Camp

BRI graduate assistant Caitlin Camp with a scaled quail.

Caitlin Camp is settling into a new life in California with a newly minted range and wildlife graduate degree from the Borderlands Research Institute at Sul Ross State University. She started a new job in September 2022 with an environmental consulting firm, where she is implementing botanical and wildlife surveys, and preparing biological assessments on endangered and other wildlife species. The few weeks before she departed for California were a whirlwind. She successfully defended her thesis, packed up her student life in Alpine, then jetted off to California to start her new job.

“My experiences at Borderlands Research Institute really set me up to be successful in this new job,” she said. “While I don’t have direct experience dealing with endangered species, I do have a good understanding of conservation biology and population dynamics from my studies. This job also requires literature reviews and scientific report writing, which a graduate degree and a thesis project certainly prepares you for.”

Caitlin has known since she was a child that she wanted to work in a nature-related field. She grew up going on family trips to different national parks and exploring nearby creeks, which is what established her love of the outdoors and wildlife. During her undergraduate studies, she gained research experience with honeybees and coral reef systems.

After graduating from Texas A&M in 2016 with a degree in Environmental Studies, Caitlin interned at a wildlife rescue and then worked at various environmental jobs, until she finally pursued her passion for wildlife and attended Sul Ross State University to gain her master’s in Range and Wildlife Management. Caitlin’s master’s thesis focused on understanding the distribution and co-occurrence of mammals in Big Bend National Park using camera traps.

As she prepared for her graduate studies to wind down, Caitlin applied for several jobs and feels fortunate she landed where she did. After spending two years in Alpine, she fell in love with the desert environment, and she is now working in the Sierra Nevada region of California. She also has family there, and her fiancée will be moving soon.

“I was thrown in the field on my third day here monitoring for giant garter snakes,” she said. “I’m learning a lot about all the wildlife species out here, and it’s a lot different than West Texas. I can tell it’s going to be a job where I am constantly learning, and that’s exactly what I wanted.”