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Environmental Studies

Alumni Advise on Alternative Energy Careers

Posted February 26, 2014

Trevor Peterson ’02 (Stantec Consulting), Katie Chapman ’07 (EDP Renewables), and Abriel Ferreira ’10 (Competitive Energy Services), joined students on February 14 to kick-off the Environmental Studies Program and Career Planning Center’s co-sponsored Green Career Series for the spring semester. During this informal conversation, alumni discussed various career paths students may consider pursuing within the alternative energy field. Coming from different backgrounds, experiences, and workplaces, Trevor, Katie, and Abriel shared their stories of how they landed jobs at their respective organizations and explained what skill sets have contributed to their accomplishments.

Senior Earth and Oceanographic Science and Environmental Studies coordinate major, Ameena Khan, remarked that, “The alumni were very relatable, confident, and eloquent. It was interesting to hear about their academic life at Bowdoin and their career paths since graduation.”

Across the board, alumni emphasized the importance of having excellent writing abilities. “In the energy industry, being able to translate technical data into usable, digestible information is truly valuable,” said Katie as she elaborated on what it takes to excel at a job that incorporates both science and project management. Prompted by a student concerned about the sufficiency of a liberal arts education as background for working in energy, Katie highlighted that Bowdoin students have the ability to “leverage their thinking abilities, not just technical skills.” This is a quality that sets them apart from job candidates technically trained in only one specific discipline.

Because of the interdisciplinary nature of working in alternative energy, alumni also emphasized that jobs in this field are multifaceted, allowing one to “dabble” in many different fields, making the jobs interesting and engaging and allowing personal growth within different skill sets. And while the job market is not necessarily teeming with open positions, alternative energy is in the midst of a huge boom, making it an attractive field to enter after college.

Elizabeth Brown, a junior Biology and Environmental Studies major commented: “This event was really helpful because the alumni talked about their daily schedules, and the challenges and rewards of their day to day work. I now feel like I have a sense of what working at an alternative energy company, or an energy consulting company, would entail on a day to day basis. The alumni gave good advice about how to approach getting a job in this field, and gave us guidance on what they as employers look for in employees.”

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