Plan after Graduation: Duke Kunshan University, Environmental Policy major
“Life is not like a slowly fading hourglass, nor the slowly flowing Heraclitus River. It should be the Thomson's gazelle leaping on a prairie, or the wild buffalo defending themselves with two horns. It should be full of liveliness and dramatic.”
Above is a paragraph Xu Jingjing wrote in her diary, and it is a picture of her ideal life in the future. Minoring in biology and researching how to improve the environment of the Wen Rui Tang River with a professor and participate in wild animals’ protection in Africa – graduation is approaching, and she determinedly decided to pursue further study in environmental and biological protection area. Xu Jingjing now has received offers from Duke Kunshan University, the University of Massachusetts Amherst and the University of Denver.
She took her first biology class in the summer semester of her sophomore year and was inspired to minor in biology. She had to take 22 credits in the field to complete the minor, so she purposely registered in more biology-related courses to earn her earn enough credits during her exchange semesters at Kean University. Though she ran into many difficulties while taking high-level biology courses, she enjoyed the experience. “It was fascinating to dissect sharks, turtles and giant frogs from North America with my classmates.”
During her junior year she was still in the U.S. and received an email from biology professor Toby Michelena asking her to join the Wen Rui Tang River research project. She agreed at once and joined the team as soon as she returned to Wenzhou-Kean University. Every month she was required to collect, analyze, and do experiments on water samples taken from the Wen Rui Tang River .
In this project, Xu Jingjing mainly studied the predatory relationship of rotifers which was filled with difficulties for a finance major student who had never been systematically trained to conduct such a study. The severe water pollution makes her realize that merely protecting animals is far from enough. Only when the environment is improved, can animals be better protected.
During last winter vacation, Xu Jingjing went to Kenya to study wild animal protection. Here, she met the last remaining male Northern white rhinoceros named Sudan who died 22 days later.
In Kenya's OI Pejeta Conservancy, Xu Jingjing accidentally met Sudan while interviewing a security person. Sudan was isolated because of his serious illness. Xu Jingjing was moved by the work the staff was doing, and they told her that even though Sudan was seriously ill, many people were still working hard to save this species.
She and her partners shared their experience in Librairie Avant-garde with young dreamers after returning to China. Further, she tried to tell more and more people about wild animal protection. Now, she has decided to study the Environmental Policy major at Duke Kunshan University. We hope she can continue to pursue her dream in ecology and species protection.
Author: Yu Ziqi