A Commitment to Strength – Hannah Palko

An Honors scholar who majored in biology, Hannah Palko, ’15, was a resident assistant for two years, co-president of a religious organization on campus, and a teaching assistant during her four years at Meredith. Ironically, her commitment to helping make others stronger resulted in a distinctly stronger sense of purpose for her own life.

Hannah particularly enjoyed helping first year students find their place in the community.

“Resident assistants are among the first people that new students meet on campus, and it was always fun to help them feel safe and at home. I’ve been able to see those women start making their own impact, which is a great feeling.”

She provided academic support for her fellow students as a teaching assistant in several classes, including introduction to biology, animal biology, and plant biology.

“I had the opportunity to mentor peers and talk to them about their interests and career goals.”

As co-president of Catholic Angels, Hannah helped to plan Bible studies, community service projects, and fundraising projects.

Studying abroad in Tanzania helped Hannah develop greater independence and a love of travel. Through a program focused on wildlife management and conservation, she also gained key insights about her values and who she wants to be as a global citizen.

After graduation Hannah will pursue her master’s degree in ecology at UNC-Chapel Hill where she has been offered a teaching assistantship to help fund her graduate studies. She’ll also be doing field research in the Outer Banks.

“The project that we will be working on is titled ‘Salient Gradient Energy – An Inexhaustible Clean Energy Resource for North Carolina.’ My research focus will be on the ecological effects of ocean-based renewable energy.”

Hannah is excited to take this next step toward her ultimate goal: earning her doctorate. And she feels well prepared for graduate school, thanks to opportunities to conduct undergraduate research, write her Honors thesis, and do field research in her ecology and aquatic field studies laboratories.

“I’ve learned to chase after what I’m passionate about, even if it seems challenging.”