COVID-19 Information

See the latest updates and information regarding the COVID-19 pandemic, including a list of University contact information at

portrait of Baylee McLaughlin

Baylee McLaughlin

Wildlife Action Plan Intern at Illinois Department of Natural Resources

Majored in Biology: Wildlife and Conservation

Graduated in 2017

Explain your career path

I am currently an intern at the IDNR as I pursue my Master of Science in Environmental Science. My closure project focuses on the demographics of the lesser siren in central Illinois. After graduation I hope to obtain a career in conservation biology, preferably in an area of aquatic ecology.

What was your major at Southeast and what led you to that?

I graduated with a B.S. in Biology: Wildlife and Conservation. I have always had an interest in wildlife, and as I entered college, my passion for environmentalism grew. This degree allowed me to obtain a career in both fields, which was perfect for me.

Why did you choose to attend Southeast?

I originally chose SEMO in pursuit of a pre-veterinary degree, and I had heard great things about the program. But even after I switched majors, I found great mentors and interesting classes that made me want to stay at SEMO, even after wanting to pursue a different degree.

Who influenced you most during your time at Southeast?

I would say my mentor and professor, Dr. Jenn Weber, as well as my best friend. Both have a passion for biology, conservation, and learning, and their guidance and life advice has helped me get to the place I am today.

Share your best college memory.

My best college memories involved anything with sports. I love being active and I enjoyed sports in high school, so I always had fun playing pick-up games and intramurals with friends.

What is the most important thing you learned while you were at Southeast?

The most important thing I learned was to continually pursue your passions and interests, no matter how many times you might fail along the way.

What is your greatest professional accomplishment?

Being accepted to graduate school and obtaining an internship at the Illinois Department of Natural Resources.

What advice would you give current students or recent graduates interested in pursuing a career in your professional field?

Learn as much as you can about anything that interests you, and get as much field experience as you can. The only way you can decide what to specialize in is by knowing what all there is to offer, and you will almost always learn more in the field than you will from a textbook.


(573) 651-2163

College of Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics
One University Plaza, MS 6800
Cape Girardeau, Missouri 63701