Summer 2013: "I Am Elon" with Cara McClain '14
For Cara McClain, a psychology major and Spanish and environmental studies minor, nature is a vital part of her life. Find out why in this installment of "I Am Elon."
By Kim Walker
The year has barely hit the halfway mark and Cara McClain ’14 has already splashed through muddy
creeks with children, guided blindfolded participants through Elon’s Challenge Course and explored a chilly New Zealand cavern.
“I just feel really alive when I’m outside,” she says. “Nature has been vital for my own development and it has made me an advocate for getting kids outdoors.”
Growing up in Durham, N.C., the psychology major and Spanish and environmental studies minor was
always involved in her mother’s preschool, which is the focus of her Honors Fellows research on the impact experiences in nature can have on children. “I think it’s really critical that children spend time outside,” Cara says. “If you don’t feel connected to something, you’re not going to have any desire to save it.”
A Lumen and Periclean scholar, Cara is passionate about hands-on advocacy. She assisted with community development projects in Ghana and has participated in Alternative Spring Break trips to Central America. On campus, she’s involved in many activities, including Elon’s Sierra Club and The Center for Leadership.
While her future plans are uncertain—she has applied for several international fellowships and is considering the Peace Corps after graduation—she’s ready for whatever may come.
“It’s OK that I still don’t know what I want to do. I don’t feel there is any shortage of opportunities; it’s mostly about finding a good fit,” she says. “As long as I’m doing work that I think benefits the world, then that’s what is important.”