Environmental Science is a great career path for more technically oriented people who have a passion for discovery and ensuring better environmental stewardship. Poor air and water quality, climate change, and toxic pollution are just a few of the problems that environmental scientists work to remedy. They use their understanding of scientific procedure and methodology to develop pollution remediation plans, implement cleanup operations, and advocate for new and improved methods of pollution remediation.
Environmental scientists can work in a number of different environments for a number of different types of organizations. They usually spend a substantial period of time working both indoors in a laboratory or office and outdoors doing field work. Environmental scientists can work for government agencies to collect information and ensure less environmental degradation. They can work for business firms looking to improve their environmental performance or for consulting firms that provide this service for businesses. They can even work for advocacy groups that work to improve environmental standards and monitor what’s not being monitored by others.
Almost any position in environmental science will begin with a substantial training period under close supervision, so it is not essential that students entering the field learn all the scientific information, software programs, and techniques relevant to their field. Instead, it is important that students gain a broad and meaningful understanding of the biological and earth sciences, learn basic field study procedures, develop safe and effective lab skills, and are familiar with computer-based technology. Students interested in a career in environmental science should consider the Environmental Science Concentration.
Graduates who have pursued careers in Environmental Science
Pieter Ver Steeg (’10) graduated from Luther with both Environmental Studies (Geoscience concentration) and Biology majors. Upon graduation, Pieter enrolled in the Professional Science Masters in Ecosystem Management (PSM-EM) program at the University of Northern Iowa. The culmination of the program is a summer internship, which Pieter will spend with the Nature Conservancy at its Minnesota Regional Office in Minneapolis. As their Conservation Areas Planning Intern, he will be using GIS and working with many other staff members to update management plans for nature preserves in Minnesota. The position will involve both office and field work, which he says, “is perfect for me!”