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Last year, I participated in the Architecture and Engineering strand of APEX. I had my mind set on becoming an architect. I loved the program, designing fun projects for local businesses, and networking with our partners at Shive-Hattery. I signed up for the Animal and Veterinary Science strand of APEX my senior year with the mindset that I wanted to spend my final year in high school working with animals, and quite simply getting out of the traditional classroom. It was when our veterinary class began working at the Blank Park Zoo that I first started to feel that becoming an architect was no longer what I had wanted for so long. 

The zookeeper’s energy and passion were infectious, and I found myself falling in love with the idea of pursuing a career in the animal science field. At first, I was terrified. I had already been admitted into the College of Design at Iowa State and had told my family — a family that is heavily involved in the construction industry — that I wanted to become an architect, and naturally, I feared change. I sat down with my parents one night and told them that I didn’t want to become an architect anymore, and they were so happy that I had finally found something that I was intensely passionate about. I got in touch with Iowa State and changed my major in a matter of days.

Through the term, I have explored different career pathways that I could take by studying animal science in college. My APEX experience has been invaluable, and without it, I would have never discovered my true passion in life. I am eternally grateful for what the program has given me in light of self-discovery and know that without a doubt, it will continue to provide the same for generations of students to come.