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- Mighty Oak Monday: Zach Mills
Mighty Oak Monday: Ian Davis
Hometown: Norwood, Ohio
Class of ’26
Ian Davis has a career goal: Being a leader and changing the world. As a boy, he participated in his hometown scouting program, which fostered his interest in the outdoors while growing his capabilities as an independently thinking individual who would take the lead when things weren't functioning as they should.
That core identity resonated when he encountered ESF’s mission statement. “As much of a focus as there was on research and scientific understanding at ESF, there was an equal emphasis on producing capable, independent leaders who have the knowledge, willpower, and morality to pursue a better future for the world,” he says. “It really resonated with me.”
During his first semester, Ian switched from conservation biology to biochemistry as he became more and more interested in understanding the mechanisms that underlie life on our planet. “I believe that the more we understand ourselves and the way the living world works, the better we're going to be able to apply effective change and reverse the damage we've done,” he says.
Though it’s too early to pin down a career path, Ian is contemplating graduate school in genetics or virology, with an eye toward research. He values the warm and encouraging atmosphere at ESF and hopes to extend it to others, possibly in a lab of his own.
Landing the scholarship changed Ian’s life. “Watching my father start a new business,
I saw firsthand how emotionally taxing and how distracting financial risks can be,
and I wanted to be very, very certain that wherever I took a financial risk by investing
in my education, I would have some support. Were it not for your donation, I would
be educating very, very close to home, not getting exposure to the world outside of
the small sphere that I was raised in for 18 years, and not having the chance to learn
from some of the most globally distinguished environmental faculty that I have ever
encountered. Thanks to the scholarship, I have a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity.”
Learn more about ESF’s Biochemistry program.