Alumni

Welcome to the Environmental Studies Alumni webpage. This website serves to connect alumni who pursued environmental studies while at Bowdoin with current students, faculty, and staff. We are currently redeveloping the site to further enhance this communication. In order to make this website fully functional, we need information from you! Please take a moment to complete our online survey. This survey helps us keep track of the variety of careers, academic paths, and locations of our diverse alums.

The majority of alumni have continued their academic pursuit in Environmental Studies by applying it directly to their career. Those who have chosen not to pursue an ES related career comment, nonetheless, that their experience with the program had an impact on how they perceive the world.

Cynthia Kingsford ’80

Cynthia Kingsford ’80
April 21, 2016 03:10pm

Cynthia Kingsford's time at Bowdoin has come full circle. From Bowdoin student to adviser at Bowdoin's Career Planning Center, Cynthia reminds Environmental Studies students to identify their strengths and keep adding to their arsenal knowledge.

Read more

Cynthia Kingsford is a familiar face on campus: She works at Bowdoin's Career Planning Center, advising students with an interest in science, health, and the environment. Certain variables decide your life, asserts Cynthia, see the options in front of you be okay with them. Be flexible, make things work. Indeed, to Cynthia, how one navigates around their limitations is crucial to figuring out the next step.

Cynthia began her time at Bowdoin with a general interest in the environment, but unsure of where her interests lay within the subject. After taking a number of courses across various disciplines,she settled upon a coordinate major in Environmental Studies and Government, though she continued to take economics classes throughout her time at Bowdoin. At the time, environmental studies major requirements included a number of upper-level courses in a wide variety of disciplines, which ensured that students approached the subject with breadth and depth. While Cynthia found this limiting at times (enrolling in upper-level classes required prior completion in lower-level classes, often leaving little flexibility to explore courses beyond the major), she also loved the diversity of thought and learning within the major, as well as the skills that she gained as a result. Course highlights from Cynthia's time with Bowdoin's growing Environmental Studies program included a course on coastal resources that incorporated on-site fieldwork, as well as an eye-opening environmental economics class with Professor David Vail, who was such a tough professor.

During her time at Bowdoin, Cynthia often took matters into her own hands to pursue her interest in environmental studies. She found her own internships during the summer, enrolled in a summer course at Stanford studying geomorphology, petitioned to add Boston University's SEA Semester to the College's list of approved Off Campus Study options, and upon having her petition denied, used her AP credits to take a year off from Bowdoin to lobby for bottle bill legislation in Washington, DC.  While Cynthia came out of her time in DC with a deeper care for the environment, she also discovered that she did not want to be a lobbyist, or live in DC.

Upon graduating from Bowdoin, Cynthia landed a job with a watershed association on the Charles River in Boston, and worked for two years as the watershed's community coordinator. Cynthia found her liberal arts background to be extremely relevant to her work with at the watershed association, as she had acquired both breadth and depth in environmental knowledge, as well as strong interpersonal skills, and the ability to synthesize and communicate hard science to a diverse audience. She played about with the idea of going to law school, but soon became interested in the economic argument for environmentalism and attended graduate school at the University of New Hampshire. Upon graduating in 1986, Cynthia joined Boston University's Center for Energy and the Environment to work on higher education and programming initiatives, as well as public policy facilitation. Her work with the Center for Energy and the Environment moved her away from more hands-on environmental work, but allowed her to utilize her skills and knowledge in  the sciences, policy, and communication. Cynthia's time at BU transitioned to doing public policy facilitation on controversial environmental issues with a consulting firm in Boston – doing projects around the country for the EPA, DOE, DOD and state agencies. Cynthia went to part time doing public policy consulting when her kids were little and now she still works as a consultant on projects from time to time.

Cynthia went on to receive a second master's degree in Neuropsychology from Stanford in 2000, before working at a clinic for children with learning disabilities. She soon found herself working in career counseling at Johns Hopkins, and later at Middlebury College, and eventually at Bowdoin's Career Planning Center.  While these changes in her life shifted her professional focus away from the environment, she describes it as a lifestyle decision,  in which she sought a career path with more flexibility. Even so, the environment continued to play a key role in her life. She continued to invest her free time in environmental initiatives, volunteering with land trusts and Shelburne Farms in Vermont, and keeping [her] hand in the environment .

