At age 6, Hannah Clipp got separated from her family at the National Zoo.
She had stopped to admire ducks swimming in a fountain long enough to briefly lose her parents. And while she may have been lost, she wound up finding a lifelong passion: Wildlife.
While at WVU, Clipp conducted golden eagle surveys at 4 a.m., sunk into knee-deep mud to collect insect samples and endured icy winds and freezing sleet to check on black bear dens.
Clipp, of Bel Air, Maryland, was named a Udall Scholar and a Goldwater Scholar – the first time a WVU student won both. She was also the only WVU student to earn either scholarship for 2015.
“They’re equally awesome,” Clipp said about winning both, “and they’ll play a role in what I want to do in the future.”
Clipp’s dream job is to become a wildlife biologist focused on ecological research. More specifically, she wants to study mammals and birds. She has her sights on working with the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, U.S. Forest Service or the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, where she’ll have a research internship this summer.
Her other career goals include bridging the communication gap between scientists and the public and resolving human-wildlife conflicts.
“My family didn’t hunt, fish, hike or camp, yet I have always fostered a passion for wildlife,” Clipp said. “I’ve always been drawn to animals. I watched a lot of Animal Planet when I was young and enjoyed trips to the zoo.”
In addition to research, Clipp hopes to one day write novels and create picture books for youth that teach about wildlife and conservation.