Name: Tyler Thompson
Major and Minor: Environmental Studies, Economics
Why did you choose to major in Environmental Studies?
Initially I wanted to be outside and was intrigued at what the broad interdisciplinary topic could offer. I was hooked after one class and loved the variety of classes in science, policy, history, geography. natural resources and economics.
What activities, courses, and groups that you were involved in at CSB/SJU did you find most valuable when applying for jobs/school after graduating? Why?
I was involved in the Peer Resource Program, Collegebound, Nordic Ski team, Inaugural UNFCCC Cop 21 delegation, and worked at the Outdoor Leadership Center and Outdoor University. The most beneficial courses I took were GIS, Sustainable Urban Planning, Conservation/Natural Resource Management, Environmental Politics/Policy, Research Seminar/Thesis and all of my courses in Economics. The intersection of class work, research, and personal development via club involvement is incredibly beneficial. I developed many valuable skills in leadership, communication, event planning, marketing, collaboration/teamwork and financial management while working with various clubs and organizations. Additionally the technical skills and independent research conducted in advanced courses gave me great topics to discuss in a cover letter and job interview that helps set me apart. Lastly, a rudimentary understanding of economics and it's various applications in any field can lead to insightful and impressing conversations with professionals.
What was your internship experience at CSB/SJU? What skills did you have from courses and the department that qualified you for the department you for the position, and what skills did you learn?
I interned at the CSB Office of Sustainability. I brought skills from introductory classes in environmental studies and sustainability as well as a background in economics and my environmental/natural resource economics class. I spent most of my time compiling the college's greenhouse gas inventory which included gathering data in various forms and metrics, organizing data, making calculations and preparing everything in a final report. I also focused on development and financial management of the Full Circle Greenhouse and campus events promoting sustainability and local foods. Through this I gained exposure to various professionals in the industry and within the college administration. I also learned about the steps to producing professional reports and documents.
What did you do after graduation?
I moved to Denver, Colorado where I worked for the Bureau of Land Management (BLM) at their National Operations Center. I was a part of the national Socioeconomics team and worked with Economists, Anthropologists, Recreation Planners, and Natural Resource Managers to conduct socioeconomic analyses on various natural resource and recreation projects on public lands.
If it differs now, what are you doing and how did you get there?
Now I work for the Three Rivers Park District as an Outdoor Recreation Specialist. I worked as a seasonal employee at Three Rivers throughout high school and college and when the opportunity came to return full time I knew it was the right decision. My programming experience at CSB/SJU, independent research, and experience with the BLM helped set me apart and contributed to my experiences. At the park district I have worked in various supervisory positions within many different park reserves and regional parks. On a daily basis I collaborate with staff in natural resources, planning, finance, public safety, and human resources.
What advice, if any, do you have for current students on being successful on campus and in life after college?
Use your thesis as an asset when applying for jobs. It can be a great tool to research, network, and contribute to a topic or field you are interested in working in. Get involved in a few groups, clubs, or organizations and seek out leadership opportunities. Get to know your professors and take advantage of the alumni network. Find the right balance between interdisciplinary research, coursework and technical skills that will help set you apart. Take advantage of undergraduate research opportunities and funding available to travel to conferences for gathering research or presenting. Matt Lindstrom's classes and the McCarthy Center are great networking and professional development resources. Most importantly, find something you are passionate about and advocate for yourself.