Students explore wildlife and sustainability careers through National Wildlife Federation’s virtual conference

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Though interactions look different this spring, Colgate Career Services is using virtual programming to help students continue exploring, networking, and searching for internships and jobs. On April 1–2, Colgate students participated in the National Wildlife Federation Ecocareers Virtual Conference, co-sponsored by Career Services and the Office of Sustainability. 

“A career in sustainability includes anyone in any industry that paves a way forward for equitable and sustainable ways of living and working,” said Christina Weiler ’21. “The NWF Conference helped illustrate this by bringing in so many professionals from companies as different as hunger-relief nonprofits to major investment banking firms.”

Throughout the conference, students learned how to prepare for wildlife and sustainability careers. They participated in panels led by analysts and employers, networked, and engaged in workshops that highlighted the skills needed for careers in the green sector. 

“We initially chose this conference because it seemed like a wonderful and affordable opportunity to expose Colgate students to a wide variety of sustainability-related careers,” said Pamela Gramlich, assistant director of sustainability. 

The conference featured a wide variety of panelists. Amy Bachman, director of procurement and sustainability for DC Central Kitchen, participated in a panel about the food justice sector. During the arts and creative industries panel, Adam Roberti, director of Cortada Projects, described how his company uses art to teach Miami residents about climate change. Charles Glass spoke about his experience as deputy secretary at the Maryland Department of Natural Resources during the climate crisis careers panel. Jay Wilson, D.C. Green Bank program manager, spoke about his institution’s goal to attract private investment for sustainable energy projects in the green finance and investment panels. 

Caylea Barone ’21, who studies environmental sustainability and art and art history, said she appreciated the conference’s interdisciplinary aspect. About the case studies given to participants to solve Barone said, “The NWF conference provided an outlet to explore these problems creatively. From informative lectures and discussions to break-out sessions — the conference allowed students to engage with professionals in an array of fields while also discovering new sustainability career paths.” This summer, Barone will study ecotourism as a tool for sustainable development in Costa Rica as a summer research fellow with the Lampert Institute for Civic and Global Affairs.

“The most useful piece I learned at the conference was the importance of technical skills — like GIS, Python, and graphic design — as well as communications and writing skills,” said Nicole Dienst ’22, current intern at the Office of Sustainability. GIS, or Graphic Information Systems, is used to store and analyze data related to geographic positions on the Earth’s surface. Dienst plans to use the summer to learn these technical skills and prepare for a future career in the green sector. 

“Sustainability is a dynamic and diverse field that presents an incredible number of career opportunities throughout the private, public, and nonprofit sectors,” said James Reed, assistant director of career services. “Participants gained a clearer picture of the sustainability field and steps they can take to explore and identify a career path that best fits their unique combination of interests, skills, and values.”