University of Montana student’s journey from river guide to environmental lawyer

University of Montana law student Meridian Wappett’s connection to rapid waters goes all the way back to her preschool days.

“I’ve been rafting since I was 5 years old,” said Wappett, a native of Moscow, Idaho. “I started navigating Class IV rapids when I was 12. It’s safe to say I grew up on the river.”

Wappett’s love for the river guided her toward the sciences early in her childhood. Her high school teachers encouraged her to volunteer with state environmental organizations, where Wappett got a taste for what’s required to organize rallies, draft and pass climate change legislation, and spend days testifying at the state legislature.

Meridian Wappett, a first-year student, studies at the Alexander Blewett III School of Law on March 14, 2023.

Tommy Martino, UM News Service

When Wappett decided to attend college, she wanted to gain skillsets to help protect the rivers she grew up on. This led her to Utah State University, where Wappett pursued a degree in conservation and restoration ecology, working toward a career as a scientist.

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