Employer: Senior Water Advisor at the Department of State in the Office of Conservation and Water
Degree: PhD Geosciences, Spring 2015
WHAT IS YOUR FAVORITE THING ABOUT YOUR JOB?
I love that I work with a very creative group that is trying to get out ahead of water problems round the world. We are literally trying to change the way the world thinks about water.
WHAT HAS BEEN YOUR BIGGEST CAREER ACCOMPLISHMENT THUS FAR?
Working as a science advisor to Senator Harry Reid as part of the AAAS/ASCE fellowship program. People think that congress isn't very tuned into the science and tech world, but actually congress gets bombarded with information every day. It was my job to triage that information and pass along the things that I thought were important to the senator and his staff, in a format that would make it easy to understand for someone without a technical background.
HOW DID ATTENDING CSU HELP YOU IN YOUR CAREER?
What was most helpful was the chance to get outside my discipline. I worked on projects with graduate students in political science, engineering, geomorhpology and biology, which really helped me understand the multiple sides of environmental issues, and demonstrated to potential employers that I had both technical and soft skills. The depth of faculty working on all sides of water issues at CSU is amazing. CSU is definitely a "name brand" school when it comes to water, even here in DC!
WHAT DO YOU FEEL HELPED YOU THE MOST IN SCORING A JOB AFTER COLLEGE?
Having both engineering and science credentials was very helpful. Engineering companies started recruiting me because of that, but I knew that I wanted to try a policy job. I had two unsuccessful interviews for science policy jobs, but I knew I wanted that opportunity so I kept applying. I was told after my interview with ASCE that what really impressed the panel was my confidence. That made me laugh a bit, since going in I was really nervous.
ADVICE TO CURRENT STUDENTS:
Give presentations!!! Good speaking skills are very important, and school is a safe space to practice and get feedback. Also, join professional societies. They are a great way to meet people ahead of you on your career path, and they often have free or reduced price programs for student members. I found out about the AAAS fellowships because I attended an AGU "Fly-in" to lobby congress for science funding.