Panelists discuss careers in environmentalism, sustainability

Five+panel+members+talked+with+students+about+careers+in+sustainability+on+Wednesday%2C+Oct.+23%2C+2019%2C+in+the+Administration+Building+Room+211+at+City+College+in+Santa+Barbara%2C+Calif.+
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Panelists discuss careers in environmentalism, sustainability

Five panel members talked with students about careers in sustainability on Wednesday, Oct. 23, 2019, in the Administration Building Room 211 at City College in Santa Barbara, Calif.

Five panel members talked with students about careers in sustainability on Wednesday, Oct. 23, 2019, in the Administration Building Room 211 at City College in Santa Barbara, Calif.

Celina Jauregui

Five panel members talked with students about careers in sustainability on Wednesday, Oct. 23, 2019, in the Administration Building Room 211 at City College in Santa Barbara, Calif.

Celina Jauregui

Celina Jauregui

Five panel members talked with students about careers in sustainability on Wednesday, Oct. 23, 2019, in the Administration Building Room 211 at City College in Santa Barbara, Calif.

Celina Jauregui, Staff Writer

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Five environmental professionals shared insight into their work and day-to-day life at a “Careers Supporting the Environment and Sustainability” panel hosted by City College’s Career Center on Wednesday.

The five panelists work in local environmental sectors like research, project management, sustainability analysis and environmental consulting.

The panelists were interviewed with questions surrounding entry-level positions in sustainability, interviewing and application skills, long term careers in the field and how their work specifically contributes to the environment.

Jana Mori, the student program advisor at the campus Career Center, hosted the event in the MacDougall Administration Building Room 211 and asked the panelists a series of questions that they answered one by one.

Among the panelists, there were representatives working more specifically on field research like Haley Schneider, from Geosyntec Consultants, and representatives from non-profits like Kathi King, the director of outreach and education with the Community Environmental Center.

“We have been focused on an environmental solution since day one… in the beginning, they solved very basic problems like recycling… now we’re focused fully on energy and the transition to clean energy,” King said regarding her work at the CEC.

When Mori asked the professionals what their day-to-day work looked like, each panelist agreed that no two days look the same.

“One day I could be out in the field collecting groundwater samples or soil samples or air samples and then the next day I could be writing a portion of a report processing the data that was collected a week prior,” said Schneider. 

King admitted that the work can be very time demanding but added, “this is my passion anyway, I feel there’s a lot of overlap with my life and my work. I can’t really separate the two anymore.”

Steve Wagner, the general manager at the Goleta Sanitary District, added that “finding your passion, finding how you’re wired, what your skills, gifts and abilities are is huge.” 

At the end of the event, students had the opportunity to introduce themselves and ask the speakers questions.

Students asked questions regarding each panelist’s sustainable practice in their own lives and what advice they had to offer for getting internships and start-up positions.

Wagner encouraged students to go to the career center for job assessments. “I’m looking for initiative, I’m looking for the ability and willingness to learn right and be moldable,” he said. 

Other panelists included Jessica Kinnahan from Dudek and Charlotte Sedlock from Apeel.

According to Mori, the Career Center tries to host panels like this throughout the semester for different fields.

 “We try and choose the one that will benefit the students or if a faculty member requests it, we love to work with faculty,” Mori said. “There are many jobs out there that students don’t even know exist.”