Reprinted from Explorations, Spring 2018
In this continuing series, alumni magazine Explorations profiles recent School of Environmental and Biological Sciences (SEBS) graduates who have launched successful careers and are making an impact on society. This installment features a dynamic brother-and-sister duo who got their start at SEBS.
SEBS’13, Animal Science, Pre-veterinary Research Track
Aubrey Weibel is a STEM educator at the Liberty Science Center, which takes her all over New Jersey and New York hosting classroom workshops and assemblies for K–12 students. Topics range from animal adaptations to the chemistry of the stars to the physics of sports.
On Rutgers’ impact:
Because of my contacts through the alumni association, I was able to shadow a few different people to see if their career paths were something I would like to pursue. Also, having animal handling experience definitely set me apart from many other applicants while looking for a job. I remember during an interview I was asked my favorite animal—I said goats—and I guess to prove I wasn’t lying, they asked me to tell them a few facts about goats. Seven minutes later, I was still talking and I think they got the idea that I wasn’t kidding around.
On her ah-ha moment:
Taking Dr. Sharma’s Careers in Animal Science class was really helpful for me. I knew I was graduating pre-vet, but that’s not the direction I wanted to go in. Every week, Dr. Sharma would bring in a different professional using their degree for amazing jobs and opportunities that had nothing to do with veterinary school. It really gave me hope that I could find something perfect for me—and I have!
On her Rutgers mentor:
Dr. Tim Casey was vital to me as an undergraduate student. Even when things weren’t going my way, he made sure I never gave up and found new ways to do everything I needed to. I would have been lost without him, and I always think about what he taught me when I have to find a workaround in any situation.
On her favorite SEBS memories:
Of course it’s Ag Field Day. I still go and I’m looking forward to going again this year. Friends I met in clubs on the George H. Cook Campus are still some of my closest and we meet up every month. And, as strange as it sounds, one of my other favorite memories is the smell of the Cook Farm. Whenever I smelled the horses or cows I knew I was home.
The quote that motivates her:
“In the end we will conserve only what we love; we will love only what we understand; and we will understand only what we are taught.” – Baba Dioum, 1968.
On Rutgers pride:
It makes me proud to know that I am in a community that supports each other, that we have a culture, and that I am always welcomed back as an alumna. Especially all of the strong women I met through Rutgers and Douglass—they always support each other and we push each other to be our best.
SEBS’12, Astrophysics, Mathematics, and Meteorology
After receiving his bachelor’s degree, Chad Weibel earned a master’s degree in atmospheric science from the University of Wisconsin in 2014. Currently, he’s working on another master’s degree— this time in physical science education at Rutgers—supplementing his time with teaching and tutoring.
On Rutgers’ impact:
One of the biggest things I got from going to college at Rutgers was growing as a person and becoming more confident in who I am. In high school I was a rather reserved person and it took some doing to get me out of my shell, but over my time at Rutgers I was able to start reaching out to other people and making friends.
On his ah-ha moment:
I had two. One was three semesters into my master’s in atmospheric science, when I looked around at the other graduate students and realized that they were all way more passionate about the subject than I was. I loved the math and the physics, but I was missing the intuition that they all seemed to have, which is born of constant research on weather phenomenon. I talked to my adviser and overhauled the end of my time there in order to take a bunch of graduate-level math courses to be qualified to teach college level courses at Rutgers. It was a year after that when I found the physical sciences education program, which set me on the path that I’m on today.
On his favorite SEBS memories:
There’s a number of places on campus that I love—Passion Puddle, Voorhees Mall, and the Kissing Bridge to name a few. But Ag Field Day is probably my favorite thing about campus overall.
On next steps:
Starting this fall I hope to be teaching physics at a nearby high school. Beyond that…who knows? I might finally get a doctorate in physics once I get a few years of being a great teacher under my belt!
On Rutgers pride: Rutgers is a great school. A lot of people overlook that because it’s a public school, but Rutgers has a wonderful campus with wonderful people and I’m proud to be one of them.