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Ready or Not…Here it comes, the Graduation Series

Of my peer group of environmental majors, the “what are your plans for after graduation” question is being answered in a variety of ways. Some are going on to Graduate School, others into the Peace Corps, and others are sticking around the Chapel Hill area to pursue “real-world” job opportunities.

My first friend to get a job outside of investment banking is Ella Wise. Hailing from the Hudson Valley, Ella is an insightful, creative, and brilliantly articulate environmental studies major. She described her job-finding journey as a natural sequence of events:

1)      Get an internship

2)      Work hard, network, form positive relationships

3)      Transform your internship work into a real job!

Just how Ella completed these steps is of interest to me, as an environmental major transitioning into the real world. Securing her job began at University Career Services (UCS) “Green Jobs Networking Night,” where environmentally minded professionals and majors are brought together to discuss resumes, jobs, and generally get to know one another.

As she was headed out the door of the networking night, Ella noticed Patrick Boleman was speaking to a representative from the Shade Fund. The topic was microfinance, what the Shade Fund does within the local community by connecting investors with environmentally minded entrepreneurs. Since Ella’s dream job is “…to be working in land-use, preferably stopping sprawl…finding creative and just ways to develop,” the Shade Fund was a perfect fit.

This was early on in the semester, and just last week, Ella accepted a job offer to continue similar work with The Conservation Fund. Her assignment is with the Natural Capital Investment Fund (NCIF), which operates on the triple bottom line (economy, environment, and society) to make “investments in companies and projects that promote sustainable development and have a positive impact on human health and the natural environment.”  She’ll be building upon previous work to develop a method for quantifying the environmental impacts of these loans.

This seemingly daunting task is made less so by a combination of Ella’s interviewing experience – through studying abroad at the Albemarle Ecological Field Site (AEFS) one semester, and India the next – and her broad and interdisciplinary environmental education. She feels prepared to “spot things that might be influential” in terms of working out how to quantify NCIF’s environmental impact.

This is an example of how it works – the transition from university student to student of the real world.

Take note.

Laura Stephenson is an environmental science major at the University of North Carolina-Chapel Hill, focusing in environmental and community health.

Posted on: April 27, 2010, 9:00 am Category: Getting a Green Job, Sustainability and Education, The Life of an Environmental Studies Student Tagged with: , , , , ,

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