Collin Kelly is passionate about the world around him. A graduate of the environmental science and technology program at Minuteman High School in Lexington, Mass., Kelly says he was born into the career path.
His father is in law enforcement for the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service (USFWS) and works in natural resource protection. His mother is an environmental educator, speaking to groups about climate change and its negative effects.
The student has put in nearly 100 hours volunteering with the USFWS and pulling up invasive plant species. When people stopped to ask what he was doing, he learned that many had no idea what such plants were and how these invaders hurt the native environment. These talks inspired a gold-medal-winning entry in a national competition, SkillsUSA’s Community Action Project. For a national wildlife refuge, his team created educational display panels that explained invasive plant species. While discussing the idea, USFWS employees recommended also addressing the topic of pollinators. These are critical to the environment and agriculture but need more public awareness. Kelly is now majoring in biology with a concentration in wildlife at Framingham State University. For his academic excellence and SkillsUSA involvement, he earned a Janine Baker Legacy Scholarship, named for a well-known and loved SkillsUSA advisor at Minuteman. He is certain his SkillsUSA involvement increased his chances of getting into college. Had Kelly chosen a particular one in Maine, he would have had six credits transferred from Minuteman, a testament to the level of science taught there. At his state SkillsUSA conference, Kelly participated in Exploratory Project Demonstration. He says the experience got him hooked on SkillsUSA. The student learned how to present himself, do job interviews and deliver presentations. Career and technical education, combined with SkillsUSA, gave him much more than a diploma, Kelly says. “You have knowledge that most other people don’t have.”