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 Driverâ€™s research life.
â€œSurprisingly enough, this experience affected the trajectory of my education, career and life,â€ said Driver.
Attending Knox College in Galesburg, Ill., Driver majored in biology but enrolled in every botany course the school had to offer. â€œI had a professor there who was a botanist himself, and he acted a mentor and encouraged my interests,â€ 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.