Cody Kamrowski decided to attend the University of Wisconsin-Stevens Point the night he graduated from high school. It was one of the toughest decisions he’d ever made.
It meant he would not be following his father and grandfather into the family excavating business. It meant the dump truck his dad had bought for him for graduation would be returned. It meant taking the ACT and getting application papers to the university under tight deadlines.
“I really wanted to study natural resources,” he said. He hadn’t stopped thinking about his visit to UW-Stevens Point the past winter. “Despite how cold it was outside that day, UW-Stevens Point had such a warm feeling. It already felt like home to me. I realized I belonged on this campus.”
This May, the Melrose native will graduate from UW-Stevens Point with a degree in natural resource planning with a concentration in policy
. His studies have combined natural resources classes with those in political science, public administration and sustainable energy, while his experiences out of the classroom have given him many hands-on opportunities.
In his first year at UW-Stevens Point, Kamrowski took a student-taught introductory course through the College of Natural Resources (CNR) Student Success Center
. It not only helped him choose his major, he began working at the center two years later as a peer adviser. Now he teaches that course.
“It’s one of the most rewarding things I have done on campus,” he said. “I’m inspiring students and I hope helping them be their best in college and in life.”
As a sophomore, he traveled to Kenya with a UW-Stevens Point study abroad
program, providing rural community development and sustainable energy production. He also became a member of the university’s Green Fund Steering Committee, which chooses sustainable projects for campus.
Last summer, Kamrowski worked in Washington, D.C., tracking policies for the Biomass Thermal Energy Council and the Renewable Energy Markets Association and met with representatives of the Environmental Protection Agency and National Wildlife Federation.
“The experience was invaluable,” he said of the internship. It helped him realize how important his broad natural resources background was to creating policies supported by science.
Last fall, Kamrowski and students from Yale and Boston University were the three winners in the GreenBiz essay contest
about youth leadership in the sustainability movement. This spring, he is a keynote speaker for high school students interested in natural resources at the Wisconsin Youth Summit
at UW-Stevens Point.
His future career goals include bringing sustainable energy sources to remote and low-income areas abroad, owning a habitat energy efficiency consulting business and running for political office to promote sustainable natural resource policies.
“I deeply value natural resources and want to preserve it for future generations to enjoy it just as I have,” he said.
The decision he made the night of his high school graduation reflects Kamrowski’s belief that people learn most when they push themselves out of their comfort zone.
“With this in mind, I push myself out of my comfort zone as much as possible to make myself the best I can be professionally and personally,” he said.