Childhood experience lays out life path for CANR grad

When Chelsea Rawe was in second grade, her best friend, Maya, was deported.

When Chelsea Rawe was in second grade, her best friend, Maya, was deported.

“As you can imagine, that was shocking to me, as it would be most kids that age,” Rawe said. “However, that life experience really marked when I became interested in the world beyond the United States.”

Rawe, who graduated with undergraduate degrees in entomology and human nutrition in May, is starting work with the Peace Corps this summer.


The Clarkston, Michigan, native has a deep passion for science and volunteer work. Both were notably recognized in March when she earned the College of Agriculture and Natural Resources (CANR) Senior of the Year Award. Her selection gave her the opportunity to address her fellow graduates at the CANR Commencement ceremony on May 3 at the Breslin Center. (To see Chelsea’s speech during graduation, visit You can watch the CANR Commencement ceremony or just her speech, which begins at 21:26.)


Rawe explained that it was her involvement in 4-H that encouraged her to attend Michigan State University (MSU) for her undergraduate career. She had visited the university many times for various 4-H events and had grown so fond of the campus that when it came time to apply for college, MSU was her only consideration.


During Rawe’s four years at MSU, she took advantage of many campus opportunities. She was a member of the Block and Bridle Club, a student organization focusing on animal agriculture, where she served as community service co-chair and secretary. Rawe also served as the president of the MSU chapter of UNICEF, an agency that provides health care and education to children in developing countries. As president, she helped spread awareness and held fundraisers. She was also an active participant in GUESS, the Graduate and Undergraduate Entomology Student Society.


One of Rawe’s goals was to study abroad. She managed to do that twice, for a semester in Ecuador and during a one-month trip to Sri Lanka to study tropical agriculture.


“Serving in the Peace Corps is important to me because I realize that simply being born into the family I was gave me many opportunities and blessings,” she said. “I view my service in the Peace Corps as one small way I can work with others to help provide better opportunities to those who are not typically afforded them.”


Rawe is well equipped and experienced to provide opportunities thanks to her work at MSU. She double majored in entomology and human nutrition, traveled on a study abroad and volunteered to tutor children learning English as a second language. She’s also spent time volunteering in local hospitals.


“I think it’s always good to have more tools in your toolbox, so to speak,” she said. “I wanted to squeeze the most I could into the past four years.”


Rawe said she’s loved science her whole life and has enjoyed the many specialties available in science in the CANR. While they seem like a strange pairing, nutrition and entomology have more cross sections than one might think at first glance.


“Nutrition is a hugely important aspect of public health as are insect-vectored diseases,” she said. “Also, agriculture has the goal of good nutrition and is certainly affected by entomological pests and beneficial organisms.”


Rawe will spend 27 months in Nepal where she will work as a food security volunteer.


“In the future, I hope to use my skills and knowledge to help the most marginalized populations,” Rawe said. “I have two passions, agriculture and health. I would like to find a career that will be based on one or both of those passions.”




Michigan State University Michigan State University Close Menu button Menu and Search button Open Close