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Karyn Diane Cameron Endowed Presidential Scholarship

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Karyn expresses her joy in being with and communicating with animals even in colder climates.
Karyn expresses her joy in being with and communicating with animals even in colder climates.

Karyn Cameron’s love of animals and all things outdoors began at an early age when she helped her parents select a golden retriever puppy. Young Karyn immediately deemed the pup to be her pet. As the years went by, she became more and more fascinated with animals. Her love eventually flourished in the form of summer internships at the Houston Arboretum and Nature Center, a degree from the College of Liberal Arts, and numerous academic achievements through the humanities program at UT.

Karyn’s life was cut short in 1992 when she died in a mountain climbing accident shortly after graduating from UT. To honor her legacy, her family established the Karyn Diane Cameron Endowed Presidential Scholarship for the College of Liberal Arts. Merit and interest in the biological sciences, particularly conservation biology or environmental biology, are greatly considered in awarding the scholarship to students in the Humanities Honors Program.

While at UT, Karyn herself benefited from presidential scholarships. She thrived both as a student and athlete at the university. She was a member of the UT rowing team (and of the soccer team at her high school). Her father, Dr. Guy Cameron, notes that she was extremely dedicated and would bike to the Colorado River every morning to practice.

When choosing a career path, Karyn found opportunity in the humanities program, an interdisciplinary honors program for upperclassmen.

“The humanities program was an ideal match for Karyn because of its hallmark of allowing students to custom design their own educational program,” Dr. Cameron said.

With guidance from the humanities faculty, she created a curriculum of geography, anthropology, and zoology. Her senior thesis focused on conservation biology and the impact of exotic game ranching (e.g., introduced sitka deer, fallow deer, Nilgal antelope) on native white-tailed deer in the Texas Hill Country.

Kayrn is seen here during her field work in Maine shortly before her death.
Kayrn is seen here during her field work in Maine shortly before her death.

“This was the hallmark of her education at UT,” Dr. Cameron said. “This program and its faculty channeled her education, expanded her horizons, and played a critical role in her development.”

In the summer of 1991, Karyn helped compile a census of migratory birds in the deciduous forests of Missouri. At the time of her death, she was involved in a related project working as an intern for the U.S. Forest Service in Maine.

“Her ambition was to prepare for a career in some aspect of conservation biology building upon the focus of her senior honors thesis,” Dr. Cameron said. 

The endowment in Karyn’s name will honor her achievements at UT and support future students in the humanities program. Gift funds for the endowment were provided by Dr. Cameron; her mother, Sharon Cameron; and her grandfather, Dr. George Cameron. 

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