Dave Belanger ’22

Returning for the Degree that Fits
Dave Belanger '22

Dave Belanger is a forest technology major from Auburn, New Hampshire. He returned to UNH to pursue his associates degree almost a decade after leaving the university and enlisting in the Marine Corps.

COLSA: What's your major and what makes it so interesting to you?

Dave Belanger: My major is Forest Technology. In 2011, I was studying business and my roommate was studying forest technology. I was jealous of him being outside every day. Once I left college and gained some life experience, I realized I have a passion for being outside as well as feeling more comfortable in the woods than inside sitting at a desk.

COLSA: During your time at UNH, what are you most proud of?

Dave: I am most proud of my ability to turn my academic career around. I was on academic probation in
2011 and had no passion for what I was studying. I went to college right after high school because I was taught that that is what everyone is supposed to do and that the only path in life is a traditional 4-year degree. Since coming back to UNH at the Thompson School I have been able to enjoy learning again and have identified and am working towards a career in life rather than just going through the motions.

COLSA: What are you planning to do after graduation?

Dave: I plan to head back to Idaho where I was previously employed by the Bureau of Land Management as a wildland firefighter and continue to follow that career path.

COLSA: How is UNH preparing you to achieve your goals?

Dave: UNH has helped prepare me for achieving my goals by offering a very hands-on 2-year Associates of Applied Science degree. Too often traditional 4-year programs are pushed, however they are not for everyone. The Thompson School offers the ideal environment for non-traditional students such as myself who may already have a career path started through life experience, but want to use their G.I. Bill to get some academia added to their resumes.

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