“It caught my attention because it’s a unique field,” Drew Williams says of his interest in becoming a paleontologist. “I’ve always been interested in prehistoric things—not just dinosaurs, but also reptiles and mammalians. The field is much more than dinosaurs.”

Drew’s dad was a major force in his developing an interest in paleontology. As a long-time science teacher, he took Drew to many museums and got him excited about going on a dig. In fact, when Drew was 6, his dad had the opportunity to go on a paleontology dig in Montana. While he was gone, Drew decided to do a “dig” of his own in the backyard.

“When he came back, I had dug up a lot of the yard. I thought I’d found a fossil, but it was actually just a tree root,” Drew says with a laugh.

As a future scientist, Drew believes in the value of research, and he did some before choosing to come to Moraine Valley. He had three brothers and several friends who had attended before him, and they all encouraged him to start here.

“I’m going to be in school a long time,” Drew says, noting that he plans to eventually earn a master’s degree and a PhD. “I wanted to save money and I knew I’d be getting the same education.”

As a paleontologist, Drew will spend a lot of time exploring the past. For now, he’s focusing on the future and knows his time here at Moraine Valley has prepared him well for the next step.

“I’m really grateful for the opportunities they’ve given me,” he says.