For Nick Dumke, the opportunities presented by the University of Montevallo’s Outdoor Scholars Program were enough to convince him to move 1,300 miles away from home to a school he didn’t even visit prior to his decision. 

Dumke is a junior at UM, a member of the Outdoor Scholars Program and on the fishing team.  

Originally from Minnesota, the leap to a small college in Alabama is a big one, but Dumke’s mind was made when he heard from a friend about UM’s Outdoor Scholars Program.  

“I kind of looked all over because I knew I wanted something like this,” Dumke said regarding UM’s Outdoor Scholars Program. “And this was really the only option.”

Nick Dumke and a teammate at a fishing tournament. Photo courtesy of Nick Dumke.

Dumke finds his involvement in the Outdoor Scholars Program to be a major aide in his preparation for a career post-graduation.  

Majoring in marketing and with a social media administration minor, Dumke also uses his time with the Outdoor Scholars Program to practice videography and content creation.  

Dumke said students with the Outdoor Scholars Program can be on the film crew at fishing tournaments, an experience that he sees as preparation for the workplace.  

After graduation, Dumke hopes to continue pursuing content creation related to the outdoors, and his current internship with Wired2Fish, a fishing media production company, gives him the chance to put his skills to use. Dumke hopes his internship experience will lead him to a job.   

Outside of videography and content creation, Dumke says there are many ways students with the Outdoor Scholars Program are gaining valuable experience. “We have a lot of people in the program who are not on the fishing team, the archery team—just people who love the outdoors,” he said.  

The program features trips, fundraisers and unique opportunities for all involved, according to Dumke. The program has opened doors for many UM students and alumni. “I can think of a handful of people…that have gone into some pretty crazy careers that probably would have never happened if it weren’t for the Outdoor Scholars Program.”  

Dumke did not expect to find so much to like about Alabama when he first moved here, but he has been pleasantly surprised. He credits the Outdoor Scholars Program for showing him what Alabama has to offer. “I had no clue there was as much to Alabama as there is,” he said, specifically referencing his time spent around the Coosa River and its extensive system through eastern and central Alabama.  

Although he said his internship will likely take him back home to Minnesota, staying in Alabama after graduating is not something he would be opposed to.  “I’ve come to like Alabama quite a bit,” he admitted.  

Despite all the traveling, Dumke says students with the Outdoor Scholars Program are encouraged to succeed academically. He has found that most professors are very willing to work with students in the program to make sure they are still getting the education they are here for.  

Between the trips, career preparation and team-building opportunities, Dumke has found the Outdoor Scholars Program to be a one-of-a-kind experience.  

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