TRC Role: Ph.D. in Natural Resources (2013)
Current Role: Assistant Professor of Environmental Studies, St. Lawrence University
What have you been doing since leaving the TRC?
My first position after leaving the TRC was as an outdoor recreation planner at Grand Canyon National Park. Employed by the National Park Service, I served as a subject matter expert on human dimensions of backcountry and wilderness planning. This involved analyzing environmental impacts based on visitor use levels and patterns in backcountry and wilderness settings. My analysis helped inform documents required by the National Environmental Policy Act, such as environmental impact statements. After applying my skills as a practitioner, I chose to return to academia.
In 2015, I accepted a position as an Assistant Professor of Environmental Studies at St. Lawrence University. Since my arrival at SLU, I have developed and taught multiple courses including Introduction to Environmental Studies, Contemporary Issues in Outdoor Recreation and Public Land, Recreation Policy and Planning, and Recreation Research. I have found passing on my knowledge of park and recreation management to the next generation of public land stewards incredibly rewarding.
How did the TRC prepare you for these positions, and life in general?
The TRC’s emphasis on interdisciplinary solutions to real world problems prepared me for my professional career. Because my research was funded in part by a TRC research fellowship, I took classes and collaborated with researchers across disciplines. Together we studied core content, but perhaps more importantly, we learned how to effectively communicate our individual expertise to each other. This skill served me well on the planning team I was a part of at Grand Canyon and is inherently required as an educator at a liberal arts college.
What would you recommend to current researchers at the TRC?
Be a sponge, but don’t just soak up knowledge from your own field. Seek connections and interrelationships across disciplines. More importantly, be able to effectively communicate them to peers within your field, professionals outside your field, and the general public.