What are you doing now? Are you where you imagined you would be after graduating, or did things work out differently than you planned?
I am currently a postdoctoral associate with the Vermont EPSCoR program at the University of Vermont. After graduating with an engineering degree from St. Mike’s and UVM, I went into civil engineer consulting. I was happy with the work I was doing and did not see myself going back to school to get a Ph.D., but I eventually became interested in pursuing other opportunities; I was particularly interested in exploring further the science and research behind some of the engineering work I was doing. I decided to attend graduate school at the University of Vermont to pursue M.S. and Ph.D. degrees in engineering. I currently do research for the University of Vermont that focuses on applying advanced computational methods to characterize sediment transport in river systems.
What made you choose St. Mike’s?
Upon graduating high school, I knew I wanted to attend a smaller, liberal arts college. I looked at a lot of schools all over the northeast and ended up applying to six schools. I had a really good interview with St. Mike’s, I fell in love with the area, and I received a generous scholarship. But a main reason I decided to attend St. Mike’s was the ability to take engineering and liberal arts classes, an opportunity that is not characteristic of many engineering schools.
What was the most valuable thing you learned while you were at St. Mike’s? How do you apply what you learned here to your everyday life, outside of academia?
In every class at St. Mike’s, there is a large focus on writing skills. Before college, I was not very confident in my writing skills. I took a first-year seminar at St. Mike’s that was very writing-intensive. You get better at writing by practicing it, and there were many opportunities to improve writing in my classes at St. Mike’s. I believe my liberal arts education at St. Mike’s helped develop my writing skills and helped me in successfully applying for graduate school and fellowships.
What do you enjoy most about what you’re doing now/your current profession?
I enjoy the ability to choose the direction I want my career to go in. I like the creativity aspect of my job. I consider myself bridging multiple fields, and being in a research setting allows me to use skills from all aspects of my education to solve environmental problems in our area.
Which of your achievements, whether from your time at St. Mike’s or after it, are you most proud of?
I was humbled to be given the Switzer Foundation Fellowship Award. While the grant is not as large as other fellowships, it is specifically given to those professionals who are pursuing environmental work outside an academic setting. They invest in your entire career and allow you to pursue more research opportunities and was therefore an honor to receive.
How do you think St. Mike’s contributed to your success?
The St. Mike’s curriculum gave me a range of liberal arts and engineering classes that provided me with a broad background of knowledge, and opened the doors for me to be successful in many fields.