Charlotte Leadem Earth and Environmental Sciences Furman University

Class of 2015
Hometown: Chapel Hill, N.C.

If you ever have a question about (the learning or living experience at Furman), there's always someone that will be able to point you in the right direction. That's how individualized the Furman experience is.

Life as an Earth and Environmental Sciences major

  • Why did you decide to come to Furman?

      One of my high school teachers graduated from Furman in 2006. She was one of my favorite teachers in high school and introduced Furman to me. She thought it would be a great fit, so she encouraged me to apply and visit. After the first visit, I was hooked. I applied for early decision and knew what I wanted to do. My teacher definitely played a major role in introducing me to Furman.

  • Why did you decide to be an Earth and Environmental Sciences major?

      In high school, I took AP Environmental Science and it was by far one of my favorite courses. I used that as an indicator of what I should consider at Furman. During my freshman year, I took an upper level course and it just fit.

  • Best experience in the department:

      As a freshman, I went on a May Experience to Yosemite National Park. We had three weeks of hiking, camping and backpacking. I got to know some of the upperclassmen in the major and became close with the professors. That's one of the most memorable things I've done at Furman.

  • Favorite class:

      Hydrogeology. I enjoyed the content and how applicable it is, and we also had labs and field experience. It takes into account how water and the earth interact. I want to go into hydrogeology, so that's why that class really interested me.

  • Favorite professor:

      Dr. Ranson. He's very welcoming and easy to talk to. He gives great advice on what courses to take at Furman, and how to prepare for graduate school or your future, in general.

  • Career goals:

      I'm planning to attend graduate school, but I'm still deciding where to apply. I'd like to be in a profession where I can be outside for the majority of the day, and somehow incorporate teaching into that. But I'm not sure if that will be at a national park, in a museum or as an environmental consultant.

  • Research experience:

      I'm doing my senior research thesis this summer, working with Dr. Garihan. We are locating and mapping natural springs in the upstate area along faults and fractures. It involves a lot of hiking and being outside all day. We're working with the South Carolina Department of Natural Resources to come out with an updated map of the springs. There's a chemistry student collecting water samples, as well. 

Best of List

  • Best study location:

      The Trone Student Center. You can find a quiet spot to study, but there's also things going on, so you're not completely isolated.

  • Best thing about Greenville:

      The Swamp Rabbit Trail. It's a safe and easy way to get from Traveler's Rest to downtown Greenville. And it's nice that it runs right through campus.

  • Biggest challenge:

      Time management. Setting priorities and making sure you don't have too much on your plate is a challenge. I've learned at Furman what's most important and what can wait.

  • Favorite place to eat:

      Tommy's Country Ham House. It's owned by a Furman grad and there's a huge discount for Furman students.

  • Favorite Furman tradition:

      LDOC, the Last Day of Classes. I'm looking forward to the giveaways and getting my yearbook.

  • Best campus dining spot:

      The Paddock

Helpful Tips

  • Choosing a major:

      Go with your gut. For me, it was stepping back and thinking about what classes I took in high school or what classes I've really enjoyed in college and using that as my indicator. So past experiences and success in certain subjects is a good way to discern which major to choose, and which department you fit into.

  • Studying:

      Do a lot of it. That should be a priority, so find where you like to study, what sort of environment you like to study in, and dedicate the amount of time you need each day to study and stay on top of your academics.

  • Getting involved on campus:

      At the beginning of the year, they have an activities fair where all the clubs and organizations come together for students to see which clubs and organizations are available at Furman. There's something for pretty much everyone out there, but don't become involved in too many at one time. A lot of people are over involved, but it's better to narrow it down to a couple that you're really passionate about.

  • Making friends:

      I met my closest group of friends on my freshman hall. I don't know if it's coincidence, but that's definitely the first place to meet people. You go through orientation and the first couple of weeks with them.

  • What isn't in the brochure:

      How helpful everyone is. I wasn't expecting faculty and staff to be so welcoming, open and helpful, even if you aren't majoring in their department. If you ever have a question, there's someone that will be able to point you in the right direction.

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