Student Profile: Chrissy Metz

While survival of the fittest may be a fair concept, Harrisburg University environmental science major Chrissy Metz feels that every living being deserves as much help as they can get.

For the past two years, the Harrisburg resident has juggled her studies as well as her duties as a university Connections Leader. Metz, 21, is passionate about helping new HU students find their way and become acclimated to college life. As a member of the university’s student welcoming program, she serves as kind of a lifeline for new students who may be anxious because they are away from home or overwhelmed with academic responsibilities and/or social pressures.

Connections Leaders assist with everything from helping freshmen move in and get settled in the dorms to planning social activities and being there to make connections with faculty and advisors when necessary. Kim Bowman is the professor of student affairs at HU and is instrumental in the success of Connection Leaders. Metz said that the work Bowman is doing at HU is incredibly important. She said Bowman empowers students like herself to “help new students come out of their shell and be a part of the community at HU. “We do ice breakers and get them to bond. We show them the City of Harrisburg and all the area has to offer them while they are students here. It’s fun to see people connect and grow together.”

Metz, who will begin her senior year of studies in the fall of 2014, hopes to be part of the program for a third and final year at HU. “Some students prefer to talk with other students when they have problems at college,” Metz said. “As a Connections Leaders we can help them feel comfortable and connect them with the resources they need to solve their challenging issues.”

She has been able to rely on her own advisor, Christina Dryden, for help every step of the way. Metz said Prof. Dryden has assisted her with choosing and scheduling classes and assisting with important projects. “The teachers at HU are so approachable and the students are extremely helpful to each other. HU offers a team-oriented approach to learning; everyone helping everybody.”

Interestingly enough, Metz’s career choice is very much in accord with her work as an on-campus leader who strives to assist incoming students as they try to fit in and survive college life.

While her degree will be in environmental science, Metz is concentrating her studies in biology, as well. She wants to pursue a career in finding ways to save animals from extinction. She is particularly passionate about the African rhino and polar bear. “Rhinos are being killed by humans for their horns and polar bears are dying because of global warming. These animals need to be protected from humans who are causing them to die off,” she explained. “Every living thing should have the best chance it can to survive.”

Metz is a graduate of Sci-Tech High School in Harrisburg. She received the Harrisburg Partnership Scholarship, a four-year scholarshipAwarded to recent graduates from Harrisburg School District enrolling full-time in a degree program at HU that is allowing her to pursue her degree at HU. She said the school is small enough to allow every student to excel because of the close-knit community and hands-on guidance received from advisors. “You can’t get lost in the crowd here,” she added. “But there are plenty of ways to have fun and make new friends, too.”

All HU seniors are required to step out of their comfort zones and participate in an internship that will give them a taste of working in the real world. Metz hopes to get an internship that allows her to work with animals, possibly at a vet’s office or with the ASPCA. She eventually wants to be an environmental biologist who helps to find ways to protect the planet so that animals that depend on Planet Earth will, in turn, survive.