Graduation Year: 2015
What City/ State are you from? Warwick, Rhode Island
What City/ State to you currently live in? Salem, Massachusetts
Current Career Title: School and Youth Programs Education Associate II
Business/ Organization you work for: Museum of Science, Boston
What was your Major?
I double majored in Captive Wildlife Care and Education and Wildlife and Fisheries Management.
Did you switch majors during your time at Unity College?
When I first applied to Unity, I applied under the Wildlife Biology major. After being accepted, I spoke with an Admissions Counselor who helped me realize that Captive was a better choice for my career goals. After my first semester, I decided to double major in Captive Wildlife Care and Education and Wildlife and Fisheries Management.
What was your favorite thing about your time at Unity College? Did you have a favorite tradition?My favorite thing about my time at Unity was the community of students, faculty, and staff. It’s so unusual to have such like-minded people all together in the same place. I can’t count the number of nights my friends stood around a wood stove debating over the use of fracking or quizzing each other’s wildlife knowledge.
One of my favorite traditions was the Wildlife ID Bowl. At this event, teams of students would compete against one another by identifying photos of wildlife. It was very “Unity” and just an all around fun night.
What advice would you give to current Unity College students?
Take advantage of your time off! I used every summer to have a different internship or job experience. I entered Unity thinking I wanted to be a Zookeeper and graduated Unity knowing I wanted to be an Informal Environmental Educator. That career goal change happened because of those experiences and are the main reason why I love the job I have today.
Did you utilize career services for you internship or career search? If so, in what ways?
Definitely! I actually worked in the Career Services as a Work Study student. I learned how to create resumes and write cover letters. I also learned how to professionally communicate with potential employers.
Where did you complete your internship(s) and what types of experiences did you have?
I completed 2 Internships while I was at Unity. In my first summer, I was a Zookeeper Intern at Roger Williams Park Zoo in Providence, RI. This experience taught me the process and importance of high quality animal care but also showed me that I wanted more opportunities to interact with the public so I decided to search for more education-focused positions in the future.
The following summer, I was a Conservation Education Intern at The Wilds in Cumberland, OH. In this role, I taught outdoor courses like wildlife identification and wilderness survival while also helping facilitate interpretative safari tours. I loved every moment of this experience. I made lifelong friendships and left feeling confident in my choice to pursue wildlife education.
Is your current job in your field of study, or did you end up going a different direction than you thought?
Yes, however, you don’t need to have my background to pursue this career. I’m so lucky to work with people of all science backgrounds, from environmental scientists, to paleontologists, to astrophysicists. We can all offer something that another can learn from.
Tell us a little about your current job and what it entails:
I am the lead School and Youth Programs Educator at the Museum of Science. I mostly work with high school students in helping them build science identity and excitement through exploration, mentorship, and employment. My day-to-day can be really different. Sometimes I’m interpreting with live animals for our public audiences. Sometimes I’m coordinating events for high school students to explore STEM careers. Sometimes I’m in our Butterfly Garden teaching about insects. And sometimes I’m making indoor lightning bolts at our famous Lightning Show. It can truly all be in a single day’s work!
Are you happy in your current career?
I really enjoy what I currently do. It’s the perfect balance between supporting my natural interests as well as encouraging me to learn new things. Because of this, I have become a more well-rounded, informed educator.
Is there anything you would have done differently education wise?
Being a double major, I didn’t have a lot of wiggle room in my schedule to try courses outside of my degree requirements, but I wish I had chosen my electives more wisely so they were more applicable to what I wanted to do long term.
Did you feel Unity College prepared you for your career?
Absolutely. Going into Unity, I considered myself “book smart”. Unity pushed me to be more than that. Unity asked me to put everything I was learning into practice. I trained live animals. I presented lesson plans. I collected data for real research projects. At times this was really challenging but it’s what really prepared me for my career path.