College of Agriculture & Natural Resources
Environmental Science & Technology

Alumni Spotlight: Scott Tjaden, ENST ‘14

ENST alum talks post-grad life as an Environmental Scientist at Pepco Holdings
ENST alum Scott Tjaden giving a demonstration as an Environmental Scientists at Pepco Holdings
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Scott Tjaden

Scott Tjaden, a 2014 University of Maryland alum that received both his graduate and undergraduate degree from the department of Environmental Science and Technology, is now working as an Environmental Scientist at Pepco Holdings, the parent company of the electric utility for the greater DC area.

At Pepco, Tjaden’s primary duty is to maintain the WaterShed Sustainability Center, a solar-powered, energy efficient house built by a team of University of Maryland students (including Tjaden) that won the U.S. Department of Energy's 2011 Solar Decathlon.

Tjaden also provides educational opportunities to schools and customers and serves as a general sustainability advocate across multiple departments, helping to implement new practices and technologies to reduce impact or waste.

Q1. What does a typical day on the job look like for you?

Tjaden: With my office being the WaterShed house, this opens the doors to a lot of public interaction and involvement. I work remotely from the WaterShed house most of the time on other projects I'm working on, including many concepts within the Advanced Technology Evaluation group.  These projects take me all over Pepco's territory.  The environmental and sustainability aspect of my job has me looking at opportunities within the company for improvements and community collaboration, which have led me to get to know many of the environmental non-profits and advocates within Delaware, DC, New Jersey, and Maryland.

Q2. How does you job impact the community in which you work?

Tjaden: I believe my job impacts many individuals as they visit the WaterShed site, as well as colleagues within the company.  They may not directly apply some of the technologies, such as a new HVAC system or green roof, but I'm hoping they will have a different mindset on our built environment and the way resources are consumed.  This may include the reduction of electricity by simply turning lights out when not in the room or thinking about the type of container you buy your next beverage in (glass vs. plastic). These small influences on visitors can have a major influence if continued to be practiced by individuals and indirectly passed on to future generations.

Q3. What do you love most about what you do?

Tjaden: I love working directly with customers and visiting schools.  Everyone has a general idea of sustainability, but when they see how it can be done when applied to the WaterShed house it blows people away. Having visitors engaged and excited from the start allows for a more meaningful experience to the site.      

Q4. What advice do you have for current students?

Tjaden: Advice I would have to pass on to current students would be to learn how to communicate.  The information you’re trying to convey to someone else is only as good as you present it. This is not limited to just face-to-face interaction but any form of communication (email, phone conversation, any form of social media, etc). 

Also, the way you present yourself is just as important as the information trying to be presented. This would include how you are dressed, your facial expressions, tone of voice and your body language. I feel this can make or brake a conversation, given the fact that everyone's first impression is usually long-lasting.

While presenting initiatives based around sustainability specifically at the WaterShed facility, I have learned it is important to have individuals engaged and informed and that the way I present myself and communicate messages plays a very important part in this. 

 

 

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