GS Spotlight: Michely, a Passion for Nature and the Flavors of Brazil
With an unwavering commitment to the wonders of nature and conservation, Michely, a proud member of the Goodnight Scholars and Fisheries, Wildlife, and Conservation Biology major at North Carolina State University, showcases her dedication and enthusiasm for her field. Originally from a scenic town in southeastern Brazil, Michely has learned the value of nature firsthand and seeks to make a meaningful impact in the world of conservation.
Dive into our newest Goodnight Scholars Spotlight as we uncover Michely’s fascinating journey to NC State, her connection with the natural world, and her aspiration to safeguard and uplift nature’s treasures.
Can you provide some insight into your background and interests?
I am a transfer student in the class of 2026, and I am majoring in Fisheries, Wildlife, and Conservation Biology! I am also pursuing a minor in Plant Biology. I am passionate about conservation and wildlife, as I believe that conservation is not only our ethical responsibility but also essential for our future. When I am not in class, you can often spot me on the main campus watching for pollinators around the gardens or checking out plants. In my free time, I am either in my kitchen cooking something, or outside hiking and exploring the outdoors. I am also an avid video game player, which fun fact, is how I learned most of my English. I think that one of the first words I picked up in English was “loading”.
What drove you towards your current major?
I grew up in a little tourist town surrounded by mountains and waterfalls in southeastern Brazil. The water that comes from the mountains supplies the city with clean water, and eco-tourism attracted by waterfalls is the main source of revenue in my hometown. My grandfather and I spent a lot of time exploring those waterfalls. We liked to collect rocks and he taught me how to recognize different bird species by their songs. My grandfather was a simple man and he had no formal education, but his plant and bird knowledge was amazing. These experiences shaped me into who I am, and from a young age, I learned about nature’s value. I know it may sound romantic and idyllic, but when you love nature, you are nothing but romantic. Studying wildlife conservation is my way of contributing to something that I care deeply about, and is my way of honoring my roots.
How has your experience been with the Goodnight Scholars Program?
My favorite part about the Goodnight Scholars program is the community! Each time I have the opportunity to connect with another Goodnight scholar, I find myself amazed by their interests and accomplishments. I am grateful to be part of such a diverse and inclusive community full of amazing people. Whether it’s the staff, the scholars, the mentors, or the alumni, everyone is always willing to help, offer guidance, and share a friendly word. As a transfer student and as an immigrant, having a community to support me makes me feel incredibly welcomed and ready to take on the challenges that come with university.
Are you involved in any extracurricular activities?
I work part-time as an undergraduate research assistant at the Irwin Lab. My job is to assist graduate students with their research, as they are investigating how the parasitism of some species of bees impacts the pollination of several common crop plants. Besides gaining valuable hands-on research experience, I have the privilege of seeing many interesting things in the Lab, such as bees emerging out of their cocoons, how the parasite can affect the bee’s health and behavior, and what they look like under a microscope. These complexities of nature keep me motivated and curious as I delve into my major.
What vision do you have for your future career?
My goal is to work with conservation organizations, government agencies, or research institutions dedicated to protecting and restoring natural ecosystems. I want to contribute to scientific research, conservation efforts, and policy initiatives aimed at protecting wildlife and their habitats. I wish to not only make a positive difference in conservation but also to inspire and educate others through science communication, not just within the conservation field, but with people from all backgrounds.
Lastly, tell us about your favorite food and your skills in making it.
I can make a really good “Pão de queijo”. This is a type of cheese bread made with tapioca flour, and is a very traditional piece of Brazilian cuisine, especially in my home state Minas Gerais. Not to brag, but the pão de queijo that I make is baked to perfection! Crispy and golden on the outside, and soft and airy on the inside. I will make sure to bring some to the Goodnight lounge sometime.