The SEAS Career Trek 2017 brought 19 students and 30 alumni together in Washington DC over fall break this past October. In a series of roundtable discussions, moderated panels, one-on-one meetings, and a networking Happy Hour, alumni shared insights, advice, and real-world approaches to career challenges and opportunities. As part of the Trek, students also toured the U.S. Department of Energy.
Hailing from a broad range of environmental businesses, agencies and organizations—including the U.S. Forest Service, the World Resources Institute, and the World Wildlife Fund—the alumni also discussed the impact that the SEAS community had on their careers.
Environmental Policy and Planning student Tyler Fitch (MS, ’18) attended both the 2016 and 2017 Career Treks.
“Career Trek is an incredible experience. It allows us to explore what we're interested in, and talk with people that have real perspectives on what's going on in those fields,” said Fitch. “I felt like alumni were coming out of every door and in every meeting room. We met with people from all kinds of sectors—from government to a couple of small solar projects and companies.”
One of the alumni that Fitch met was Assistant Director of the US Government Accountability Office, Joe Thompson (BS, ’00).
“Joe told us the story of how he worked with actors on Capitol Hill and within his own department to get climate change to be a priority for what the Government Accountability Office would focus on,” Fitch noted, “He said that making climate action happen requires you to “play the long game” by talking with everybody, and bringing in diverse perspectives and stakeholders to make action happen.
“That's a perspective that I'm hoping to bring to the workplace wherever I go," added Fitch.
International student Krutarth Jhaveri (MS/MSE, '18) is a dual master’s student completing degrees in sustainable systems and chemical engineering. He recalls his experience at the 2016 Career Trek in San Francisco.
“Interacting with alumni gave me a sense of what prospective employers would be looking for, and what I should be working on to build up my skill set,” Jhaveri said, “My conversations with them helped me to formulate a plan for the following year.”
Environmental Justice student Rebeca Villegas (MS, ’19) shared her experience at the Trek.
“I was very excited to be able to attend the 2017 Career Trek in DC.,” said Villegas, “Being able to network with SEAS alumni, learning about their experiences, hearing their advice, and being able to ask questions was extremely valuable. I very much appreciated being able to have one-on-one conversations, and having some time to dive deeper into opportunities I should be on the lookout for—given my interests and passion.”
Shidong Zhang (MS, ’19) is an international student pursuing the Sustainable Systems track.
“The DC Trek was a fantastic opportunity for me to clarify my career goals and help me find pathways,” said Zhang. "Our alumni were so warm, and they were always more than happy to answer our questions. Many thanks to everyone who contributed to this wonderful event.”
The SEAS Career Trek takes place annually during fall break. The purpose of the trip is to expose SEAS students to the diverse environmental and sustainability careers held by alumni in a specific region, provide networking opportunities for both students and alumni, and allow current students to gain insight into key skills they will need to develop to succeed in their target career.
To enable students to participate in the 2017 Career Trek, SEAS Career Services partnered with Alumni Relations to provide travel funding for selected candidates.