Jennifer Halstead '15
Jennifer Halstead had a plan; she graduated high school with high honors and got accepted to her first choice school. She declared her major and was ready to start. After only a few weeks, at her new college, she knew it wasn’t the right fit; she withdrew from school and went home. At first, Jennifer was disappointed in herself for spoiling her plan.
“I tried to fix the plan by enrolling at a college closer to home, where I could take online classes,” Halstead explained. “I had to figure out a new plan.” After taking the next two semesters off, and researching her options. Jennifer enrolled at Great Bay in the Liberal Arts/Environmental Studies program. “As soon as my classes started, I was reminded of how passionate I am about the environment,” Halstead said. “I enjoy learning about how it works, why it works, and what we can do to help keep it all going.” It wasn’t long before faculty members noticed Jen’s keen interest in the environment and recommended her for a student research position with NH EPSCoR’s Ecosystems and Society project. Support for the NH EPSCoR Program is provided by the National Science Foundation’s Research Infrastructure Improvement Award #IIA-1330641.
NH EPSCoR projects work to improve the research, cyberinfrastructure, and human resources required for New Hampshire to achieve its economic potential through a strong competitive innovation system. “Jennifer has really taken advantage of this research opportunity,” Candace Dolan, Hodgson Brook Watershed Coordinator said. “She has learned to download, manage and interpret data collected by the LOVOTeC sensors installed around the Hodgson Brook watershed.”
At three different locations around the watershed, the sensors record water temperature, conductivity and stage every five minutes. Sensors are funded by LOVOTec Network which operates out of the Plymouth State University Center for the Environment. “Each student that works with us takes away something different from the experience,” continued Dolan. “Having a chance to explore what it means to be a scientist helps them realize it is not just about being outside and getting their feet wet in the brook.”
Wanting to apply and share her knowledge to create change in the world is Jennifer’s driving force behind continuing her education. After two years of working hard, Jennifer now realizes she didn’t mess up her plan, she is exactly where she supposed to be. “I’m doing things that I truly care about, and that makes me happy,” Halstead said. “Once, I heard that success is a journey, not a destination and I couldn’t agree more.”
After graduating from GBCC, Jennifer plans on transferring to the University of New Hampshire. “I haven’t officially decided on a major yet but I know it will have something to do with the environment,” Halstead said. “There’s a very good chance it will be focused on water quality. It’s a big choice so I’ve been taking my time with it.