March 13, 2019
Alex Gust is a senior majoring in forestry in the Department of Forestry. Recently, Gust participated in the campaign Get MI Degree, representing Michigan State University.
I started at a community college to get my prerequisites out of the way, and now I’m at Michigan State University.
My major is forestry because I knew I wanted to do something with the outdoors. In high school, I was a member of Future Farmers of America, and we would participate in forestry skills competitions. I fell in love with that skills contest and knew I needed a career that took me outdoors. At the same time, forestry majors can work towards public education and advocacy of forestry, something I’m also passionate about.
The forestry department at MSU encourages students to attend conferences to build professional development, and they help cover students’ travel expenses. The department also offers scholarships which has helped me pay for school. The scholarships helped me realize my goals upon graduation, and without them I don’t think I would be able to come here.
I’m number seven of nine children in my family, so my parents were not able to contribute much to my college. My dad has a good enough job where I wasn’t eligible for much money from FAFSA, but my scholarships helped, and I’ve been able to work during my time here.
I work with the MSU Shadows program, which creates products from trees here on campus that have to come down. I help mill and dry the wood on campus with local artisans who create different items.
There are so many connections you make with people here. Even though I’m not on campus all the time, I’m involved in MSU Forestry Club, where I am currently the vice president.
I’ve made a lot of really good professional connections with fellow students, and I know I will look back and reflect on my really rewarding experiences. I’ve learned a lot from top researchers in the field of forestry — they truly have a wealth of knowledge. I can’t imagine getting a degree without that — it’s just spectacular.