Jake Gehrung, from Walpole, New Hampshire, is completing a major in environmental science and two minors: business administration and Spanish. He will graduate with his bachelor of science degree in May 2020. His passion is “to gain a holistic view of sustainability, and drive change through political and economic efforts.” Jake participated in several research projects through programs at the University of New Hampshire and says, “Research is one of the most sophisticated ways of learning about the world. Educating myself on people and the environment has been my priority as a college student.” In particular, Jake enjoyed research that involved cultural connections. “In New Zealand, I was able to support indigenous stakeholders and present my findings to them; in Ecuador, I learned so much about both rural and urban culture and how they alter the perception of the natural world.” Jake decided to write a commentary for Inquiry to inform others about the great value of a rigorous directed-research experience.