My name is Audrey Prior. I am a young woman from New Hampshire who is making her place in the world and discovering what it is she’s meant to do. I love where I live and want to give back to this place that raised me. I am a multi-talented individual with many passions and many interests. I am fascinated by learning and by the world around me, and I want to understand the stories of those who I interact with. I believe that in our world of social media and asynchronous communication, we are losing touch with the people behind the screen. I want to change that. I am working on getting more involved in the place that I live and discovering the ways that we can bring back true, authentic connection.
Anyone who knows me will say that I am a planner at heart. If I take on a project you can assume that there is at least one list, and probably a spreadsheet too. I have a list of things to do each day and my schedule is usually pretty full, if flexible. When I start something I want to make sure that I have all of the facts and I want to make sure that everything is done to the highest standards possible. I work hard not because I want recognition or awards, though recognition is nice. I work hard because I care about the quality of the final result. Everything that we produce is a reflection of who we are, and I want to make sure that everyone who sees my work sees the dedication and drive that went into making it. I don’t think I know how to do something halfway, and there is no problem that I can’t solve. I have always been self motivated. I do things because I want to do them, and once I commit to something I see it through. What I do is not work, because I enjoy doing it. I don’t believe that work has to be separate from the things you enjoy.
I describe myself as poised, reflective, collected, and reserved. If you meet me in the hallway you will usually find me with a smile on my face. I am friendly and I have always been good at working alone or in a group. I am able to work with many different personalities and am very adaptable, allowing me to assume whatever role I need to in a particular situation. I am a very accommodating person, doing my best to make sure that others are comfortable and at ease. I lead by quiet example, but I am not afraid to be direct when I need to be, in a non-confrontational way. You will quickly realize that I prefer harmony and do not like to create discord, and so I work very hard to make sure that everything runs smoothly.
I am not afraid to try new things. I have grown to enjoy presenting and sharing what I’m passionate about with the world, even though it used to scare me. I love to learn new skills and so I take classes in a variety of disciplines. I have taken ballroom dance lessons, learned graphic design, taken a pottery class, gone horseback riding, practiced silversmithing, and learned the coding language Java. I have taken classes in humanities, art, geology, geography, economics, computer science, mathematics, physics, and sociology. Learning is how we grow, and I am not afraid to grow.
Below you can read about my life. I will take you through my childhood, all the way up to where I am now. Throughout this biography you will notice that I do not use names. This is intentional and I am not trying to hide anything from you. I simply want to honor and respect people’s privacy.
To give you a bit of my history, I was born and raised in New Hampshire, USA, on the seacoast. I live in a small town and attended public school. I grew up in a loving household with two parents, a brother, and several other beings that I was glad to call a part of my family. As a child I loved to play outside and I especially loved to swim. I could swim all day. In elementary school I rode horses for a few years and loved the companionship that being with them provided. After a few years I stopped riding as I realized that I did not like the competitiveness that I was being pushed into. I just wanted to ride and connect with the beings who were willing to carry me on their backs.
I have always loved reading, so all through elementary, middle, and high school, if I wasn’t doing schoolwork, you would most likely find me with a book in my hand. I loved fantasy novels, anything that let me stretch my mind to imagine the different worlds that could exist. I was an excellent student in school. My teachers enjoyed me and my friends were glad to have me help them understand the concepts we were being taught. My eighth grade graduating class was small, only around sixty students. In high school, we joined with three other towns, which was both a challenge and an adventure. My high school graduating class was 280 students, much larger than I was used to. For a quiet girl who loves school, it was a big change, but my adaptability helped me thrive. In high school I took a lot of science and business courses. I had always loved science and my father was in business. When I was a sophomore in high school my father passed away while we were on vacation in Florida. That has been the most challenging event in my life so far. Life goes on though, and I know that he is still with me in spirit.
My favorite classes in high school were accounting and physics. My accounting teacher was one of the most wonderful people that I’ve ever met. She saw me and supported me and I was so lucky to have her as a teacher. My physics teacher was also one of my biggest champions. He could see my intelligence and my drive and he encouraged me to be the best person that I could be. When I graduated from high school I was considering going into physics, but I realized that while I enjoyed math and science it was due more to my teacher than the material. I graduated as the valedictorian of my high school class, one of my proudest achievements so far.
While in high school I had two jobs. One I began as a volunteer at my local library, the North Hampton Public Library. The library had always been one of my favorite places and the youth librarian who had been there since I was young was amazing. When I decided I needed some experience and wanted to get involved in something, the library was one of the first places I looked. I started out helping with a middle school book group and became a paid employee when the youth librarian decided that she could use additional help. While the work I did was not terribly difficult, it was incredibly valuable because I was able to be helpful and learn more about the place that I had loved since I was young.
The second job I had was very different. It was a research position at a local company, Antaya Science and Technology. The Antaya Foundation is the entity that hosts the research assistants. Every year, eight high school juniors are selected to work in this position for several months in the spring. We worked in an operational lab doing physics and engineering work with guidance from industry professionals. I was one of three students who was asked to stay on over the summer. I learned a lot about what a job in STEM is like from that internship, and learned many valuable skills. While I have not chosen this field as a career, I am glad that I was able to have that opportunity.
I entered college with an undeclared major. As valedictorian, I thought that I was supposed to already know what I wanted to do, so it bothered me that I didn’t. I chose a liberal arts school because you didn’t have to declare your major right away, allowing me some time to explore. I spent my first year at Mount Holyoke College where I discovered environmental science and, through that, environmental planning. I discovered that I enjoyed geography and realized that environmental stewardship was very important to me. It was the first time that I realized that planning, as in environmental, community, or urban/rural planning, was a career that I could pursue. While I loved the academics at Mount Holyoke and my professors were amazing, I transferred to the University of New Hampshire over the summer. This was initially a difficult decision, but it was the best decision I could have made for many reasons. I am reminded every day that I attend classes at UNH how glad I am that I transferred. My advisor at UNH is phenomenal and I’ve loved the classes that I’ve taken so far.
As a junior in college I now feel like I am finding my path. I have taken a wide variety of courses both in my major and outside of it. I find that Discovery Courses, as UNH calls them, offer incredible opportunities for exploring an interest outside of my major field. Even seemingly unrelated courses contribute some knowledge that will help me with the work that I do in the future. I have taken courses in Cultural Heritage, Green Real Estate, State and Local Government, and many more. I am currently working towards minors in Architectural Studies and Green Real Estate alongside my major in Community and Environmental Planning. I feel that these minors will complement my major well and help me as I move forward in my educational and professional career.