Cynthia's time at Bowdoin has come full circle. From Bowdoin student to adviser at Bowdoin's Career Planning Center,  Cynthia reminds Environmental Studies students to identify their strengths and keep adding to their arsenal of knowledge.Cynthia believes that a career after studying environmental studies at Bowdoin is all about core skills. She credits her background in environmental studies for her interpersonal skills, as well as for her ability to collaborate and communicate effectively with others. Maybe more importantly, the environmental studies department has instilled in Cynthia a desire to keep working, to understand connections, and to understand the how people listen and learn from each other.

clear
Camille Wasinger ’15

Camille Wasinger ’15
April 13, 2016 03:16pm

Wasinger’s path to SunEdision followed a gradual narrowing of focus from the general to the specific. She grew up in the environmentally-conscious Boulder, Colorado and remembers her parents telling her to turn off the lights and water to conserve resources.

Read more

Three months ago Camille Wasinger packed her bags and moved to San Francisco to join the Renewable Energy Leadership Development Program (RELDP) at SunEdision. SunEdision is the largest renewable energy development company in the world. A global organization, the company unites 7,300 employees, partners and programs on many continents. The company is vertically integrated and active in all parts of the development process: from manufacturing the silicon chips that go into photovoltaic cells to developing and operating solar and wind farms. The company’s “Frontier Power” branch brings renewables-powered electricity and connectivity to people in off-grid areas and SunEdison partners with GRID Alternatives, a nonprofit that installs solar cells for low-income families.

Wasinger’s path to SunEdision followed a gradual narrowing of focus from the general to the specific. She grew up in the environmentally-conscious Boulder, Colorado and remembers her parents telling her to turn off the lights and water to conserve resources. When she came to Bowdoin, she realized that the emphasis on environmental responsibility she experienced in childhood was not the norm. She took Environmental Studies 1101 and that, combined with her first year seminar, Science and Society, convinced her that she needed to focus on sustainability. With a primary interest in environmental policy, Wasinger also majored in Government and Legal Studies and minored in Economics. As Wasinger moved through her Bowdoin career, she started to hone in on water and energy as her areas of focus. The summer before senior year, Wasinger took an internship with the Council on Environmental Quality in Washington DC. The Council advises The President on environmental policy and coordinates the Federal government’s environmental efforts. The internship melded her interests in both policy and environmental issues.  While Wasinger participated in a number of initiatives, the energy issues proved most interesting. For her senior honors thesis, Wasinger wrote about water politics in the Middle East. As she put it, water and energy issues are interesting to her because they “are the fundamental reasons humans have been able to thrive.” Wasinger’s DC internship, honors project, and her outstanding academics all made her a competitive applicant for the RELDP.

At SunEdision, Wasinger is part of the RELDP, a two year rotational program. The analysts, like Wasinger, focus on one aspect of the company for a year, then two others for two six month periods. This gives analysts a well-rounded view of the company and a variety of skills and experiences. Waisnger currently works with the development side of the company, focusing on prospecting: gathering data on new sites for development. Policy and market research are a key part of Wasinger’s day to day work. State and regional level policy has just as much influence on project development as federal policy. The focus on microlevel policies is a new experience for Wasinger. While during college and her internship in DC she focused primarily on sweeping Federal-level policies and initiatives, her work at SunEdison has brought her “into the weeds” of county-level property and permitting laws. “It’s a lot of work and a different type of work than in college” but it is rewarding to “do the work on an everyday basis that actually tackles [the issues].” Already, the RELDP has pushed Wasinger to try new roles and responsibilities. Wasinger is involved in a photovoltaic recycling project, working to formulate and execute SunEdison’s plan for module end-of-life. This is a somewhat new area and few regulations governing PV waste disposal exist. “It’s cool to be given autonomy on such an important issue… it requires a lot of innovation on our part.” As at her summer internship, Wasinger is again at the intersection of environment and politics, this time on the business side of the table and she says that it is fascinating to see this intersection from the private sector perspective, especially with a company behind her that she believes in and she feels good about.

