By Roadtrip Nation

J. Drew Lanham


My road in life has been direct.
I was born and raised in Edgefield, South Carolina, where I was surrounded by nature.
I became interested in birds early on and wanted to study zoology and ornithology, but I was discouraged by people telling me that Black kids don’t do that.
After receiving a full ride engineering scholarship, I decided that going to school for engineering was the best choice.
I spent three and a half years studying engineering and even had an engineering internship that paid me really well, but I hated it.
I finally made the decision to change my major and earned both my bachelor’s and master’s degrees in zoology, which I was much more passionate about.
I also went on to earn my doctorate in forest wildlife.
I’ve been a professor of wildlife ecology at Clemson University, my alma mater, for over 25 years now.
In addition to my work as a professor, I’m also a published author writing about my experiences as a birder and hunter.
Keep following my journey


High School
Zoology/Animal Biology
Clemson University
Zoology/Animal Biology
Clemson University
Forest Resources
Clemson University


Ecologist, Birder, & Professor of Wildlife Ecology

I teach courses in the forestry and environmental conservation department and am also a published author.

Career Roadmap

My work combines:
My work combines:
Teaching / Mentoring


The Noise I Shed

"Black kids don't really do zoology. Who wants to be a zookeeper for the rest of their life? You should become an engineer."

Interviewed By

Leap & Grow

Leap & Grow

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