Class of 2019
“I learned that if you want something, you can’t let other people’s attitudes stop you. If you see that nobody else is working on something you want, it just means that you have to pick up the slack and make it happen.”
Last January, Mirabai Moseley traveled to mainland Ecuador and the Galapagos Islands to study ecology, environmental policy, and ecotourism. She stayed with a host family and was able to see unique ecosystems. While on the islands, she participated in ecosystem restoration to preserve the endangered flora and fauna of the archipelago. Mirabai enjoys both the hands-on field work and the human relations aspect of environmentalism, and she hopes to combine both facets in her future career. She says, “I like working outside, but I also enjoy working with people and using creative problem solving to figure out solutions to environmental issues.”
Mirabai’s interest in ecology is not new. When her high school AP environmental science class canceled a field trip to a natural resource education center in Wisconsin due to lack of funding, she was disheartened. Rather than giving up, she came up with a plan to make money by buying snack items in bulk and selling them individually after school. Of the experience, she says, “It was all worth it though. After many months of hard work, we were able to raise the money we needed and go on the trip, and I learned that you can do anything if you set your mind on it, no matter how daunting. More importantly, I learned that if you want something, you can’t let other people’s attitudes stop you. If you see that nobody else is working on something you want, it just means that you have to pick up the slack and make it happen.” Her commitment paid off, and the class was able to travel to Treehaven and learn about ecosystems that were different from those they saw in Missouri.
During her senior year of high school at Grand Center Arts Academy, Mirabai applied for an interest-free loan from The Scholarship Foundation so that she could study at Drake University in Des Moines, Iowa. “Going to college means more to me than getting my degree; it’s about being able to do something that no one in my family had the chance to. I feel like I’m not only pursuing my dreams but theirs as well.” She will graduate in the fall of 2019 with a bachelor’s degree in environmental science, and she looks forward to using her experience to guide her nieces and nephews. One niece wants to be a marine biologist, and Mirabai says, “If I am able to pursue a science career like my niece wants to, I can be there for her in the future and help her pursue her dreams.”
Mirabai has participated in many field research projects and internships. She tagged monarch butterflies during the fall of 2018 to help her entomology professor with a project to track the butterflies’ migration patterns. The prior summer, she was an intern at the St. Louis Science Center and gave educational demonstrations for guests. During the school year, she was a Sodexho Sustainability Intern at Drake University and was responsible for making the dining services more sustainable. One of her projects involved encouraging students to effectively use the compost system in the dining halls. She also participated in the Drake Prairie Rescue and Restoration Internship over the winter, which she called difficult but rewarding. She and her team worked long hours in the cold to remove invasive species from ecologically significant lands. They used saws to cut down thick brambles and trees, and she says, “I enjoyed doing it because after we were done, we were able to see that we were changing the ecosystems for the better.” She is looking forward to a career in which she can contribute to a healthier environment for all.