• Wes attended NHS from 2004-2008 where he was active in the environmental science club. He attended Clemson University (Go Tigers!) where he majored in Wildlife and Fisheries Biology. Following graduation from Clemson in 2012, Wes enrolled in a Masters program at the University of Florida majoring in Wildlife Ecology and Conservation. Wes’ Masters research focused on the effect of longleaf pine forest restoration on mammalian inhabitants. Upon graduation in 2015, Wes signed on to a PhD research project again at the University of Florida. Wes’ PhD research investigates the habitat needs of small mammals isolated on barrier island in southwest Florida, and on the genetic distinctness of these populations. In addition to his graduate research in Florida, Wes has traveled to South Africa, Swaziland, Great Britain, California, Utah, Nevada, Minnesota, Pennsylvania, Alabama, Louisiana, Georgia, Tennessee, and both Carolinas for research. Upon completion of his PhD in spring 2019, Wes intends to become a university professor.

    A noteworthy addition to this story is that Wes, as with most South Carolinians, does not come from a wealthy background. However, by majoring in a STEM field, and making good grades in college, Wes was able to secure enough funding to attend college (Palmetto Fellows + university scholarships + summer job + part-time during-semester job + resident assistant benefits = more-affordable college). Following college, Wes was able to attend graduate school largely because research-based graduate degrees come with a tuition waiver and living allowance. These positions are competitive, but anyone can qualify for them with a bit of hard work (study hard and seek research experience).