There's a reason many of the world's most famous scientists have visited the Galápagos Islands - and it’s the same reason Stevenson alumnus Peter Hoblitzell took his turn exploring the islands as part of his study abroad journey.
From a young age, Peter Hoblitzell, of Towson, Md., could be found digging around in the woods and streams near his house. Eventually, he began exploring local forests and national parks. Endlessly exploring, he found his love of the outdoors and knew this was a lifelong interest and passion.
His devotion to the environment led him to major in Environmental Science at Stevenson University, combining his passion with his education and future career. He enhanced his academic experience by taking advantage of the university’s Study Abroad opportunities. Peter studied environmental science in Ecuador and the Galapagos Island, allowing him to see first-hand how various economies thrive off a pristine, natural environment. In addition to being immersed into the cultural and natural habitats of Ecuador and the Galapagos Islands, Peter got to swim with sea turtles, study iguanas sunning themselves, and witness Blue-footed Boobies participate in their mating dance. On another trip, he traveled through Eastern Europe with photography students and faculty.
"My study abroad trips were obviously wildly different in their own ways," says Peter, "but similar in how rich the learning potential is when we find ourselves experiencing an entirely different culture and environment for the first time."
On-campus, Peter's schedule was just as ambitious: He was a member of the Men’s Tennis Team, a Wilderness and Ecology Club member/Vice President, and a service project volunteer working with various organizations including the Special Olympics of Maryland, W.E.C. Club for invasive species removal, and the Maryland Department of Natural Resources.
For his senior capstone experience, Peter worked as Naturalist at the Marshy Point Nature Center where he had the opportunity to put the concepts and processes he learned throughout his school career to work. There he designed curriculum, created activities, and led environmental education programs for children.
Peter now works at Mahan Rykiel Associates as an Environmental Specialist where he is leading field visits, assessing site viability, processing field data, and determining species lists for planting plans. All these acts are done in effort to re-forest land upstream of the Chesapeake Bay to mitigate the effects of storm water runoff and begin to repair the watershed.
"Throughout my time at Stevenson, I was consistently inspired and impressed by my peers' dedication to advocacy for betterment of themselves and their respective communities. My classmates showed me the kind of dedication it takes to create change from the ground up."