Ecologist Drew Kerkhoff became Puget Sound’s new provost in July—and he’s thrilled to be back west, where the landscape and ecology sparked his academic career.

When Drew Kerkhoff left Ohio, to follow his future wife to New Mexico, he had no plans of ever heading back east. The western landscape and ecology fascinated him, and Kerkhoff—who at the time made a living building custom furniture—spent his downtime exploring his surroundings. It was out in nature that he found a new career path, a path that would eventually lead him to become Puget Sound’s new provost.

Ultimately, Kerkhoff would earn a master’s and Ph.D. from the University of New Mexico in quantitative ecology, the work of applying math and computation to explain the natural world. A postdoc followed, and eventually, a job. The role? A tenure-track position at Kenyon College—back in Ohio.