Rebecca Heston '09

Growing up in South Mountain, Pa., not far from the Wilson campus, Rebecca Heston was very attracted to the College. “I loved the idea that the curriculum was kind of intensive and I could just jump into it,” said Rebecca. “I was also interested in the women’s college aspect because I just felt that I needed to develop my personality a little bit more and Wilson provided me with the ability to do that.”

While at Wilson, Rebecca was a member of the Society for Leadership and Success, American Red Cross Club and drama club. She also went to Mississippi for Alternative Spring Break in 2006 to help rebuild homes after Hurricane Katrina.

Rebecca is currently working toward a Master of Arts degree in Education in Natural Science and Environmental Education at Hamline University in St. Paul, Minnesota. She is also working on a master’s thesis on winter shoreline bird habitat in Alaska.

For her thesis, Rebecca is working with two assistants at Lake Clark National Park in Anchorage, Alaska, where she is examining biodiversity to see what species inhabit the area in the winter months. “We don’t have a lot of data on winter species and that is really important to know because it allows the park to do more wildlife management,” said Rebecca.

In order to study the biodiversity of the area, Rebecca conducted flyovers of the area. She chartered a small plane and flew over the shoreline to locate birds and record their positions.

Rebecca wants to study the birds because there are a lot of competing interests that pose threats to their habitat.

“There is a mining industry, which the environmentalists think is bad but on the other hand, it is helping out the local Alaskans, economically,” Rebecca said. “A part of my research includes management research on how to benefit a variety of social groups such as the local Alaskans, Alaskan natives, environmentalist Alaskans and the mining industries.”

In the meantime, Rebecca is writing a novel, which she has been working on for several years now. “It’s kind of a dystopian novel and it really addresses different earth systems and how human systems relate to them,” Rebecca said. “But it’s really hard to finish a novel while I’m working on my master’s.”

Once she receives her master’s degree, Rebecca would like to study at the University of California at Berkeley for a doctorate in geography, with a concentration in biogeochemistry. In the doctoral program, she will study trace gases such as methyl halides and how they affect global warming.