Career Profiles of Some Recent Graduates

Natalie Croutharmel graduated in 2012 and is presently working as the Director of Business Retention and Expansion at the Austin, Texas Chamber of Commerce. Her current focus includes working with startup companies in the Clean Tech and Advanced Tech Manufacturing industries. According to Natalie, her responsibilities and duties as director are quite varied. "We meet with entrepreneurs and help make introductions between them and key industry leaders, city and government officials, investors, and other key players in the region that can assist these startups with whatever needs they may have, including funding, community outreach, etc." She also helps conduct surveys with companies large and small to find out how these tech industries are changing and growing in Austin. In addition, the Chamber of Commerce reaches out to investors outside the Austin area, giving Natalie the chance to fly around the country and let others know about the opportunities in her city. Natalie can be seen here at the National Instruments Week exposition next to technology that is expected to go to the moon in 2015.

Jennifer Graham graduated in 2010 and began as a Safety and Occupational Health Specialist with the Army at Fort Bragg. In 2012, she signed on as an Environmental Resources Specialist with the Army Corps of Engineers at McNary Lock and Dam in Washington state. Her current primary responsibility involves maintaining and enforcing environmental compliance for both the facility itself and the activities conducted at her facility, which "requires an in-depth knowledge of current environmental protection laws, regulations, and policies with the ability to determine their validity to the operation and maintainance of the facility." Jennifer is also handling waste management at McNary throughout the process from creation to disposal, which involves generating manifests, labels, packaging and choosing how to dispose of the product. This demands both an understanding of chemistry about hazardous, toxic and radioactive waste as well as knowing the requirements according to the Department of Transportation and Occupational Safety and Health.

Sam Lichtman offered this description of his career path after graduation from UNCG. "I started working part time on an environmental campaign. It was to protect the outer banks from offshore oil drilling, and although my particular course work did not set me up to work on the campaign trail, the interdisciplinary nature of the Environmental Studies major gave me the skills need to relate the need for environmental protection to everyone I encountered. Next thing I knew, I was working full time, running similar campaign offices in Miami, San Diego, and even Los Angeles for groups like the Sierra Club and the Human Rights Campaign. I was working on countless issues from . . . more solar energy [to] more protection for the Everglades, and even working to ban plastic bags in California. After the 2012 election, I took a break from politics, but am now in Washington DC working in the nonprofit sector and really enjoying the working on issues that I care about." He is currently working for Defenders of Wildlife.

Tom Patterson graduated from the ES program in 2009 after spending five semesters working in the Office of Waste Reduction and Recycling at UNCG. With the help of the Student Conservation Association, he found an internship with the Bureau of Land Management in Vernal, Utah. He is currently pursuing his Master's degree at UNCG in Geography and working in the Carolina Tree-Ring Science Laboratory as well as the . According to Tom, his time at UNCG "created and honed a lifelong appreciation for our natural environment", "helped my understanding of environmental perceptions through multidisciplinary education" and "exposed me to stepping-stone opportunities such as internships and networks that have advanced my knowledge and faculties as a young environmentalist." His advice to future graduates: "get involved in on- and off-campus environmental groups and organizations, (most importantly) seek an interesting and meaningful internship, and maximize your education by taking as many courses that pertain to your interests as possible."

Erin Sherrill graduated in 2012 and, after a difficult job search and a stint working at the animal shelter, landed at the Greensboro Science Center. Just like that, she interviewed for and was chosen as the Assistant Manager for Membership. After another six months, she has now become the Interim Manager for Membership at the Center. Her work also involves marketing duties, which she admits isn't her area of expertise, but she is excited about the opportunity. Her advice: " Keep on reaching, keep on moving, keep your goals in front of you. Anything you can dream up, go for it. You've got a good, solid starting place from which to take off; don't let anyone or anything limit you. . . . Getting discouraged is normal, but don't give up."

Matt Wallace

Matt Wallace offered this description of his current job after his graduation from UNCG. " Since earning my degree in Envrionmental Studies from UNCG, I have been working in Moore County, NC for the Natural Resources Conservation Service, a branch of the U.S. Department of Agriculture. We offer technical and financial support to a variety of farmers, producers, and foresters for implementating the most innovative and efficient methods of conservation. As a Technical Conservationist, my job is to see that they carry out their agreed upon plans by surveying their properties and evaluating their techniques to see that they meet our standards.The work is rewarding because I get to see firsthand how these practices help preserve our natural resources, and I also get to see the faces of the farmers that receive a bit of fiscal relief for implementing the Conservation Plans."