An outstanding University of Arizona senior thought she would pursue a career among the stars when she was an undergraduate. Over the last few years, however, another passion started to churn.

In her conversation with KGUN 9, she thanks her travels, classes and experiences with helping her chart a future one where she can help communities live healthier lives because of solid laws and policy.

Bryn Bowen came to Tucson from Hendersonville, NC. She said the lauded school of astronomy first drew her to the desert, but life, with its twists and turns, drew her to clubs like Model United Nations (MUN) and internships with attorneys offices.

“I just found those really rewarding, because they felt like they had a real-world impact with the work that they do,” Bowen said.

“I would say (the experiences were) challenging in many ways, but they’re rewarding in a sense of directly contributing to the world and the community around you.”

Bowen said she’s excited to head to a new home in Washington D.C. She will join the Department of Justice as a paralegal specialist. Bowen said she’s eager to work with mentors she met as an intern in the department’s Environment and Natural Resources Division.

“Governments are really going to be key to getting changes in environmental law and policy that are going to be needed as the climate continues to change,” Bowen said. “Just as much as you can criticize laws and policies, it’s key to really understand them and how they operate.”

Bowen added that she feels her trips with her UArizona Honors College peers opened her horizons to other cultures and approaches to environmental sustainability. One trip to Italy, she said, stands out as a gift she won’t soon forget.

“It really was coincidental that we ended up going to visit these temples (in Paestum) that day,” she said. “We went to Sorrento on the Amalfi Coast later that day, too, which is a really fun place to have a birthday.”

Another memory helped shape Bowen’s passion. She visited Mexico to train to host a MUN conference with high school students in Arizona and in Mexico — the only bi-national summit of its kind between the two countries, she said.

In this new chapter of her story, Bowen said she’s keeping one lesson in mind. She called it a reflection that helped her when she was new to the Old Pueblo.

“I just need to remember that I can always make connections and have opportunities, as long as I really seek them out and enjoy the time that I have where I am.”