Alumnae Speak to Students about Careers in Earth and Environmental Science

Three Wesleyan alumnae returned to campus Oct. 26 to speak to junior and senior earth and environmental science majors about “What to do with an E&ES Degree After Wes?”

The panel included Lori Oakes-Coyne ’92, senior recruiter for Environmental Resources Management, Inc. in Boston; Maria Osorio ‘92, assistant commissioner of operations for New York City; and Emma Kravet ’09, education director for the Connecticut Forest and Park Association.

Professor of Earth and Environmental Science Suzanne O’Connell organized the program to assist students in preparing for post-Commencement life. “Our alumni are incredibly loyal,” she notes, “And one way they help the department is by providing career information for our majors. This year our alumni career panel represented three different career paths, government, nonprofits and the consulting industry. We chose them in part because they had all taken jobs right out of college that has little relationship to what they are doing now. I think students are nervous about taking a job because it might not be the correct career path. These three wonderful alums show that you can have excellent career paths that are non-linear and end up with a dream job— you just need to get started somewhere.”

An earth science major, Oakes-Coyne studied geology and environmental science at Boston College after Wesleyan and began as a staff geologist at Hydro Environmental Technologies, Inc. Once she started managing projects, Oakes-Coyne learned about budgets and estimating the hours needed to complete a job. Having an environmental science degree with a MBA is a good combination, she noted. "It can be pretty awesome to be out in the field. Days start early and can go late, packaging the samples. It can be fast-paced, with lots of variety—and if you like that, you’ll like consulting. You’ll be taking a lot of notes in the field; it’s writing intensive, and writing is a critical tool.

An earth science major, Oakes-Coyne ’92 studied geology and environmental science at Boston College after Wesleyan and began as a staff geologist at Hydro Environmental Technologies, Inc. Once she started managing projects, Oakes-Coyne learned about budgets and estimating the hours needed to complete a job. Having an environmental science degree with a MBA is a good combination, she noted. “It can be pretty awesome to be out in the field. Days start early and can go late, packaging the samples. It can be fast-paced, with lots of variety—and if you like that, you’ll like consulting. You’ll be taking a lot of notes in the field; it’s writing intensive; writing is a critical tool.”

Osorio ’92 majored in environmental studies at Wesleyan and also holds an MS and Executive Master of Public Administration degree. Osorio recommended including a writing sample with any application, stressing the importance of writing skills for scientists, and suggesting those about to graduate use a short paper they had written for class to showcase their ability to communicate well in writing. “You are going to need to be able to communicate with the general public, but also you’ll need to communicate on a more technical level," she said.

Osorio ’92 majored in environmental studies at Wesleyan and also holds an MS and Executive Master of Public Administration degree. Osorio recommended including a writing sample with any application, stressing the importance of writing skills for scientists, and suggesting those about to graduate use a short paper they had written for class to showcase their ability to communicate well in writing. “You are going to need to be able to communicate with the general public, but also you’ll need to communicate on a more technical level,” she said.

Kravet ’09, at left, majored in earth and environmental science with an environmental studies certificate at Wesleyan and she also has a MS in urban and environmental policy and planning, and agriculture food and environment from Tufts University. Prior to working for the Connecticut Forest and Park Association, she was the program manager of the Sustaining Family Forests Initiative Kravet presented her change in perspective on networking. “When I was a senior, I heard, ‘You have to network,’ and I thought of it as kind of sleazy, like you were trying to get something from someone. But it’s really great if it’s done right: It’s a conversation, a way to share something you have in common; it’s a two-way street. And I’ve been really happy when people reached out to talk to me about something we both enjoy.”

Kravet ’09, at left, majored in earth and environmental science with an environmental studies certificate at Wesleyan and she also has a MS in urban and environmental policy and planning, and agriculture food and environment from Tufts University. Prior to working for the Connecticut Forest and Park Association, she was the program manager of the Sustaining Family Forests Initiative. Kravet presented her change in perspective on networking. “When I was a senior, I heard, ‘You have to network,’ and I thought of it as—I’m trying to get something from someone. But it’s really great if it’s done right: It’s a conversation, a way to share something you have in common; it’s a two-way street. And I’ve been really happy when people reached out to talk to me about something we both enjoy.”

In back, Tim Ku, associate professor of earth and environmental sciences, and Peter Patton, the Alan M. Dachs Professor of Science and professor of earth and environmental sciences, listen to the alumnae's talk.

In back, Tim Ku, associate professor of earth and environmental sciences, and Peter Patton, the Alan M. Dachs Professor of Science and professor of earth and environmental sciences, listen to the alumnae’s talk.  Front, right: Associate Professor of Earth and Environmental Science Philip Resor also attended.

Students were encouraged to ask questions throughout the discussion. Here, E&ES majors Remy Hatfield-Gardner ’17, Cindy Flores ’17, Avi Stein ’17, and Riordan Abrams ’17 listened to the presentation.

Students were encouraged to ask questions throughout the discussion. Here, E&ES majors Remy Hatfield-Gardner ’17, Cindy Flores ’17, Avi Stein ’17, and Riordan Abrams ’17 listened and took notes on the presentations. (Photos by Olivia Drake)