Shelby Nichols-Vaughn | Outstanding Graduating Senior in Geological Sciences; Prix d’excellence en français

Hometown: New River, Arizona

Favorite Experience: I would say overall my favorite experience was my opportunity to study abroad in New Zealand. Before I came to UA, I knew I wanted to study abroad at some point, but I did not know fully what that would entail such as whether I would do a summer session or a winter session or a full summer. However, during my second semester of my freshman year I came to the realization that I wanted to study a full semester in a country I had been dreaming of going to for years. So, I hopped on the opportunity to study in New Zealand in the Spring of 2020. I was able to experience so much in such little time. The people of New Zealand are some of the nicest people you will ever meet. The education system was a bit of a curveball, but quite easy to adjust to. I explored Auckland, Rotorua, Hobbiton and most importantly I fell in love with my host city, Dunedin. The beaches, the food, the outdoor adventures, the sports, the camaraderie. The experience I received in the geology and French courses I took was very helpful in my progression of my studies. Despite the impact of COVID halfway through my study abroad semester, I would not change anything from that magnificent opportunity I had to study in the country I had been dreaming of going to for years.

Favorite Class: Throughout my studies at The University of Alabama, I have developed a favorite course for each of my degrees. For my BA in French, I would say my favorite class has been FR480: French-English Translation taught by Dr. Carr. It was a tough choice between this course taught by Dr. Carr or her undergraduate seminar course she taught. But, I think this one just edges out her undergraduate seminar due to the content I learned. It was fascinating to learn the nuances of translation and how difficult it is to convey the correct meaning when one language does not have the right words or phrases. Or how grammar and syntax, especially, can change how one creates the translation. We worked with pieces we chose and ones she chose plus movies, and the course really helped me create a connection between the two languages. Also, Dr. Carr is one of the best French professors I had while at Alabama, and she made her courses both fun and rewarding. She truly cares about her students and their well-being and anyone taking a French class should look into one of hers. For my BSG, I would say my favorite course has been GEO306: Hydrology taught by Dr. Tick. I really enjoyed it as it was an introductory course to the subject of hydrology since the subject is so broad. It really influenced me in terms of my career and plans in the future. It convinced me about my love for water and that I want to work in groundwater restoration. Dr. Tick is very smart and always open about questions and will help their students achieve the best that they can.

Future Plans: For the future, I plan on getting a job working with groundwater remediation and educating others on sustainable usage of groundwater. I hope to be able to move back out to the western side of the US, but I do not have a specific area in mind. I will, also, make travel a priority. The next country I want to travel to is Norway and I would love to go back to New Zealand once they open back up fully. Most importantly, I hope my future consists of me being happy and truly that is all that matters.