Student Star: Daniel Siegel

Florida State University junior combines loves for literature, environmental advocacy into potential career path

Name: Daniel Siegel
Major: English
Graduation: Spring 2025
Hometown: Bethesda, MD
College: College of Arts & Sciences

“Over the last couple of years, I’ve tried a lot of new things. All of them have two things in common. They have been incredibly valuable opportunities to learn and grow, and they have all been provided in some way by Florida State University.”

Fast Facts

  1. Twin: Twin brother goes to the University of Florida and studies environmental science
  2. Outdoorsman: Enjoys biking and has a blast exploring trails around Tallahassee, especially St. Mark’s trail
  3. Winter lover: Likes to ski
  4. Favorite author: Terry Pratchett
  5. Avid puzzler: Does the LA Times crossword every day

Florida State University junior Daniel Siegel has a passion for environmental public outreach.

Coming from a background in English and literature, Siegel won the Sassaman Undergraduate Critical Writing Award for his paper, “Chester Himes’ Noir: Alternative Characterization of the Detectives of a Rage in Harlem.”

In addition, his time as an intern with the University of Georgia Marine Extension inspired him to use his communication skills for sustainability advocacy.

As he approaches his last year, Siegel reflects on how much he grew as a student at FSU.

“Over the last couple of years, I’ve tried a lot of new things,” he said. “Some have been fun, some challenging. Some were academic, some were extracurricular. Some have become important parts of my life, and others I’ve moved on from. All of them, though, have two things in common. They have been incredibly valuable opportunities to learn and grow, and they have all been provided in some way by Florida State University.”

Can you elaborate on your award-winning paper?

I had written the paper for a class with Professor of English Barry Faulk, who encouraged me to continue working on it. I improved the paper before I submitted it for consideration. Without Faulk’s advice and encouragement, I probably would have completely forgotten about it. Apparently, I cleaned it up well enough, because the English department thought it was good enough to give me an award. The same paper passed the initial editorial evaluation and is being circulated for peer review for the literary journal “Crime Fiction Studies.”

How has your experience with the Men’s Ultimate Frisbee Club (DUF) impacted your time at FSU?

Joining DUF was one of the most impactful things I’ve done at FSU. I love playing Frisbee. I’ve been playing since my freshman year of high school, but DUF has been more than just a team. I spend a lot of time sitting inside (or outside when it’s a nice day) staring at a computer or a book. It’s nice to have something that gets me outside and moving on a regular basis. Frisbee gives me some continuity. My classes change every semester, but my work on the field has been consistent. The most important thing about DUF has been the people. I can’t imagine what my life in college would’ve been like without having such a fun, supportive and driven group of people around me. My teammates pick me up when I get down, but they’ll also encourage me to hit the ground and are willing to put me in the dirt themselves, which is a level of friendship that’s hard to find and takes work to cultivate. I’ve been the president this year, so I’ve been putting in some extra work off the field to help the team succeed.

How have the resources provided at FSU influenced your academic career?

The resources at FSU haven’t just influenced my academic career, they have been my academic career. I owe FSU a massive debt for all the resources it provided me with. From taking amazing classes with amazing professors to exploring new career paths and goals in an internship in Georgia, to a summer abroad in London, every new experience I’ve had over the past three years has in some way been provided, encouraged or funded by FSU. One of the biggest or most obvious impacts has been my current status as a graduate student. I don’t think I would have continued on to education past a bachelor’s if it weren’t for FSU’s Honors and English programs.

How did your internship at UGA Marine Extension impact your college career?

During my freshman year, I was pretty sure I wanted to stick with English literature not just academically, but professionally. I didn’t know if I wanted to be a professor, an editor or a journalist, but I knew I wanted my job to have to do primarily with books and stories. I had an internship in London working with a company that published children’s books and had an educational website that encouraged literacy and storytelling. I have always cared deeply about the environment, so I took that experience to an internship with UGA Marine Extension during the summer after my sophomore year. While I was doing a lot of writing and educational work, getting to engage with the environment in a professional setting was an amazing experience. My entire academic and professional trajectory pivoted. While I still want to continue studying English lit, I’m planning to focus on ecological and environmental literature. My professional goal now is to become a science communicator or public outreach professional who focuses on the environment and ecology.

My internship with UGA Marine Extension allowed me to try out this new interest and build a passion for outreach and communication. My Directed Independent Study work on the Center for Ocean and Atmospheric Science’s SAMOS project encouraged these passions and once again drove home that I do want to engage with science in my professional life and that I’m especially passionate about translating science for people.

What have been your most cherished moments at FSU?

My most cherished moments at FSU have mostly involved spending time with friends. Hanging out in the dorm freshman year, getting together for game nights and just chilling on Landis with friends have been some of my favorite moments, and I think they’re the things I’m going to miss the most after I graduate.

What are your post-graduation plans?

I hope to get a job working in environmental communication or public outreach, possibly at a university extension office. I really enjoyed working with UGA Marine Extension and Georgia Sea Grant. Working with a similar sort of organization seems like a solid and achievable goal. I’m also looking forward to the chance to read a bunch of books for fun, which I still do, but I’ve also got a lot of books to get through for classes.