Majors: Biology & Environmental Studies
Year of Graduation: 2008
Current Job Title: Staff Scientist at ATC Associates Inc. in Minneapolis, MN
How did you decide to work in this field?
Going into my first year I was dead set on being a Biology major. However, I didn't know what to focus on for a minor. Environmental Studies sounded interesting simply because my hobbies involved hunting, fishing, camping, etc. After talking to Derek Larson one spring day, I realized that double majoring in Biology and Environmental Studies was very feasible.
The summer after my junior year, I took a job with the U.S. Forest Service in the Sierra National Forest of California. I was on a wildlife crew that conducted bird surveys. During that summer, I learned that my dream job of biology was not all I had hoped. It would require a lot of time in the office and not outside; also I felt my work was not making a difference - that my data was not actually being utilized to help the birds.
So, during my senior year I decided I wanted to find a job where I had a mixture of office and field work, but more importantly, that my work would actually have an impact - make a change for the better for the world. So I began to look for jobs in the environmental field.
What is the most satisfying/rewarding part of your job?
Knowing I am being a part of a business team that has a solid reputation and works hard to continually grow.
What suggestions do you have for students who are having a hard time finding a major/career path?
The one thing I found when job hunting, is that prospective employers were looking for students with a wide range of experience, both with jobs and academics. I spent all three of my summers doing applicable jobs to my major. As much fun as it would have been to go home and work at a golf course, I did not want to "waste" my summer. I treated the summer like the school year. Be sure to couple your major or majors with applicable summer experiences and be open to wide avenues of employment. You will be better served to view your first job as an exploration, not a life-long career.
Is there anything that you were able to take from CSB/SJU that helped you transition into life after school?]
Being a Johnnie and everything it stands for is not some phony tradition story they cram into your brain the first few years of school. It is a reality. Treating people with respect, having an open mind, working hard, and just being friendly will benefit you in not only your job, but every facet of your life. Expect the transition to be a little rough, but remember at the same time how hard transitioning into college was your freshmen year. You pulled through and life after college will be very similar.
What personal qualities are most important in your field?
Integrity is the most important part of my field. Clients expect honest and thorough recommendations in our reports - as they should when thousands of dollars are on the line. Cutting corners is not an option. Asking many questions is expected. Working late to ensure quality work is performed is required. People want quality service, so give it to them.