Katie Driver, a Colorado State University student from the Warner College of Natural Resources, was honored with the 2009 Rocky Mountains Cooperative Ecosystem Studies Unit Student Achievement Award for her work in creating a protocol for monitoring wetlands in Rocky Mountain National Park.
Driver has a long history of interest and experience in botany. At the age of 14, she completed a botany project surveying flowering plants in an open field near her home in Wisconsin. The project, funded through a grant encouraging middle school students to engage in academia, was only the beginning of Driver’s research life.
“Surprisingly enough, this experience affected the trajectory of my education, career and life,” said Driver.
Attending Knox College in Galesburg, Ill., Driver majored in biology but enrolled in every botany course the school had to offer. “I had a professor there who was a botanist himself, and he acted a mentor and encouraged my interests,” said Driver. She took her first botany-related job in college collecting plant species in Yellowstone National Park and afterwards continued to travel around the country working miscellaneous jobs in the field.