Post Grad Profile: Emma

Emma Kerr faced the same types of discouragement as most post grads. But she made the most of it and ended up on a beautiful island.

1.     What did you want to do going into college? I wanted to do a combination of journalism and political science, to eventually be some sort of political reporter.

2.     What did you end up doing? Well, I stuck with the journalism part, but after I hated my first poli-sci class and figured out that I didn't like politics as much as I thought I did once I was surrounded by it, I decided to turn to another interest that I had since I was a child- the environment.  I got involved with some groups at AU that focused on environmental issues and I realized that I could also make a career out of environmental reporting.  I decided a little too late in the game to have an environmental science major, which was fine with me since I figured out quickly that I did not want to do organic chemistry or calculus.  After choosing several literature electives, I was very close to a literature minor as well, so I ended up with a major in journalism (print) and minors in environmental science and literature.

3.     What is your most ideal post grad life? It's sort of a whole jumble of things.  I would really like to cover environmental issues for an organization or publication, and I would love to be able to travel to do this.  After studying abroad in Durban, South Africa I would also love to work abroad in sustainable development or conservation, particularly in Sub-Saharan Africa, but I'm not really sure how to make this possible yet.  Right now I don't want to head into grad school but might consider doing so eventually for wildlife biology, natural resource management, conservation, or sustainable development.

4.     Where did you go? After sending out a flurry of applications for permanent positions with no positive responses, I panicked and figured I would try for at least temporary summer employment.  I applied to various things and eventually was offered an internship at Chincoteague National Wildlife Refuge, located on Assateague Island in Virginia.   I had worked at the Eastern Massachusetts Complex of National Wildlife Refuges in the summer of 2008 so I had some experience with this.  I had a great summer with the Eastern Mass. Complex so I was very excited to come to Chincoteague for the summer.  I work in the Visitor Services department here, so I interact with the public to educate them on the resources we have in the refuge, the wildlife here, why the area is managed the way it is, and the recreational opportunities on the refuge.  I also conduct a variety of outdoor programs for the public, like crabbing and clamming, as well as indoor programs on different wildlife.  I also helped lead the day camp we had here for 3 weeks this summer.  My time here was extended through the fall until mid-January so I'll be helping to prepare for fall festivals we have here and I'll be continuing to work in the Visitor Center as well as starting to do some environmental education work with school groups that visit in the fall.

5.     How did your plan change along the way? I've learned more about the seasonal employment opportunities with the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service (who manage National Wildlife Refuges) and the National Park Service so now I am also applying for temporary and seasonal positions with these two agencies.  There are many refuges and parks all over the country that if hired I could work at for 6 months or a season and I could explore a new part of the country, so I'm now interested in this and continuing my visitor services work or environmental education work.  I really like being in the country and having all the outdoor opportunities, but I miss the city too.  I'm also still applying for all sorts of communications positions and positions with environmental organizations and non-profits in cities too.  While my plan has been broadened, I'm also still pretty darn confused as to what I should do or what I can even do next.

6.     What’s the biggest lesson you’ve learned so far? Apply apply apply.  A few is not enough.  And really try not to get discouraged.  Find something positive in every day if you can and focus on what still makes you happy even if you're freaking out about unemployment or not really enjoying your current employment.

1 comment:

  1. Successful AND attractive? Whoa.