Bicycling from Texas to Canada and back is not a feat most can imagine attempting, much less actually completing.
For Angelika Fuller, geography senior, the challenge is just another goal on her checklist of things to do.
“I expect her to do many different things and to do them all very well,” said Mark Carter, senior lecturer in the geography department, who has taught and mentored Fuller.
Between leading meditations and discussions as a founding member of Diamond Way Buddhist Meditation Group at Texas State and spreading awareness about the situation along the United States-Mexico border, Fuller recently found time to travel to Hot Springs, Va. She participated in a summer internship with the U.S. Forest Service, helping build trails in the George Washington and Jefferson National Forest.
“We built a lot of rock walls, and we would widen a lot of trails, and we dug trenches,” Fuller said. “We worked on five trails in all.”
Fuller, an honors student, said the opportunity came about when she learned of the Student Conservation Association through the geography department last year and filled out an application.
“My career goal is to work in either the national park or national forest system,” Fuller said. “I don’t exactly want to do trail work, but I figured it would be an entrance into the system.”
Fuller said she was specifically chosen for her internship based on a trip she took through the Outdoor Center.
“I’ve backpacked in the Grand Canyon for a week,” Fuller said. “We hiked all the way down to the bottom and back. It was beautiful.”
Fuller said she is most passionate about being an advocate for migrants trying to cross the southern border of the United States, aside from dreams of becoming a park and forest researcher. Fuller spent her summer in southern Arizona last year, volunteering with the humanitarian aid group, No Mas Muertes (No More Deaths), providing food, water and medical aid to migrants coming from Mexico.
“After that experience, hearing their stories and learning how border patrol treats these people, I want to be an advocate for them,” Fuller said. “It’s a crisis that needs more light.”
Gloria Velasquez, lecturer in the modern languages department, taught Fuller during her second semester of Spanish. Velasquez crossed the border from Mexico 20 years ago.
“I was following a dream, and now other people are following behind me,” Velasquez said. “It’s not very often that you see young people that are so dedicated and can care so much for others. We all have busy lives, and we usually tend to say, ‘Well it’s not happening to me or anyone close to me,’ and so we pretend that it’s not happening at all.”
Fuller said she and another student are in the process of creating a new student organization to be formed this semester that would aim to help spread awareness of the border situation. Velasquez will serve as the faculty mentor.
Fuller has participated in Taking Action Now for Darfur, for which she raised thousands of dollars for victims of the genocide. She also traveled to Russia in January with Diamond Way Buddhist Meditation Group to tour and meditate with fellow members.
Carter said Fuller's commitment to her ideals and selfless personality are what seperate her from her peers.
“She’s always out there giving, and she also puts that together and has a lot of fun at the same time,” Carter said. “She knows how to balance out the work with having fun.”