College of Agriculture & Natural Resources
Environmental Science & Technology

ENST Students Prepare For Careers

It’s one of the questions I hear most often during my presentations and classes on green building and renewable energy: “How do I get a job in this field?” Job openings in green building and renew­able energy have fallen off due to the recession, but there are always positions out there for people with the right qualifications. And more jobs will open as the economy recovers. I tell job seekers to get going now. The strategies I’ve outlined below can help you prepare for a job in the construction-related green building and renewable energy sectors, so you’ll be ready for the right opportunity as soon as it’s available.

Kyle Runion

Grant Intern, Chesapeake Bay Trust

Kyle Runion, an ENST major concentrating in ecological technology design and minoring in sustainability studies and soil science, has always been interested in how the human race affects its surroundings.  Ben feels that “we as a people and world must put forth effort to ensure the vitality of our Earth.” As an intern for the Chesapeake Bay Trust (CBT), he is working to do just that.

CBT is a non-profit that attempts to keep the Cheasapeake Bay healthy through environmental education, community outreach, and local watershed restoration. As a grant intern with the CBT, Runion is responsible for working to assist the organization in grant related tasks on environmental education and watershed restoration. Because money is extremely important to any scientific endeavor, the ability to write and edit grants is vital. With that, he is able to visit potential restoration projects. Runion said he particularly enjoyed the Treasure the Chesapeake Gala and the 5k for the Bay race. He is also tasked with getting the Trust’s message out to the public, a skill he is still learning. “Community outreach and preparing for community events can be very tedious work, but are an important aspect of environmental education,” he observed. 

The senior credits the Department of Environmental Science and Technology with giving him the tools he needed to be ready for this internship, “ENST helped prepare me by exposing me to restoration techniques and to the importance of education and community involvement.”

After graduation, Runion wants to pursue a career in restoration and research. During his time in ENST, he has focused on watershed research and his internship with the CBT has allowed him to gain real world experience. However, he wants to keep options open this early in his career. “I am also fascinated with renewable energy,” he said. “I would love to research the science behind it.”

The internship with CBT allows Runion learn the process and hone his skills in preparation for his professional career.

Ben Golding

Peer Education Intern, UMD Green Dining

Natural resources management junior Ben Golding has loved learning about nature since he was a child. “I was basically raised in family's plant nursery, and I used to go up to Shenandoah National Park every fall,” says Golding. Now, through the experience from his recent internship with Green Dining, UMD Dining Services' sustainability program, he hopes to channel that love of learning into a career of teaching. 

As a peer education intern, Golding created marketing campaigns, worked community outreach events, and helped to educate students, faculty, and staff about sustainability. He had such a great time teaching that he now wants to make a career of it. “At the end of my sophomore year I realized that I was interested in teaching. My internship with Green Dining was a major influence in my realization that I wanted to go into education,” says Golding.

An internship can help student sunderstand the logistics of the professional world. Golding was amazed by how early his team needed to start preparing for their Maryland Day events. Time management and preparation skills will definitely serve him well in the work force.

Golding thanks ENST for preparing him for this internship. “ENST provided me with a strong background in environmental studies and sustainability and because of that, I understood the material that Green Dining was providing me and was a more effective teacher as a result,” says Golding.

Golding has exciting plans upon graduation. “I hope to become a middle school science teacher,” he says. Ben will get busy searching for the right graduate program in teaching to complement his undergraduate science background.

Josh Gaimaro

Wetlands Restoration Intern, South River Federation

When senior Josh Gaimaro looks toward his future career, he doesn’t see just a job. He takes to heart the motto, do what you love and you’ll never work a day in your life. “I want to get paid to do what I love, and that is to enjoy nature and understand our ecosystems.” Gaimaro chose the ecological technology design concentration toward that effort.

Experience is the key to starting any career, and Gaimaro is finding it with the South River Federation (SRF) in Annapolis. As a wetlands restoration intern, he is responsible for creating erosion control projects, storm water management systems, living shorelines, and even supervised educational plantings for children.

For Gaimaro, his passion for environmental conservation stems from his own hobbies. An avid hiker and fisherman, he sees the impacts to the environment caused by humans. This leads him to want to work as hard as he can to protect it. “Without a healthy environment, I would not be able to enjoy what I have grown up doing,” Gaimaro explained.

ENST helped to Gaimaro succeed in his internship by giving him relevant skills for the projects he now works on. Building on those skills, he’s learned things with SRF that he wouldn’t have been taught in the classroom, such as how to obtain the proper permits for restoration projects. While that may not sound exciting to everyone, Gaimaro is grateful for the opportunity. “It is rewarding to accomplish my environmental goals with the help of my incredible co-workers,” he said.

Gaimaro also noted that while everyone he works with wants to ‘save the environment,’ many scientists have different ideas of how to do it. “Dealing with people has been the most challenging part [of my internship] due to conflicting views on how things should be done,” he noted. SRF has truly given him real world experience in working through ideological differences to come up with mutual solutions. After he graduates, Gaimaro expects all the experience gained at school and through his internships will have aptly prepared him to be a successful environmental scientist.

Ellen Fuss

Volunteer Intern, Montgomery County Department of Environmental Protection

ENST senior Ellen Fuss has always been passionate about conservation and environmental science, but her internship at the Montgomery County Department of Environmental Protection helped her explore what she wanted to do with that passion. The DEP works to keep Mongtomery County's waterways clean and its air healthy.

“My internship helped me narrow down my concentration to Environmental Health. I was able to get a real world-view on the skill sets that would be most valued in my ideal career path,” said Fuss. At DEP, some of her responsibilities included sub-sampling of macro-invertebrates and electro-fishing in the field. Her favorite part was working with the biomonitoring team during “fishing season.” “It was so exciting learning the different netting techniques for adequate fish collection during each pass,” she said. “The fish identification was difficult at first, but a valid skill for quick species diversity calculation for a given tributary.”

But the DEP offered another opportunity that Fuss came to enjoy as well: community outreach.  She worked at the Montgomery County Fair to educate people about the importance of environmental health and restoration efforts. She says that her career aspirations will always be in watershed restoration but after her new experience she also has a strong desire to get involved in environmental outreach on the community level.

Fuss concluded, “I love being outside and studying the environment. A job working towards sustaining it would be amazing.”

Nicholas Gilbert

Biological Science Aide, Agriculture Research Service, United States Department of Agriculture

40 hours a week, 15-20 miles per hour winds, temperatures often below freezing; the conditions were not always ideal for senior Nicholas Gilbert but the experience he gained at the Agriculture Research Service (ARS) was worth it.

The ARS is a department of the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) and its chief scientific in-house research agency. As a Biological Science Aide, Gilbert was responsible for soil and vegetation sample collection at the Beltsville Agricultural Research Center, which entailed long hours out in the field by himself.  Gilbert enjoyed the fresh air though. “My favorite part was being outdoors consistently,” he said. “The independence allotted to me to do my work without constant supervision was refreshing.”

Gilbert’s enjoyment of nature is what initially led him to his study of environmental science with a concentration in ecological technology design. Combined with a minor in geographic informational sciences (GIS) and an interest in humanitarian work, he hopes to use these skills to help people and improve his local and global environment.

Gilbert thanks ENST for preparing him for his internship. “By teaching me about current farming methods and practices and the general nutrient cycles in agricultural land and giving me practice with the experimental process in the environmental science field, ENST has given me the skills I really need to be successful,” Gilbert said.

After graduation, he hopes to join the Peace Corps before working for an ecological restoration company. He says, “I want to have a meaningful contribution to helping mankind transition from its dependence on fossil fuels to other forms of energy."

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