BA in Environmental and Sustainability Studies (CHSS)

This degree provides students with theoretical and practical knowledge of three aspects of environmental and sustainability studies: people, prosperity, and planet.

Julie Ross, 2015

Julie Ross

What work are you doing now?

As a grants management specialist at the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) in Boston, Massachusetts, I manage over 70 federal awards amounting to over 100 million dollars in federal funds. I review grant applications, and award and monitor grants. The awards cover a variety of areas related to environmental protection in the State of Vermont.

What do you like about it?

I like that the work is mission driven. At EPA, I serve the mission to protect human health and the environment. It aligns with my values and keeps me engaged. Grants management is interdisciplinary just like the Environmental and Sustainability Studies degree. I enjoy building partnerships with different grant recipients and EPA environmental programs to accomplish common goals.

How did your degree in the college prepare you to do this work? 

I employ the skills gained in Dr. Kim’s Environmental Policy courses regularly. There are new policies, laws, regulations, and other directives that take effect and need to be quickly read, analyzed, and implemented in our office. Furthermore, the sustainability, environmental justice, and environmental science concepts of the degree help me to actively check in and consider the larger implications of my actions. How can things be done more simply, concisely, and equitably to better serve our diverse communities?

What advice would you give current students about developing their careers?

Current students should consider and pursue opportunities featured on the Environmental and Sustainability Studies listserv. From the Swedish American Green Alliance research program in Sweden to the Mason Dining Real Food Challenge internship on campus, I was able to push myself through dynamic opportunities. Seek out (perhaps unpaid) internship work. In unpaid internships at state environmental agencies, I was able to gain and demonstrate a variety of skills through the leadership of strong mentors.