Daniel Star Constable
Yes, my middle name is Star. No, that is not why I chose an environmental major.
What is your degree; what was your major? Specialization?
Bachelor’s of Science in Environmental and Resource Sciences, with a specialization in Geographic Information Systems and Remote Sensing. Quite a mouthful, huh?
When did (will) you graduate?
I walked in Spring 2006, but I won’t technically have my degree until after Fall 2006.
Current employer, location of employment, and description of job responsibilities.
Right now I am working at two jobs. I work for the Yolo County Resource Conservation District (Yolo RCD) in Woodland, and Kevin Wolf and Associates in Davis.
During the summer my work at the Yolo RCD is mainly fieldwork. I go out to farms in the region and evaluate water use efficiency. In the future it will probably shift to more water quality work.
At Kevin Wolf and Associates, I help with Web design and reviewing and uploading relevant data onto watershed data-clearinghouse websites.
What best prepared you for this job: courses, internship experience, faculty recommendations?
All of the above. It may sound a little clichéd, but honestly I have gained valuable skills from across the board. In my current jobs, I use a fair amount of computer knowledge that I gained while at UC Davis. Some of it from classes, most of it indirectly. It’s pretty amazing, but computer literacy is one of the most important aspects of many jobs. That and the ability to think.
I had one internship, over a summer, while enrolled at Davis. I got to fly up to Las Vegas and drive/hike around the desert with a bunch of high-tech electronics. I would recommend everyone to look for an internship as early as possible. At the very worst you will find out what you don’t want to do. More likely it will be a good experience, and it may turn into a more permanent job. Internships are also a good way to get letters of recommendation. It can be hard to get to know a professor when there are 50-400 other students in class. With an internship you generally get to work fairly closely with a professor or supervisor.
How did you find your job?
I actually interviewed with a similar organization in Solano County. I didn’t get that job, but they were nice enough to forward my resumé to their colleagues here in Yolo County. I interviewed with the Yolo RCD and was hired.
Graduate school ambitions? If so, what?
I would like to go to graduate school, but not for at least a couple of years. I have thought of applying for a masters of environmental science, urban planning / sustainable development or a joint peace corps / masters degree.
Career suggestions for students with your major. Many employers prefer someone with at least a couple of years of experience in a specific area. I would say an internship is the number one way to gain experience. Look for internships or jobs through the Internship and Career Center and mention to professors and friends that you are looking to work and get experience.
Having at least some experience with GIS/GPS is very important in the environmental sciences. I am probably a little biased since that is my specialization, but it is a good skill to have.
I also recommend thinking about what your ideal job(s) are, and finding out what the skillsets are for that job. If you want to work in environmental education, volunteer with Students for Environmental Education at Davis (SEED) or another organization working with children. If you want to do fieldwork, try to get some relevant experience and certifications, i.e. how to operate field equipment, wilderness first aid, CPR, etc...
Any additional comments?
I remember being a first-year and wondering what I could “do” with my degree once I graduated. Actually, sometimes I still wonder that. My adviser told me that I could do anything I wanted to. That’s not what I wanted to hear, but it is technically true. Think about what you want in life, and go in that direction. Speak to professors, advisers, and friends about what you want to do and figure out how you are going to get there. A major is a great guidance tool, but ultimately each person has to know what they want so they can gain the right skills and experience.
If you can, study abroad; take some electives to explore other areas of interest; take a trip, or more, with Outdoor Adventures.
Also, this may be a little hypocritical, but find the right balance between academics and life. Classes and grades are important, but they aren’t the center of the universe (am I allowed to say that?). Study hard and keep your GPA up, but enjoy your time while at Davis too. It will fly by.
Your contact information.
My e-mail is firstname.lastname@example.org. I encourage anyone with questions to contact me.
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