Going Forward

Kirstin TillemanKirstin Tilleman is passionate about basketball…and studying natural resources.

Student-athlete Kirsten Tilleman had more in mind than just basketball when she chose to come to Oregon State University. The Bozeman, Mont. native and valedictorian of her high school class was looking for a place that felt like home – that meant a supportive campus community as well as the chance to head into the outdoors in her spare time.

“When I came on my official visit everything felt right. The team enjoyed each other on and off the court. The coaches were very supportive of me excelling in basketball, but also outside of basketball,” Tilleman says.

The same level of support wasn’t hard for Tilleman to find in the classroom, as well. “Everyone wants you to succeed. I’m excited about all of my professors,” she says. “This is a big university, but it has a personal feel.”

It only took Tilleman until midway through her first term to decide the College of Forestry was for her. She sat down with her University Honors College advisor with a good idea of what she wanted to do, which was help foster the natural world and people’s perceptions of it.

“We’re in this shift of paradigms of how we view the natural world and our relationship to it,” she says. “I want to help push that shift in the right direction so that our environment is healthier and that we are healthier as people.”

Tilleman is working toward this goal with a major in natural resources with a human dimension option. Several different professors have been influential to her so far, like emeritus professor Dr. Michael Burgett, who teaches the Honors course Far Side Entomology. “He was really cool. I visited his bee lab. We keep in contact – my parents even met him. I’ll be taking his pests, plague and politics class next,” Tilleman says.

Tilleman, a sophomore, isn’t exactly sure what her future plans will be, but thinks graduate school is on the agenda.

“I’m not trying to close any options, and I’m just trying to jump at any opportunity that interests me,” she says. “It’s like basketball. I never want basketball to feel like it’s something I have to do. That’s how I want my career to be, and it’s how I’ll get the most and how I can give the most.”