Rather than invite a panel of alumni working in environmental policy to come to campus and speak formally to students, the Environmental Studies Department and Career Planning office recently collaborated to host a more social, interactive event.
Eight alumni — plus three non-Bowdoin graduates — who are working in Maine’s environmental field attended a first-ever “Environmental Policy Meet and Greet,” held in Cram Alumni Barn. About thirty students also attended the event.Assistant Director of Career Planning Bethany Walsh said this approach can be helpful to students new to job seeking and networking. “We decided to do a networking event because we thought it would give students a chance to ask more candid questions than with a panel format, and give us the opportunity to invite more professionals to participate,” she said. “Plus, networking is a crucial component to getting a job or internship, and we wanted to give students a chance to practice while making connections with professionals in their field of interest.”
Stephanie Sun ’18 and Program Coordinator of Environmental Studies and Coastal Studies Rosie Armstrong originally came up with the idea for the theme after they noted growing student interest in environmental policy. Additionally, this semester the Environmental Studies department is offering three related classes: Environmental Law and Policy, Environmental Policy and Politic, and Environmental Economics and Policy.
Before the meet-and-greet, Walsh invited students to a 45-minute workshop to go over the fundamentals of networking. “I know that many students feel uncomfortable with networking — the word itself is a bit intimidating,” she said. “I have noticed that after students have one positive networking experience, they are more confident attending future events and engaging with professionals in general.”
To the fifteen or so students who showed up for the networking workshop, Walsh first reassured them that networking should not be a cringeworthy concept. “It’s just a fancy word for making connections and getting to know people,” she said. “If you feel comfortable talking to people, you are 99 percent there.”
She then went over the basics, such as practicing confident introductions, entering and exiting conversations with grace, and doing follow-up, such as sending thank you emails.
At the end of the workshop, Walsh asked the students how they felt as they prepared to meet the group of alumni. One answered, “Jobless and ready to mingle!”
- Maureen Drouin ’96, Maine Conservation Voters
- Eliza Huber-Weiss ’17, St. Mary’s Nutrition Center
- Sean Mahoney ’86, Conservation Law Foundation
- Elly Pepper ’05, Natural Resources Defense Council
- Emily Tucker ’15, Maine Coast Fishermen’s Association
- Suzanne Watson ’89, American Council for an Energy Efficient Economy
- Brooks Winner ’10, Island Institute
- Barry Woods ’83, ReVision Energy