Kaitlyn Forks, '16

“To define is to limit”

-Dorian Gray novel

Forks is involved in several organizations on campus, but here are a few that have had the greatest impact!

Forks was a parent support officer in Project Sunshine and involved in the Abbott Family Leadership Conference, which has a moral in family focus. She participated in a TAMU leadership exchange with Qatar and traveled to the Middle East for a week in exchange. She has also spent time in social organizations like Fish Camp and Maggies where she became Sisterhood Director. 

Forks’ hobbies include hiking, whether it is Costa Rica or right here in Texas at Lick Creek. She has a passion for art, and she enjoys reading Kurt Vonnegut.

Check out her badass art:

“I’m really passionate about destroying the false dichotomy between art and science," Forks said. "People think that they exist in mutually exclusive spheres. Like you can only be an artist or you can only be a scientist. You always hear people say ‘are you good at English or are you good at math?’ so it’s really important for me to be both. A lot of my art focuses on science, so I draw a lot of organisms and the insides of their bodies. A lot of times it’s animals, which I think is normal. A lot of times my art focuses on math, symmetry and things I learn in philosophy. There is so much math in art, and I think that’s what a lot of people miss."

Since her freshman year, Forks has been working in her major, Wildlife and Fisheries. She has the coolest reason, too!

“My dad was a co-author to a field guide for Texas snakes, and so I grew up knowing the Latin names of animals before I knew the common names," Forks said. "He really instilled a deep care for nature in me, so I took that into a professional career. My career path is conservation biology."

Her Campus asked Forks what she considered her greatest accomplishments have been so far, and here is what she shared with us:

“I feel like my greatest accomplishment at TAMU has been personal," Forks said. "Learning how to be a leader and being able to live out A&M’s core values in all of my extra curricular activities and in my work life and really growing in that part of me is my greatest accomplishment here. I couldn’t name one tangible thing that would express that because it’s a combination of all of those things."

Don’t worry; it’s not just you. Her Campus also wanted to know how she’s so cool… so we asked!

Forks is from San Antonio, home of the Alamo! She explained to Her Campus why she loves the city so much.

“We have a rich Hispanic culture and my high school had a really diverse socioeconomic background, so I got exposure to all kinds of walks of life," Forks said. "As far as academics, my high school was competitive, and I was lucky to see that the people around me were going to college, and that was always something within reach. If not for that, I don’t know if I would have ended up in college because I am a first generation college student, so I had to do a lot of figuring out on my own."

Here is some advice from Forks to freshmen!

"At Texas A&M, work towards finding the balance between rest and self-improvement," Forks said. "We push a lot of people to get really involved, but we don’t push enough people to spend time exploring their own identities and discovering parts of themselves. Introspection can be lost in the hustle and bustle."

Forks’ role models include Kid President, The Lorax, Liz Lemon from 30 Rock, Tina Fey and Amy Poehler--also, any female scientist ever. She also explained that her friends are her role models, too.

“I think if you’re not friends with people that you look up to, then you need to be friends with other people,” Forks said.

Her Campus asked Forks to break down her favorite experiences during her time at TAMU.     

  • Freshmen year, she learned how to make a home anywhere.
  • Sophomore year, she learned to do something that’s important to you, even if you don’t know that it will benefit you long term.
  • Junior year, she learned how to deal with failure.
  • Senior year, she learned about the importance of rest.

“My favorite college experience has been growing in one small aspect of myself every year in a different way,” Forks said.

Forks has a passion for animals, especially amphibians. 

Reptiles too! 

“I grew really fond of poison dart frogs," Forks said. "I love the blue jean frog (the common name) or the strawberry dart frog. They have an awesome capacity for female maternal care. They lay the eggs on side of tree, and the tadpoles hatch and females carry water to the tadpoles to make sure they stay moist. As women, we naturally understand self-sacrifice."

It’s rare to hear that a student at TAMU affiliates with Buddhism, but Forks has adopted the philosophy of it.

“I meditate occasionally," Forks said. "Compassion is the most important. Rid yourself of desire. Be endlessly patient and kind. Detach from material possessions. It is hard going to a predominately Christian school because people don’t understand you. It brings perspective."

Bonfire memorial is Forks’ favorite place after a long day because it brings her peace. Tim Kerlee’s portal at bonfire memorial is special to Forks because Kerlee was the 12th person to die by “helping his buddies first.”

After graduation, Forks will be joining Teach For America.

"Teach for America corps members believe that your zip code should never determine the quality of your education," Forks said. "I think providing students with the resources they need and deserve is fundamental to dismantling inequity. You can't think about equity in healthcare, in law, or in politics without first thinking about it in education. That's where it starts."

 

Edited for clarity Oct. 17, 2016