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My W&L: Sequoya Bua-Iam ’17

“W&L manages to be a catalyst for adventure while still offering that ‘welcome home’ feeling.”

Growing up in a small town results in two contradictory feelings: the need to go out and experience the rest of the world, and the need to be part of a close-knit community. I had my mind and heart set on accomplishing both in college, which made finding and choosing the right college for me a little difficult. W&L was the last campus I toured, but I wish it was the first — that would have made my senior year of high school much easier! Yes, Lexington is a small town, but it is unique and beautiful. W&L is not a large university, but for me, it is the perfect size. And my favorite part: W&L manages to be a catalyst for adventure while still offering that “welcome home” feeling.

I have only been here a little over two years, and W&L has already provided more adventures than I could have ever dreamed of having. I have hiked all over Rockbridge County, gone caving, met Jane Goodall, snorkeled coral reefs for the first time, participated in a climate march in New York, collected fossils, spent way too much time wading in streams, and driven vehicles that could swallow my car! Additionally, W&L has incredible research opportunities for undergrads both on and off campus. My summer experiences have been instrumental in helping me narrow down my ultimate career goals.

To balance out all the excitement, W&L and Lexington have numerous outlets of coziness and comfort. On campus, there is always a friendly face and a comfy couch to take the much needed twenty-minute (or in some cases much longer) power nap. Living in Sustainability House, which is about a ten-minute walk from main campus, allows me to really appreciate Lexington. Every morning on my walk to class, I enjoy the smell of breakfast from Sweet Treats and the smell of coffee from Lex Co. Every night on my walk back, I enjoy looking at the window displays of the numerous art and antique shops. Once I arrive back at Sustainability House, I am reminded of my niche at W&L.

I feel I am part of W&L’s “green team”. In high school, I started an environmental club, and in college, I have continued that work in various ways. My experiences at W&L have not only further developed my love of nature, but they have also enhanced my activism, especially as part of the Student Environmental Action League (SEAL). I care a great deal about sustainability on campus, and I am certainly not the only one. Most students here are go-getters. W&L is a place that fosters such a dynamic — the perfect balance of having a close community, pursuing passions, and experiencing the world!

Hometown: Scott Depot, W.V.

Major: Geology

Minor: Ecology

Extracurricular Involvement:

  • Student Environmental Action League (VP)
  • Compost Crew
  • Citizens Climate Lobby
  • Tri-Beta Biological Honor Society (PR Officer)
  • Women In Technology and Science

Off-Campus Experiences:

  • Spring Term Abroad in Belize (2014)
  • Summer Internship at the Virginia Institute of Marine Sciences, Eastern Shore Lab (2014)
  • Summer Internship with the U.S. Geological Survey in Richmond, VA (2015)

Post-Graduation Plans: Hopefully Grad School in Environmental Science

What professor has inspired you? So many! Professor Greer, Professor Humston, and Professor Leonard-Pingel have supported and driven my interest in studying both geology and biology. Professor Cowgill (although I know her as Director Cowgill) has encouraged me to take leadership roles on campus (and has a great attitude and sense of humor). Professor Crotty reminded me that I’m not just a science geek!

Favorite W&L Event: SAIL Bollywood Night (annual) & Solar Panel Fest 2015

Advice for prospective or first-year students? Strive to find what you’re passionate about, and then run with it!

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What’s something people wouldn’t guess about you? I’m part Thai.Favorite W&L Memory: While surveying a cave with my Hydrology class last year, my headlamp went out. One minute, I was measuring water depth, and the next minute, I couldn’t see the water. My partner and I had backup batteries…which turned out to be dead. As my partner was digging through his backpack for his personal headlamp, his light went out, too! Thankfully, he found his other headlamp, and that one light was enough to get us both through the cave to seek assistance from another group. A moment that could have been filled with panic was filled with humor and teamwork.

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