Students from different departments within CAST (and one student involved in Gamma Phi Circus) were selected as Robert G. Bone Scholars for the 2020-2021 academic year. The recognition is the highest campus honor given to undergraduate students. Recipients receive a monetary award and are included in a Bone Student Center display. Students are chosen based on academic achievements, community involvement, and demonstrated leadership within the University and surrounding communities. This year’s recipients answered questions about their work, inspiration, and the honor of being named a Bone Scholar.

Trevar Moran is a senior studying environmental health and safety (EHS).

What originally made you choose your field of study?

I worked in construction as a mason for almost 15 years. I was exposed to many unsafe acts and conditions that led me to want to make a difference in more of a way than I was able to as a worker. I also have a strong passion and connection to nature, so a degree in EHS fills my Venn diagram of protecting workers and the natural environment.

What made you choose ISU?

I’ve been a Central Illinois resident for most of my life and knew many graduates of ISU who assured me this was the school to attend if I wanted to obtain a degree in EHS. ISU has a long track record for providing the workforce with quality Environmental Health (EH) and Safety professionals.

Tell us about a favorite course or project you have worked on. What did you enjoy the most about it?

I still daydream about my Organic Chemistry class. It seems to be the limiting factor in why or why not students choose a degree in EH or focus on a degree in safety. I have heard many horror stories about Organic Chemistry, so I went into the class ready for a stressful semester. I ended up loving this course, I understood how the chemistry worked, and it also allowed me to practice art, in a way. Class lecture consisted of colored pencils and drawing chemical reactions, which all aided in my ability to learn and retain the information. I enjoyed every lecture and enjoyed discussing the concepts with my classmates and my professor.

How have you adapted to this learning environment we are currently in (with a majority of courses online)?

I’m still trying. I have gotten better at not allowing at-home distractions interfere with my studies. I am not an online learner; I need discussion and debate in order to truly understand what I’m trying to learn. This has not been easy even though I consider myself a very disciplined individual. But, like with everything in life, we adapt and move forward. Sometimes I wonder if this is training because someday I will decide to obtain my master’s degree via online school; time will tell. I take many short breaks throughout the day, including short walks, stretching, or playing fetch with my dog, who loves the fact I am home more often.

What are you involved with on campus?

I am a part of the Student Environmental Health Association (SEHA). Over the past year (before COVID-19) we had done the work to be recognized as an official ISU association. We had recruited many new members and organized multiple community outreach programs, from trach pick-up to speaking at schools to inform upcoming students of what our degree and organization does and can do. Many of these activities have been put on hold, but just recently we have organized another community service by teaming up with the Master Naturalists to help with “yard work” around the prairie at Heartland Community College.

What does this recognition mean to you?

I have sacrificed many aspects of my life to go back to school. There have been many times I’ve wondered to myself if it was all worth it. This recognition solidified my choices and gave meaning to my sacrifices.

Do you have any advice for students when it comes to academic success?

Hard work outweighs all else. You don’t need to be considered a ‘scholar’ to excel in academics—persistence and a never-quit attitude prevail.

Tell us about your future goals: What is coming up for you after you leave ISU?

Per the usual, finding a career is my first goal. I own a house that I’ve had to rent out to focus on my last few years of school. I really want to move back into my home and get it back to the way I had it. I’m looking for a career in EHS or water treatment. My goal is to find a job within an hour of my home but not opposed to moving out of state. I’ve investigated Wisconsin, Idaho, Montana, and Tennessee. I do not want to limit myself geographically.

Want to learn more about opportunities within the Department of Health Sciences at Illinois State? Visit the department‘s website for more information.