SUU to Everywhere

Erika Seirup ('16)

Erika Seirup ('16)
SUU to Wildlife Rehabilitation

Originally published on May 07, 2019.

As a stay at home mom searching to further her education, Erika Seirup chose Southern Utah University for its affordability and proximity. The university ended up being the perfect launching pad for her career working with wildlife.

Erika grew up with a math phobia and a belief that she was not smart enough to excel at math or STEM-based research. Eventually, with the help of SUU dedicated professors like Dr. Betsy Bancroft assistant professor of biology, Seirup pursued a bachelors in biology-zoology.

“Dr. Bancroft had a profound influence on my education and really ignited my passion for the sciences, education, and women in STEM,” said Seirup. Together they researched the effects of co-occurring environmental stressors on larval amphibians, and Seirup went on to present at the 2014 Ecological Society of America conference.

Seirup said her biggest struggle was overcoming her aversion to math, as well as juggling her studies with her responsibilities at home. “I grew up thinking I was incapable of making good grades,” said Seirup. “I feel like my time at SUU allowed me to really blossom, mature, and discover my passions outside of motherhood. My number one role will always be ‘mom’, but there's much more to me than that.”

Mark Leavitt and Lohra Wolden from Student Support Services helped Seirup overcome her math phobia at SUU. “They were my rock-solid foundation at SUU. I spent a lot of time in the tutoring lab, and a lot of time in their offices. They did a phenomenal job of teaching me and guiding me, and I will always be grateful to them,” she said.

Seirup now works in wildlife rehabilitation as an animal care staff member. She considers herself incredibly lucky to have found a career that combines her love of science, wildlife, animals, conservation, and human-wildlife conflict resolution. “I wear many hats at my job,” said Seirup. “It is really hard, dirty, stinky work. But I love it.”

Seirup said she has SUU to thank for leading her to a career that she loves. “Compassionate professors and mentors were essential to my success at SUU,” said Seirup. “I was also fortunate to have a supportive family.”

Learn more about SUU’s Biology programs.