Sam Dawson chose to study at Harper Adams because he was passionate about environmental management – but over four years he discovered many more reasons why the University was where he needed to be.
“University was a natural next step for me and when I talked to the Higher Education advisors at college and my friends - Harper Adams was the university that kept being recommended to me,” explains Sam, 22, who has almost completed his honours degree. “I chose Harper because of the opportunities it would provide me in learning about environmental science and about who I am and how I function best.”
Sam explains that he wasn’t a “typical Harper student” but that didn’t matter: “The Harper experience changed me for the better, as Harper’s inclusive nature meant that I managed to find my niche and a place where I could celebrate my neurodiversity and being different.”
Asked about his personal highlights from his time at HAU, budding nature photographer Sam emphatically responds “that is hard to identify as I have had so many!” But after some deliberation he settles on the Devon field trip he went on in first year, which is when he bonded with his course mates and got to grapple with vegetation surveying and issues such as water quality.
Coming back from his placement year with A Rocha UK, a Christian charity working for the protection and restoration of the natural world, food enthusiast Sam, like the rest of his cohort, faced the challenge of virtual learning necessitated by the Covid-19 pandemic.
“At first, attending university virtually was really challenging, especially in my final year, but… I enjoyed the opportunity to learn at my own pace and control how I approached the course.”
Despite lockdowns and other restrictions, Sam completed his dissertation exploring ‘Millennial perceptions of climate change and access to natural space’ and now looks forward to his next chapter post-Harper Adams, holding strong ambitions to become an environmental educator and give younger generations the tools with which to combat climate change.
If you see yourself leading the climate change revolution check out the courses which will help you on that journey.