Name: Kate Sinner
Undergraduate Major: Environmental Studies
Graduate Degree: M.S. in Civil Engineering
Why did you choose to major/focus in Environmental Studies?
I knew I wanted to work in the environmental field even though I wasn't quite sure what I envisioned my "career" to be while I was pursuing my undergraduate degree.
What activities, courses, and groups that you were involved in on campus did you find most beneficial when applying for jobs/school? What skills were taught that got you to where you are today?
I strongly feel that all of my environmental studies courses were instrumental in my career path after CSB/SJU. In particular, the internship and thesis requirements were two of the most beneficial for applications to jobs and graduate school. Other courses that were benefical included my math and science courses since I pursued engineering for my graduate degree.
Activities that were beneficial to my career path included my study abroad semester in South Africa, involvement with CSB Senate, and student employment and involvement with the Leadership Development Team. I wish I had been more involved with outdoor leadership during my time in school.
I'm not sure if I can pin down all of the skills I gained during my time at CSB/SJU but I feel as though a liberal arts degree really helps develop interpersonal skills. Other skills include, but are not limited to, project coordination, organization, perseverance, and critical thinking.
What did you do immediately after graduation?
Immediately after graduation I interned with the U.S. Senate for a few months. After my internship I moved to New Zealand for a year where I began outdoor guiding. I then worked in the environmental education field for a number of years before beginning graduate school.
If it differs, what are you currently doing and how did your career path lead you there?
I am doing very different things from what I did when I was a recent graduate, but I wouldn't have it any other way! I am now an environmental engineer that focuses on water quality engineering, specifically permitting and compliance work. I work for an environmental consulting firm in Duluth, Minnesota.
After working in the outdoor guiding and education field for a few years, I decided I wanted to go back to school to pursue more of the "technical" background to what I was teaching. I ultimately ended up pursuing a M.S. in Civil Engineering with an emphasis in water resources.
What advice do you have for current students when it comes to being successful on campus and in life after college?
Never be afraid to pursue something that seems far out of reach. Networking with those you do and do not know can open doors you might never expect.
Additional advice and comments:
I am happy to discuss my career path and time at CSB/SJU with anyone who is interested. I could not have taken the path I did without asking others about their own career pursuits.