In their own words
Name: Nathan Crary
School: Oregon Institute of Technology
Program of study: Electrical engineering
Expected graduation date: Spring 2011
Somewhere between graduating from University of Montana in 2005 with a humanities degree and traveling in South America for five months in 2007, I started asking, What do I want to do? What interests me? Where will the good jobs be in five or 10 years? During this period of introspection, with these questions fresh in my mind, I kept coming back to a few points:
I’ve always liked science and technology. I’ve been intrigued with renewable energy for years. I’m always thinking about the future.
A quick search for “renewable energy degree programs” on Google revealed Oregon Institute of Technology. Upon looking at the interesting, albeit intimidating class schedule, which might as well have been Chinese, I was intrigued. Soon after I called the Portland campus and talked to the renewable energy engineering program director, Bob Bass. We had a couple productive and exciting conversations about the program. I was impressed with the low student to staff ratio, the job prospects and the multi-pronged educational approach - part theory, part hands-on labs and part real world industry pragmatics.
So far, it’s been a wonderful crash course in engineering and problem solving and great place to be studying. OIT Portland students are at an arm’s length from the growing renewable energy related businesses. E-mails are sent out weekly informing OIT students on tech seminars, job opportunities and networking links.The job prospects are abundant: More than 90 percent of graduates find jobs in an engineering field of interest.
I’m most interested in energy conservation and the growing PV field. Both industries are vital aspects of the changing energy economy. Currently, I’m taking a class on photovoltaics and next quarter I will be enrolled in energy accounting—a perfect way to prepare for my career interests.
Name: Heather Abbott
School: Portland State University
Program of study: Masters of Business Administration, Sustainable Enterprise; and Graduate Certificate in Sustainability
Anticipated graduation date:
Masters of Business Administration, Sustainable Enterprise - December 2009 (Winter 2009)
Graduate Certificate in Sustainability - June 2010 (Spring 2010)
I have recently completed a Master of Business Administration, with a concentration in Sustainable Enterprise. I hope to help business make strategic choices, which will positively affect their bottom line through sustainable practices. Additionally, I am also completing a Graduate Certificate in Sustainability so that I can bring depth of knowledge regarding sustainability issues to businesses while presenting them in terms and methodologies understood by the business community. Upon graduation I hope to find a position with an environmental consulting firm focusing on creating positive returns on investment for businesses, work within a large corporation as a corporate sustainability officer or within the energy sector.
Name: Wayne Leighty
School: University of California - Davis
Program of study: MBA student, Graduate School of Management,
Ph.D. student, Sustainable Transportation Energy Program, Institute of Transportation Studies
Emerging Venture Analyst, Energy Efficiency Center
Anticipated graduation date: 2012
In my experience, opportunity appears where one looks for it. As such, our perceptions of opportunities are shaped by our interests in a healthy cycle of feedback. Following my passions has led to accumulation of experience in tax law and contracting in the oil and gas industry, and degrees in resource economics, environmental science, transportation technology and policy and business administration. Thus, for me the most exciting and evident opportunities for career engagement are at the intersection of government policy and the energy and transportation industries.
Within my professional career we may be driving plug-in and fuel-cell vehicles with an increasing share of energy derived from “alternative” sources such as biomass, wind, solar and nuclear and stored in a variety of forms such as ethanol, hydrogen and electricity. As we near tipping points in many components of these massive foundations of modern economic activity, public policy may re-form the competitive landscape. Industry players who anticipate and adapt best will flourish, and there is great opportunity for skilled people who wish to facilitate smooth and profitable transformations.
In a time of plentiful skilled labor and scarce employment opportunities, we are foolish to ignore an element of pragmatism in employment searches. The complement to cultivating opportunity where I would like to find it is a dispassionate assessment of where opportunity is more likely to open. For example, I see a cohort of baby-boomers in large organizations who have delayed retirement due to deflated retirement accounts. Although timing will be critical, positioning to refill the human capital of these organizations when the retirement flood gates open may work well.
Name: Anne Pandey
School: Cal Poly Pomina
Program of study: John T. Lyle School of Regenerative Studies
Expected graducation date: Fall 2010
The term "regenerative" describes processes that restore, renew or revitalize their own sources of energy and materials, creating sustainable systems that address the needs of society without compromising our natural resources and the integrity of nature. It's an optimistic program because of the underlying belief that our environmental problems can be solved through human innovation and creativity and with a multidisciplinary approach. My education through this program has been hands-on. One of many examples: I learned about concepts such as thermal comfort and energy efficiency in buildings by creating my own test cell.
There is a tremendous range of opportunity for my field because regenerative approaches apply to all of our human systems and permeate everything we do. Some key areas I see the greatest opportunity include:
· International development in the nonprofit sector, advancing sustainable projects in developing nations
· Working with advocacy/grassroots groups, such as Heal the Bay, Amigos de Los Rios and the Sierra Club to advance agendas
· Working in architecture firms, contractor companies, etc. on building design, supporting LEED certification efforts, installing PV systems, etc.
· Working for municipalities, transit agencies, etc. on various environmental planning issues