Class of 2010: Jenna Castle, MA, College of Agriculture and Natural Resources

<p>Jenna Castle. Photo by Jessica Tommaselli</p>

Jenna Castle. Photo by Frank Dahlmeyer

Jenna Castle is passionate about the environment. “I feel very strongly,” she says, “that it is important for all people to consider the impact of human activities on the environment.”

Castle graduates this month with a master’s in agricultural and resource economics, with a focus on environmental and resource policy.

Born and raised in Willington, Castle says she grew-up in 4-H and was involved with rabbit and sheep showmanship projects, as well as community service, foods and nutrition, and expressive arts. Connecticut’s 4-H program is part of a nationwide educational network. Castle currently serves as co-leader of the Willington Willing Workers 4-H Club, along with holding state and county positions.

The club’s projects include everything from livestock to nutrition, with a focus on community service and citizenship. Castle hopes to instill her strong sense of community involvement and passion for environmental awareness in younger generations.

Castle says she was attracted to UConn’s College of Agriculture and Natural Resources, because “it has a wonderful reputation and is an internationally known program.”

At UConn, Castle has worked for the Connecticut Sea Grant College Program. Her research examined problem areas in the New York Bight region, a shore region extending from Cape Cod, Mass. to Cape May, N.J. The information will lead to an ecosystem-based plan that identifies management goals for the region. She hopes that her research will provide interested parties information to use as a basis for future research and funding for the region.

She says one of the greatest benefits of attending UConn has been the opportunity to meet people from a variety of backgrounds. “I love that the College of Agriculture and Natural Resources is its own little community and so interdisciplinary,” she says. “It also doesn’t hurt that the Dairy Bar is only a few steps from the department.”

As far as where she sees herself in the future, Castle hopes to be working in Connecticut on environmental consulting and education. She uses these terms concurrently because she prefers to see them serve as complements to one another. Ideally, she would love to work with 4-H so she can do what she loves.

You have to “love what you do, and be passionate about what you love,” she says. “I hate to see people stuck doing something they don’t enjoy.”