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Corporations and Government Need More Environmental Science Graduates



Published on: November 18, 2020
Robert Northington performs field work in a stream

BANGOR, MAINE –  As public concerns about global warming, the hazards facing the environment, and population growth increase, so too does the demand for educated and knowledgeable professionals in environmental science. Adding to this demand are corporations who feel they need to act in environmentally responsible ways to satisfy the interests of their customers and stakeholders.

The next decade will see significant growth in this career field. According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics’ Occupational Outlook Handbook, the employment of environmental scientists and specialists is projected to grow 8% from 2019 to 2029, much faster than the average for all occupations.[1]

In an effort to help Husson students better understand the career opportunities available to them in environmental science; the University hosted a STEM Career Webinar on Tuesday, November 10, 2020 at 4 p.m. The Zoom event featured a panel of three prominent environmental science professionals.

Samuel Kunz, assistant director of career services feels that events like this are essential for any student planning to enter today’s job market. “Students who attended this event had the opportunity to connect with alumni who were once just like they were - undergraduate students at Husson University,” said Kunz. “By the end of the event, our students realized that they too can have successful careers in this field. The only barriers to their success are the ones they make for themselves.”  

Events like this offer other benefits as well. Besides learning about what it takes to become successful, students were able to make valuable contacts that can potentially lead to internships or job opportunities after graduation.

The three prominent business professionals who participated in the event’s panel discussion came from a variety of different types of environmental science organizations. They included:

Cara Belanger, a project scientist at Stillwater Environmental Engineering, Inc. (SEE). This company provides a full range of civil engineering, environmental engineering and regulatory compliance assistance to municipal, industrial, and institutional entities.

Belanger graduated from the University of Vermont with a degree in environmental science and a minor in chemistry. Her undergraduate honors research focused on the impact of road salt on aquatic life in streams. At SEE, Belinger conducts storm water sampling, infrastructure inspections, and site inspections. She also helps to plan education and outreach events and assists with developing compliance plans.  

Brandon Delano, a water systems operator at Water Quality & Compliance Services. This company specializes in serving Maine's private and public, water and wastewater systems.

Delano attended Husson University from 2013-2017 and graduated with a Bachelor’s of Science in environmental science and a minor in biology. In the fall of 2017, Maine Coast Laboratory and Water Quality & Compliance Services of Wiscasset, Maine hired him.

At the laboratory, he assists as an analyst. His job responsibilities include processing/analyzing drinking water and wastewater samples. Outside of the laboratory, he works as a field technician, managing the operations of drinking water and wastewater systems across Maine to keep them in compliance with state/federal regulations. In addition, Delano is also leading the fieldwork on a storm water phosphorus-monitoring project with the Department of Environmental Protection (DEP). He has his state class 2T2D license for the operation of regulated drinking water systems. Delano has also earned the National Radon Proficiency Program (NRPP) certification from the American Association of Radon Scientists and Technologists (AARST). He is currently working toward his Biological I license for the operation of regulated wastewater systems.

Johanna Szillery, a senior project scientist at CES Inc. CES Inc. is an engineering, environmental, and survey-consulting firm. Szillery works in the Bangor Office. She has technical training in botany, wetland science, soil science and water chemistry. Szillery has a Bachelor of Arts from Drew University in New Jersey and a Master of Science in plant, soil and environmental science from the University of Maine. She has held positions in the federal government, the National Park Service and the US Department of Agriculture, as well as in a variety of consulting firms.

In her current role, she is the head of the natural resource division at CES, and oversees project planning, natural resource assessments and permitting. Szillery continues to enjoy the variety of her job, from working in beautiful areas throughout the state of Maine, to developing relationships with clients and regulators, to training and mentoring younger staff.  

The event was only open to members of the Husson University community. Students didn’t have to be job hunting to participate. This online event was open to students at all levels who were interested in learning more about career opportunities in environmental science. 

Robert Northington, PhD, an assistant professor at Husson University’s College of Science and Humanities felt that this online event offered an important glimpse into the careers of the future. “The world’s population continues to grow. As a species, we need to better understand the natural and physical processes that affect the functioning of our planet, if we are to survive.” 

“The demand for individuals with a knowledge of environmental science will only continue to grow,” he said. “I’m proud to be able to help develop the next generation of environmental scientists. Their ability to find creative solutions to our climate problems will save lives.”  

For more than 120 years, Husson University has prepared future leaders to handle the challenges of tomorrow through innovative undergraduate and graduate degrees. With a commitment to delivering affordable classroom, online and experiential learning opportunities, Husson University has come to represent superior value in higher education. Our Bangor campus and off-campus satellite education center in Northern Maine both provide advanced knowledge in business; health and education; pharmacy studies; science and humanities; as well as communication. In addition, Husson University has a robust adult learning program. According to a recent analysis of tuition and fees by U.S. News & World Report, Husson University is one of the most affordable private colleges in New England. For more information about educational opportunities that can lead to personal and professional success, visit Husson.edu.

[1] Bureau of Labor Statistics’ Occupational Outlook Handbook, “Environmental Scientists and Specialists,” https://www.bls.gov/ooh/life-physical-and-social-science/environmental-scientists-and-specialists.htm

 

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