Every year it is our honor to choose an ENVS graduating senior who displays significant leadership, presence and service within the ENVS department and Emory community. The Hickcox Award is named in honor of ENVS distinguished Emeritus Professor (and Waffles Thursday King), C. Woodbridge Hickcox, or Woody as we know him. Every year it is a difficult decision to choose just ONE student, but is is our pleasure to announce that Olivia Milloway is the 2022 Hickcox Award winner. We asked Olivia to reflect on her time as an ENVS student and she graciously provided the following reflection:
During my time in the Environmental Sciences Department, I’ve studied vampire bats, frog pandemics, and the shifting culture of Georgia’s coastal fisheries. I’ve also been a TA for ENVS 131, the introductory field course, and through that experience, I’ve had the privilege of mentoring younger students in the department. Outside of the department, I was a co-president and co-founder of Emory’s student chapter of the Wildlife Disease Association and a Podcasting Fellow with the Emory Scholars Program. I was also a part of the Young Democrats of Emory, Emory’s Senate Committee for the Environment, and the Civitello Lab in the Biology department (my second major).
My most rewarding experiences while at Emory have tended to be out in the field, whether that be taking Advanced Ecology with John Wegner and identifying carnivorous plants in the Okefenokee, interviewing fishermen on the Georgia Coast for Dr. Yandle’s Working Waterfronts report, or reporting on the conservation burial movement in Georgia for a longform journalism class with Professor Hank Klibanoff. I think the most valuable lessons I’ve taken from my field courses is that there are many more ways of knowing and more types of evidence than I previously thought were credible or helpful. Patient observations, personal stories, and emotional narratives are all important in creating robust and nuanced conclusions.
When I graduate soon, I’ll miss the ENVS department community and all the folks I’ve been lucky enough to learn from over the last few years. Starting in June, I will be the Early-Career Science Communication Fellow at the Schoodic Institute at Acadia National Park. I also plan to begin a Fulbright Research Grant in Panama in March of 2023 in affiliation with the Smithsonian Tropical Research Institute. With the tools I’ve learned at Emory, I hope to use storytelling to further environmental justice and equitable conservation in the Southeast through a career in environmental journalism.