Honors College Alumni

“Don’t be afraid of change and don’t limit your options. Don’t be afraid to shake things up, otherwise you might never know for sure what you really want to do in life.”Zachary Brecheisen

Here is what Honors College Alum Zachary Brecheisen has to share about his time here at NMSU:

I’m in the Nicholas School of the Environment at Duke now and I don’t think I could have made it here without the opportunities and and things I was able to do and learn with the honors college. I’m from the middle Rio Grande valley. My mom lived in Tomé and my dad lived in Peralta, both small towns outside of Los Lunas, south of Albuquerque. While at NMSU I studied just about everything under the sun. I completed degrees in biology, anthropology, and was the first to complete supplementary major in sustainable development. Additionally I minored in conservation ecology, wildlife science, and English. If it involved society and/or nature, I was interested and I liked to write about those things. I graduated in December 2012. I like to say I took the scenic route through college because it took me five and a half years to graduate, but I graduated with 200 credits under my belt and a variety of knowledge and experiences I greatly appreciate. I was the treasurer and then president of the NMSU Organization of Aggie Students Inspiring Sustainability (OASIS) and was very involved in organizing several Earth Days and sustainability film series. I was also a member of the NMSU Wildlife Society and enjoyed several hikes, trips, and got to go the student conclave in Idaho which was a blast.

Right now there really isn’t much to my life besides school, to be honest, since I started my PhD program at Duke in the Nicholas School of the Environment. When I do find a moment though I love to hike and romp around in the woods, love nature photography, gardening, work on and ride bikes, and read. Honestly, I love any book that teaches me something. For “real” literature it would probably Hemingway’s Farewell to Arms, more fanciful books Card’s Ender’s Game, fanciful environmentalist books Weisman’s The World Without Us. I could go on forever. My favorite quote is “I’d rather know a little about a lot, than a lot about a little,” Dad.

My favorite thing about the Honors College is the peace and quiet! The upstairs computer lab is great and the little nook up there to hide away and read was phenomenal. The faculty and atmosphere are wonderful. Being the 2011 honors college scholar and having the opportunity to conduct research in Borneo really got my academic career started and made me much more competitive for getting into graduate school. I got to learn in small classes with great professors about a variety of topics where real discussion was fostered. It prepared me well for graduate school and the honors college was a second home to me while at NMSU.

To students preparing for the future: Don’t be afraid of change and don’t limit your options. I entered NMSU thinking I would be an engineer. I had that so firmly grounded in my mind that it was extremely difficult and traumatic to change. Once I did though, I realized there was a whole world of things to learn about and that I could study anything I wanted to and go just about anywhere with it if I worked hard enough. Don’t be afraid to shake things up, otherwise you might never know for sure what you really want to do in life.


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