Iris Davis '78

What was your class year and major/minor?

My class year is 1978, and my major was biology/history.

What is your current job?

I work for the Commonwealth of Massachusetts in the Department of Environmental Protection. I am a Section Chief for the Bureau of Waste Site Clean-up. I oversee the design of remedial treatment systems for hazardous waste sites, and do enforcement against polluters.

Did your academic or extracurricular experience at Bowdoin influence how you are involved in communities now? If yes, how so?

Yes, Bowdoin emphasized giving back to the community. When I was at Bowdoin we were involved in community activities such as teaching and coaching elementary school children at the community center. Activities like this taught me that even small gestures can bring a smile to someone’s face.

In what ways have you been engaged with the community since graduating from Bowdoin (both professionally and personally)?

I do outreach in communities on environmental issues. In most of the environmental justice areas people are concerned that they aren’t getting the proper environmental protection that the wealthier communities may be receiving. They don’t believe they have a voice, and I try help them find the right people to help them with some of their issues.

I also coach basketball at a community center.

What's been your favorite or most meaningful experience in public service since you graduated?

Going into middle schools in Roxbury as part of a team from Bowdoin to help in the classroom and teach a few classes.

Have any unexpected challenges or difficulties related to this work popped up along the way? If so, what did you learn from these challenges?

I can’t say that I have had any difficulties or challenges when doing public service. Everyone has been very receptive and welcoming.

What advice do you have for students who want to work for the common good after Bowdoin?

Participate in something you love. It will be much more rewarding and the people that you are working with will see how much you care. People know when you are doing something just to put on a resume, as opposed to when you are really passionate about what you are doing and really want to help.