My Story Started at GRCC: Jennifer Archambault says GRCC sparked an interest in wildlife, leading to a career in conservation

Jennifer Archambault’s favorite GRCC memory?

“Barbie in a shark!”

Start at GRCC and go anywhere. Every former student has a story to tell about how GRCC gave them the education and opportunity to be successful.

Professor Greg Forbes secretly planted a Barbie leg into the dogfish shark Archambault and the other students would be working on in a dissection lab.

“That – and some excellent acting – shocked and thrilled students into attentive engagement into fish anatomy!” Archambault said.

That course remains in her memory for another reason: It sparked her interest in wildlife, leading to the rewarding career she has today.

Archambault, who earned her Associate in Science in 2002, works for the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service in Raleigh, N.C., as a national recovery coordinator for several threatened and endangered freshwater species, including fish, mussels, a salamander and a snail.

She says she’s built her career “step by step,” with GRCC as a valuable launching pad.

“The small class sizes and responsive instructors helped me to be a successful and well-rounded scholar,” she said. “It was a good education, accessible in my own community, and I had an amazing advisor in Dr. Forbes, who really helped me carve out the path that has become my career.”

She has been able to explore different aspects of wildlife conservation while continuing her higher education journey.

“In the 20 years since graduating from GRCC, I went on to earn a bachelor’s degree, worked for several years in private industry at an environmental consulting firm, returned to college for a master’s degree, worked as research staff at a major U.S. university, and earned my Ph.D. while working in academia,” said Archambault of the degrees she earned at North Carolina State University.

“I’ve tried to balance enjoying what I’m doing while I’m doing it, with pursuing high achievement to ensure I’ve maximized my options for future opportunities. Along the way, I’ve benefited from supportive advisors, family, friends and community.”

Let GRCC help you start your story. The first chapter starts at

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