Christie Hubbard Guetling

Biology with a minor in Environmental Studies


Class Year: 2014

  • Range Technician, USDA-Agricultural Research Service – Burns, Oregon

What impact did UE have on your education?

Honestly, had I gone to a large university I probably would have flunked out or had to change my major. I was never an "A" student, but I always knew biology was what I wanted to study so I put all my energy into learning. I had friends and family tell me, "you could do something easier," but I wasn't passionate about anything else. I didn't care that it was hard because it was interesting and sparked curiosity. I was diagnosed with ADHD/ADD my sophomore year at UE and was finally able to get the help I needed to succeed. The reason I was able to graduate on time with the degree I wanted was because of professors who gave me one-on-one tutoring and recognized my ability far exceeded my test scores.

What advice do you have for current UE students?

It is okay to take time off between your undergraduate degree and master’s/PhD program. I took 4 years off; during that time, I did field work for the Department of Natural Resources in Indiana and the Bureau of Land Management in Idaho. I also worked in a lab at Alcoa (Kaiser Aluminum) in Newburgh, Indiana. The time off helped me know I wanted to go back to school to study Plant Sciences.

How did your experiences prepare you for a career?

Being asked to participate in summer research with Dr. Hochwender after my junior year was extremely beneficial for my career success. I looked at the interaction of Cuscuta sp. with different host plants. This opened my eyes to research techniques and writing. The following summer I went to Costa Rica with Dr. H to monitor herbaceous plant diversity post-reforestation. In my current position I monitor restoration sites within sagebrush (Artemesia sp.) communities using a very similar technique with a Daubenmire frame to estimate plant cover and density.

Reflecting on the community of UE, how did that shape you as a student?

The faculty at UE gave me the opportunity to try new things and find my place in a department full of pre-med students. The professors saw my strong work ethic and affinity for field work and told me it didn't matter if I couldn't do calculus or Organic Chemistry II; they helped me find success in ecology and restoration.