AEB Profile Sanders
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I had a double major in biology and general science with a concentration in botany. I also received my teaching certification in secondary science education.

Where are you from?

Russell Township.

Where do you currently live?

Bay Village, Ohio.

3 words to describe yourself?

I am enthusiastic, friendly and intelligent.

What is the most interesting thing about you?

Oh man, I like the snow. It is rare but there are people like me who love it. I grew up in the Snowbelt and have loved it from an early age which is sadly, relatively unique.

How did you find Hiram?

In high school, our band camp was hosted at Hiram. I thought Hiram was a music school when I first started looking for colleges with a focus in biology. My guidance counselor mentioned Hiram, to my surprise, but once I stepped back on campus for the first day, I knew I was where I wanted to be, without a doubt.

What clubs were you involved in?

I started the very first environmental club, back when it was called the environmental awareness group. I was in the outdoors club, biology club (AIBS), I was in the honors society Alpha Lambda Delta, and I cross country skied around campus in the winter. I also worked at the Field Station as a Trail Manager.

Your favorite Hiram traditions?

I loved campus day. We were given a random day off each quarter. There were always discussions of if the day was really real or if it was a trick by the seniors.

Favorite professor?

So many. I loved everyone in the biology department; especially, Matt Hils. Brand new to campus during my sophomore year, he was my advisor and mentor. We stayed in touch for many years until he passed. He was a close friend and will be dearly missed.

What is your favorite location on campus?

I had many locations. The field station because just being in the middle of the woods in the fall was so beautiful, peaceful and gorgeous. I also enjoyed spreading all of my homework out on the big tables in the third floor of the library for some peace and quiet and productive studying. My friends and I also stayed up all night studying, messing around and having fun in the 3rd floor labs of Colton and in the biology labs late at night.

What is your favorite Hiram memory?

What comes to mind is a trip to the Grand Cayman Islands that I am still so thankful for. Two biology professors, Williams Laughner and Martin Huehner took us to the islands where we studied field biology, snorkeled and more. We saw every part of that island from the mangroves to the coral reefs, saw sharks, beautiful fish, eels and rays—it was unbelievable. I went with my two best friends and it was a magical experience.

What is the most important thing that you learned from Hiram?

How to be an independent thinker. I learned how to think about things, how to intellectually view the world in a way that is fact based and from a research perspective. I learned and did this not only in my science classes but throughout my entire career at Hiram.

Also, continuous learning. If I could be a student my whole life, I would be one if I could.

Do you feel that Hiram prepared you for your future?

Without a doubt. After Hiram, I went to The Ohio State University and graduated with a Master of Science in plant physiology in 1987.

What is your current employment? Retired? What are you doing now?

After grad school, I embarked on a twenty-eight year career in the nonprofit: Lake Erie Nature Science Center. In that career, I learned so much about managing nonprofits and skills in business so I have developed many transferrable skills and I am now looking to do more with botany specifically. I am taking a master gardener’s course, an OSU extension course, and Tree Commission Academy classes with the Ohio Division of Forestry. In returning to my roots in botany, I work with many nonprofits on the side as well. I am a CTE board member at the Washington Park Academy and am a volunteer and board member of Cleveland Roots, both since 2017.

What do you enjoy in your spare time?

I love the board work I do, I also cross country ski in the winter, do yoga, visit my daughter’s college’s from her time at Washington, Vermont and then Kent. I also love to cook, my favorite being Thai food.

What brought you back to Hiram and why the Alumni Executive Board (AEB)?

I always stayed in touch from when I left so once I was established I was then invited back to be on the President’s Secondary Advisory Council and The Center for the Study of Nature and Society. (It was really weird seeing the top floor of Hinsdale, cool and amazing that there is somewhere in our little campus that I had not seen yet). Matt Hill invited me to join a few of his boards and recently, the director at my nature center, a Hiram grad, recommended me to the Alumni Executive Board last year.

Anything else you would like to share?

Along with my work, I have done a lot of consulting work. That has kept me more in touch with biology as I worked with Oberlin College as an environmental education consultant and then at Lorain College in the access program that used to help students think about college. I created a two week camp curriculum that was held on Oberlin’s campus and taught stream monitoring. I have done lots of training and workshops, was a facilitator for a lot of science related programs and projects while I continue to learn and use my skills to teach people about the biological and natural world in a scientific way.


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