Mitchell A. Niccolai is a senior from California, Pennsylvania, studying Wildlife Habitat Management and Conservation.
Why did you choose SIU?
I visited the campus and saw how beautiful it was along with the surrounding natural areas and fell in love. Hunting, fishing, camping, and pretty much anything outside has been a large part of my life and coming to SIU allowed me to continue those activities through my college years. I was also swayed after speaking with some of the faculty in the forestry department and researching the quality of the program.
What would you tell a prospective student about SIU?
SIU is a rather large university, but also provides that small college feel. Campus is full of others that share your interests and ideas, but is also home to those who are different than you, which make it a great place to grow as a person while expanding your views. The City of Carbondale is definitely something else, too!
What inspired you to choose your area of study?
Growing up, I spent most of my time in the outdoors with family and friends. From hunting to fishing to camping to boating, we were always outside. This has always made me want to choose a career in the environmental field and the forestry program here at SIU bridged the gap between dream and reality.
What is your most memorable experience at SIU?
The SIU student body holidays are always a good time, but the friendships and bonds formed here are going to last a lifetime and will always be the most memorable aspect about my time at SIU.
Have you received any scholarships as a student?
I am currently receiving the Dean’s Scholarship.
What does the scholarship mean to you and how has it enabled you to pursue your goals?
The Dean Scholarship and the in-state tuition both mean a lot to me. Not only did they make it possible for me to attend SIU, but they made all the hard work I put into school in high school well worth it. This acknowledgement of my successes and knowing the work it took me to achieve those successes continues to drive me to work hard and give the best effort I can give in everything that I do.
How has SIU inspired you?
Being an officer (president and vice-president) of the collegiate chapter of the Quality Deer Management Association here on campus has inspired me to lead others. It has also inspired me to help others while in the process of leading.
Why should someone consider donating to SIU?
Overall, SIU provides an excellent environment for learning, social activities, and research but none of that would be possible without donations.
What do you brag about most when you tell your friends about SIU?
The quality of the forestry program and the research opportunities that I have been able to be a part of.
If you had $1,000 to donate to SIU, what would you like to see that money benefit?
Supporting Touch of Nature not only helps to support SIU students but members of the community as well. Working there has allowed me to learn about various aspects of recreation and given me the opportunity to pass that new knowledge on to the groups we work with. Touch of Nature has provides a hands-on arena for many of my classes by bringing the information learned in the lecture into perspective and showing its practical use.
You can support SIU students during SIU Day of Giving on Wednesday, March 7, 2018: https://siuday.siu.edu/