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Seeds planted early for Garden Club scholar

During her junior year at Western Connecticut State University, Melissa Garafola took on quite a workload, from microbiology and organic chemistry to evolutionary biology and climate ecology — and managed to maintain a 4.0 GPA.

Garafola knew well before she came to Western that she wanted to become a biologist. The two experiences that awakened her desire were feeding fish to otters and seals at a local aquarium and working in the field at the Wolf Conservation Center in South Salem, N.Y.

Her ecological dedication earned her last year’s Danbury Garden Club Scholarship, which enabled her to cut back her work hours and focus more on her educational goals.

The 25-year-old Bethel resident graduated from Western in May with a bachelor’s degree in biology with a concentration in ecology. After attending Western for several semesters, Garafola decided she wanted the experience of a larger school and left for the University of Delaware. It wasn’t long before she was back at Western, because she said she “missed the individual attention that the smaller WCSU classes offered.”

Garafola said her courses at Western have prepared her well for life as a biologist. She is currently considering an internship with the Candlewood Lake Authority before heading off to graduate school.

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