En­vi­ron­men­tal Science at SMU: A chance to save the world

The need for welle­d­u­cated ad­vo­cates is higher than ever

The Coast - Career Minded - - SPONSOR CONTENT -

Christa Skin­ner loves the out­doors—and work­ing in the mud—and so her job with En­vi­ron­ment and Cli­mate Change Canada (ECCC) couldn’t be a bet­ter match for her.

First drawn to the field by a Saint Mary’s University sem­i­nar about En­vi­ron­men­tal Science at her high school, Christa was in­spired to choose a pro­gram that would em­power her with tools to help pro­tect the en­vi­ron­ment and make a dif­fer­ence in the world.

Christa found that small classes sizes at Saint Mary’s al­lowed her to get to know all of her pro­fes­sors, and thanks to those close re­la­tion­ships, she was able to gain valu­able ex­pe­ri­ence work­ing in a pro­fes­sor’s re­search lab dur­ing her un­der­grad­u­ate de­gree.

Driven by her in­ter­est in en­vi­ron­men­tal restora­tion and re­me­di­a­tion projects, Christa pur­sued work in a sed­i­ment re­search lab that was part­nered with a salt marsh restora­tion com­pany.

“I was able to com­plete three work terms with them over the sum­mer months and com­plete my cour­ses in the fall and win­ter,” says Christa when asked about bal­anc­ing work and school. “It was a per­fect fit. I wanted to pur­sue more re­search with salt marsh restora­tion and soil chem­istry, which ben­e­fit­ted the com­pany and our re­search team.”

Af­ter com­plet­ing her Bach­e­lor of Science de­gree with Honours in En­vi­ron­men­tal Science, Christa went on to com­plete a Mas­ter of Ap­plied Science at Saint Mary’s. Her pro­gram paired her with a co-op job with ECCC, work­ing with ma­rine pro­grams is­su­ing per­mits for dis­posal at sea.

In ad­di­tion to gain­ing solid tech­ni­cal skills, Christa’s time at Saint Mary’s helped her de­velop soft skills that are in­valu­able in a work en­vi­ron­ment, in­clud­ing the abil­ity to be proac­tive and take ini­tia­tive. In her co-op pro­gram she “treated ev­ery day like a job in­ter­view,” net­work­ing with peo­ple in her field. This led to her se­cur­ing her cur­rent em­ploy­ment po­si­tion, where she and her team in ECCC’s En­vi­ron­men­tal Pro­tec­tion Branch are a lit­tle closer to sav­ing the world.

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