Posted April 03, 2013
In celebration of the Environmental Studies Department 40th anniversary, alumni who majored in ES are telling their stories of how the major affected their Bowdoin experience and life after college.
Drew Trafton ’10
What was your path from Bowdoin to your current position?
I actually got my current job while I was still at Bowdoin, I went to a Career Planning networking event in Boston and met someone who knew Meghan Tanguay at my company who was a Bowdoin grad (2007). Initially I just wanted to get a sense of what the environmental consulting industry was like and learn what kind of skills would be useful in the industry. Two months later Megan called me to inform me that a position had opened up and invited me to apply; I ended up getting the job.
Did you have internships while you were at Bowdoin?
I had a Psi Upsilon fellowship which allowed me to work with a non-profit in Portland called The Maine Island Trails Association. They go out and clean a number of privately-owned islands off Maine’s coast. It’s a great private-public partnership. That was my first experience in the office environment which prepared me well for my current job.
When you were a student at Bowdoin, what was the most pressing environmental concern?
For me it was climate change, mostly because of the capstone class I took which was almost entirely focused on greenhouse gas initiatives in Brunswick and looked at ways to reduce the city’s carbon footprint. My ES senior seminar was Earth Climate History which traced the history of global temperature, it was fascinating and honed my sense of where we were and where we were going; it was a pretty scary picture.
Do you have any career advice that you would offer current seniors?
Don’t get discouraged, looking for a job is often like a fifth class. Sometimes it can be a bit heartbreaking but if you keep at it you’ll get breaks. Also, don’t freak out if you don’t have a job when you graduate. A number of my friends graduated without jobs and they went to live at home, but they didn’t give up hope and now they have great jobs which they set out to do.
How has your major in ES contributed to your personal life?
The coordinate major fostered my intellectual curiosity and gave me a drive to understand what’s going on around me. I’ve become a more aware citizen and I’ve also become more involved in politics since I’ve graduated.
Have you had any academic or professional training beyond Bowdoin?
Yes, I started out working on residential efficiency at my job and for that role I got a HERS (Home Energy Rating System) certification. This certification allowed me to assess the efficiency of homes. Recently I’ve been doing more commercial work; I got the CEM (Certified Energy Manager) certification administered by the Association of Energy Engineers. This certification is needed to assess the efficiency of industrial manufacturing plants and that kind of thing.
Listen to Drew talk about his green job. Drew was a panelist at Bowdoin Career's Planning's Green Job's event, Fall 2012.