University of Pittsburgh-Johnstown

Student's Conservation Efforts Reach from Alaska's Rivers to the Halls of Congress

Kylie Hogan in Alaska

Conservationist. Outdoors enthusiast. Congressional lobbyist. Future educator. Current Pitt-Johnstown student.

These definitions apply to senior Kylie Hogan. Even the collective impact of those terms do not quite tell her story.

Hogan’s efforts have spanned from the rivers of Alaska to the halls of Congress in Washington, D.C.

She is a senior double majoring in Biology and Secondary Education with a focus in biology, and minoring in Chemistry and Communications. The Richland High, Cambria County, grad is pursuing a career in education, preferably in Alaska. 

“I became interested in conservation at a very young age,” she said. “I grew up as a hunter, fisher, white-water kayaker, camper, hiker, biker, and other outdoor pursuits, while my parents and extended family all similarly instilled values of conservation down through each generation.

“Those values were enforced throughout my education and my work over the summer as Ecology Director at a Boy Scouts of America Camp, Camp Seph Mack.”

She started a Trout Unlimited Costa 5 Rivers club at Pitt-Johnstown, which teaches students fly-casting and fly-tying and provides volunteer stream conservation activities on the members’ home waters. Clubs are encouraged to coordinate outings, guest speakers and other events with their partner Trout Unlimited chapters.

She participated in a month-long excursion across Alaska this summer.

“It was a really humbling experience because I wasn’t going to apply in the first place. I didn’t think I was deserving of it,” Hogan said. “Being selected felt reassuring that all of these experiences I’ve had throughout my life kind of built up for this trip and it all came full circle for me.”

This fall, she made her way to Washington, D.C., to lobby Congressional leaders in an effort to keep the Land and Water Conservation Fund from expiring.

“The point of this was to tell them about our experience in Alaska through the Trout Unlimited program and to push for them to support the reauthorization of the Land and Water Conservation Fund,” Hogan said.

“When I was in Alaska, we spent all of our time on public lands. The Land and Water Conservation Fund is important because it supports all of our state parks,” Hogan said. “Regionally, the fund has maintained the Johnstown Flood National Memorial, Flight 93 National Memorial, and has helped Ohiopyle State Park transform into more of a visitor-friendly area.”

LWFC funding expired in September, but lobbying by conservations like Hogan may negotiate a stronger bill passed by Congress.

“We have a fantastic outdoor recreation area around here, and with funding from the program, we can maintain these areas and make them better,” Hogan said. “You don’t need to be an extreme outdoorsman for this to be important to you. Public lands belong to the people."

The University of Pittsburgh at Johnstown was founded in 1927 and is the first and largest regional campus of the University of Pittsburgh. Pitt-Johnstown is recognized by the Princeton Review as a “Best in the Northeast” college, by G.I. Jobs as a “Military Friendly School,” and by Pennsylvania Business Central as a "Top 100 Organization.” The distinctive combination of Pitt-Johnstown’s people, programs, and place results in exceptional performance in preparing students for career and professional success. Pitt-Johnstown is the regional leader, educating for success in the Real World.