Preparing for an Environmental Career
The Environmental Studies program begins working with and preparing students for life after college beginning with the first introductory course in the major. In that first course, students complete a Career Discernment Project which involves working with the Career Center to find a real job posting that they could imagine themselves qualifying for 5 years after they graduate. Then, students build a resume that includes current knoweldge, skills, and abilities and planned future professional development that would prepare them to get that job.
In their Sophomore or Junior year, Environmental Studies majors also complete a "Field Experience" which involves an internship placement in an organization, agency, or program related to their environmental interests. Upon concluding their field experience, students complete a public, oral presentation of learning to both program faculty and their peers which details the specific connections they found between their coursework and their fieldwork and what impact their experience had on their thinking in environmental studies.
Finally, in the Senior Seminar course, students re-visit their resume through an extended Curriculum Vitae project and portfolio which documents both their academic and job-related knowledge, skills, and abilities. Earlham alumni who work in related fields are invited to class as guest speakers, and conversations about next steps are carried on throughout the semester and in conjunction with the Career Service center.
Alumni and Careers
Earlham has an outstanding record of producing knowledgeable and effective environmental leaders in addition to preparing students for further graduate study. Frances Moore Lappe' (Earlham '66), author of the famous Diet for a Small Planet and the recent Hope's Edge: The Next Diet for a Small Planet, is one of many graduates who have used their Earlham education to seek innovative and creative solutions to environmental problems. Michael Shellenberger (Earlham ‘93), author of the controversial books The Death of Environmentalism and Breakthrough, is widely recognized as an important environmental strategist. Marc Reisner (Earlham '71), author of Cadillac Desert, was widely considered to be a leading expert and commentator on water politics in the western U.S. before his untimely passing in 2001.
Recent graduates have completed advanced degrees in ecological restoration, environmental education, environmental law, environmental statistics, and urban ecology. Many have entered professions in the areas of environmental advocacy, policy, and legislation. Others have worked for various local, state, or federal agencies.