My Experience as a 2006 ENVS Graduate
November 10, 2009
I graduated with a BA in Environmental Studies from Lewis & Clark College in 2006, and was fortunate to have a summer job lined up after graduation working as a Crew Leader with the Youth Conservation Corps in Yellowstone National Park. I had been a student in the program for two summers in high school. The program was challenging for me, but it felt good to be sharing the outdoors with 30 high school students and drawing on a lot of things I had learned in college in our daily environmental education sessions.
I knew that I was going to take at least a year off before applying to grad school because I wanted to get more work experience, so I returned to Portland in August where I spent the winter of 2006 bouncing around a few jobs. My first job was working for a photo lab, which was at best motivation to find a better job. After 6 weeks, I quit and started working for REI (part time) and an Intellectual Property law firm (full time). I was probably working too many hours, but in January my hours went down at REI, so I started looking for a part-time internship because I wanted to do something more closely related to my degree and my interests. I wound up interning at a Portland-based climate change consultancy that I learned about from a lunchtime talk given by its founder at Lewis and Clark in 2005. In March, I decided to return to Yellowstone in Summer 2007 by way of a five-week hiking trip across Spain.
While I was in Yellowstone, I was offered a Research Assistant position with the consulting firm and started on Labor Day 2007. I know that I probably would not have gotten that job had I not interned 10 hours a week earlier in the year. This job was a great opportunity for me because I was able to provide research support and gained a lot of experience conducting greenhouse gas inventories, drafting reports, and helping to develop a few Excel based models. I also helped author a short paper on carbon market opportunities for public transportation organizations with a colleague. In October 2008, I started the GRE and application process because I wanted to start a graduate program that would combine my climate change experience with my other interests in public land management.
Which I guess brings us to the present. I am in my first semester of a 2 year MS in Resource Conservation program at the University of Montana. Ultimately, I am glad that I waited to apply to grad school. I have a better idea of what I need to study, and I think that I also gained a lot from my work experiences. One other thing, if anyone wants to contact me, my e-mail is email@example.com. Just kidding, it is matt.ehrman (at) gmail.com. If you have one, ditch the stupid handle. I have seen people arbitrarily toss out resumes for that and stupid fonts.