By Kirsten Hill
LCCC students listened and learned recently about how they could blaze their own trail to a career working with and in the natural environment. Complete with cattails and other swamp-loving vegetation, Sandy Ridge Reservation’s Johnson Wetland Center, was the setting for the Hiram/University Partnership Integrated Environmental Studies career exploration luncheon.
Why work in science
Elizabeth Miller enjoys traveling and working with different kinds of people such as birders, divers and “citizen scientists”. She is a reporter/producer with NPR. At the luncheon, the Baldwin Wallace University journalism graduate said it would be helpful to have a degree in environmental science so she could have more knowledge and depth as a writer.
“Working outside is great.Here I am out in the sun and 70-degree weather and getting paid,” Emmalisa Kennedy, environmental scientist and environmental studies graduate of Hiram, described what she likes most about her job at EnviroScience in Stow, Ohio. Kennedy encouraged the LCCC students at the luncheon to consider the actual environment they’d like to work in. In college as a cross country runner then coach and now working outdoors, Kennedy enjoys the environment she is working in.
Project are outdoors
Some of the projects that EnviroScience works on are stream restoration, conservation, train derailments, oil spills (testing and cleanup), fish sizing and fish surveys. Vanessa Consolo, an intern with the Northeast Ohio Regional Sewer District, said at the luncheon that her organization gets calls to remove downed trees that block streams and waterways. They cause dangerous flooding and erosion. The NEORSD also handles waste water treatment for one million residents spanning 380 square miles. Consolo can be found outside collecting data and information to help with stream water management.
Opportunities are available for volunteering or interning at the Lorain County Metro Parks, Cleveland Zoo, Cleveland Museum of Natural History and U.S. Environmental Protection Agency. To get on the right path to a career working with the environment, Kennedy suggested students start building a personal network.
Transferring is easy
LCCC Students with 30 to 75 credit hours can transfer into the Hiram/UP IES program. Students at the luncheon came with backgrounds ranging from medical technology to information technology to working as a veterinary technician. “Hiram/UP program was affordable for me and [I’m] even considering a master’s [degree],” said Sydney Downs, a senior, who is due to graduate with a bachelor’s degree in the spring. She liked the small classes, more casual environment and working with people who are really passionate noting they would even meet on Saturdays.
“Don’t expect there is a canned career path for you. You have to create your path. The gold ring goes to the most persistent person in the room,” said Sarah Mabey, Ph.D., and associate professor coordinator, Natural History Program at Hiram College.