While the job interests her, Wasinger points out that there is more than just work. “One of the really positive surprises was the “great emphasis on work-life balance”. After all, leaving Bowdoin and jumping into the working world is a big change.” This is a tough transition with a new job, new city, and new people all at once.” A few months into the program, Wasinger finally feels settled in her new home. “I finally feel like I’ve gotten my bearings and I understand what I’m doing.” This is particularly nice after the uncertainty of the job application process last year. “The thing about being a senior in college is that you’re in a position to take what you can get.” Wasinger’s word of advice to seniors is to “keep your options open” One such option could be the SunEdision. While the deadline for RELDP passed in October, SunEdsion also hosts a twelve-week summer internship. The application closes on December 31, 2015 and can be found at SunEdision’s website.

clear
Anthony Carrasquillo ’07

Anthony Carrasquillo ’07
April 13, 2016 03:01pm

After receiving his PhD a little over a year ago, Anthony strongly believes that his decision to pursue a PhD was one of the best decisions of his life. Today, Anthony says that “graduate school was the most challenging and rewarding experience of my life.”

Read more

Anthony Carrasquillo, a 2007 graduate with a major in chemistry and environmental studies, received his PhD in Environmental Chemistry from MIT a little over a year ago. As one of a number of science majors at Bowdoin who did research on campus during the summer and went on to work in a lab after graduation, Anthony’s path from Bowdoin to doctorate resulted from following his passions, not a predefined roadmap.

As a member of the Vasudevan Lab at Bowdoin, Anthony studied the environmental fate of antibiotics, such as oxytetracycline, in soil. Specifically he studied a process known as sorption, or the retention of chemicals from an aqueous phase onto soils and sediments. As an undergraduate, Anthony even had the experience of being published as the lead author on a paper in a peer reviewed journal because of his research with Professor Vasudevan. Yet, despite enjoying his research and excelling under the rigorous mentorship of Professor Vasudevan, Anthony did not immediately jump into a PhD program. Instead, he took the time to better understand his goals before taking on the 5-7 year commitment of a PhD program by spending a few years as a research technician in an environmental lab at MIT. As a research assistant, Anthony was able to confirm his passion for research in a different setting than undergraduate research and realized that a PhD was not just the next step in his scientific career, but also the right step.

When first thinking about PhD research topics, Anthony wanted to work on the fate of compounds in soil through sorption, similar to his undergraduate work. However, he also knew that connecting and meshing with an advisor was a central tenant to a fulfilling PhD program. With that in mind, Anthony was led to an atmospheric chemistry lab at MIT, very far from soil chemistry. There, he worked on understanding the structure and function of chemicals and particles in the atmosphere known as volatile organic compounds (VOCs). Understanding the atmospheric fate of these compounds, where they go and what they do, has tremendous human health implications and also are one of the largest remaining uncertainties in global climate change. Though a far cry from diluted antibiotics in soil Anthony found that many of the scientific principles between the two topics were the same, and he was able to find the same excitement for aerosols that he had for soil chemistry.

After receiving his PhD a little over a year ago, Anthony strongly believes that his decision to pursue a PhD was one of the best decisions of his life. Today, Anthony says that “graduate school was the most challenging and rewarding experience of my life.” He furthermore expressed his gratitude towards the many individuals who helped him along the way. He feels that successfully researching and defending a thesis takes far more than an individual effort; many parts of the arduous process were truly team efforts. Looking back, a connection to his PhD advisor was the central determinant of success and happiness throughout the long program, even being more important than the topic of the research.

Anthony has not forgotten his introduction to research at Bowdoin with Professor Vasudevan either. At Bowdoin, he believes, not only can you discover your passion for research, but you also get a tremendous background in basic laboratory technique and organization that becomes invaluable in graduate school. Even though notebook keeping and all the little steps you have to take in order to do anything might seem trivial now, they actually become the difference between getting good data and staying on top of your research in graduate school. Overall, Bowdoin’s Chemistry Department played a major role, in preparing Anthony for graduate school, beyond just providing him with a bachelor’s degree.

clear

Older profiles