Alumni - Where are they now?
Melissa A. Clarke '06
“The Environmental Studies program, and in particular my capstone paper on the National Environmental Policy Act (NEPA), helped convince me to pursue a career in environmental law. I have interned with the New Jersey Attorney General's Office in the Environmental Permitting and Counseling Section, and I am currently an associate at a law firm in New Jersey. Environmental litigation, with an emphasis on redevelopment and site remediation issues, is one of my practice areas. I am also the Associate Editor of the New Jersey Environmental Law Handbook, 8th edition (forthcoming 2014). Still working on my other goal -- getting to the Amazon."
Nova Clarke '96
“When I started at W&L, I wanted to be a lawyer, but the classes I took changed my mind on that. I really remember Prof. Spencer and Prof Schwab's Field Mapping and SW Geology and the road trip we took during that class. I ended up working at some of the parks we stopped at and it really made me appreciate nature even more. On the politics side, not allowed to talk about that much in my job but I did learn to look at all sides of an issue which has served me well when dealing with visitors and controversy about management. When I graduated I ended up getting an internship at White Sands National Monument in NM and worked for the National Park Service as an Interpretation ranger at 9 different parks until last year. I have had a chance to work at some amazing parks and see a lot of the country. Now I work for the US Fish and Wildlife Service where I am the Refuge Ranger/Education Specialist at Black Bayou Lake National Wildlife Refuge in Monroe, LA."
Ann Whitham Cundy '03
“I graduated in 2003 and always felt like I had a major in environmental studies, even though it wasn't officially that at the time. My interest in land use and land conservation that grew out of the courses I took through the program led me to an internship with the Valley Conservation Council and then an independent study with Sam Crickenberger, Director of Rockbridge County’s Office of Community Development, on their (still unfunded) conservation easement acquisition program. After a couple of years in Jackson Hole trying out environmental education, I decided to go back to school for urban and environmental planning at UVA. I didn't really know that urban planning was a career or possible course of study as an undergrad, but there were certainly plenty of students at UVA who did and I felt like I had a lot to learn about that discipline to catch up, although my background in environmental policy, law and philosophy from W&L were immensely helpful. I have been working as a transportation planner for over 6 years now and find it to be a fascinating field and would be happy to talk to any current students who think urban planning sounds interesting. I think it's a great discipline for anyone analytical, with good communication and people skills, but who also enjoys a somewhat creative, spatial process at times.”
Andrew Fotinos ’04 is a conservation easement stewardship specialist at the Virginia Outdoors Foundation (VOF), where he administers and stewards several hundred easement properties in the Roanoke region and areas further south. Andrew has worked in private lands conservation for about 8 years. Prior to joining VOF, Andrew worked for the Nature Conservancy in Virginia and for a brief time was involved in private lands stewardship through the Michigan Department of Natural Resources. He holds a masters in Environmental Policy and Planning from the University of Michigan. He earned his BA in Politics (along with Environmental Studies Program) from Washington and Lee in 2004. While at W&L, he was an A. Paul Knight Intern. The wonderful experience provided by the A. Paul Knight Internship Program is largely responsible for his choice to pursue land conservation as a career and initial success entering the profession.
Bryant Fulk ’08
“I worked for the USGS assessing unconventional hydrocarbon potential after graduation, then completed my MS in Geological Studies at San Diego State University. I am now an Earth Scientist for Chevron in Houston, Texas. I assess unconventional resources and execute wells in our Mid-Continent Business Unit- Delaware Basin Team.
Additionally- I am enrolled at Rice University (MBA) and I am also Chair of Student Chapter Programs for the American Association of Petroleum Geology (AAPG).
Environmental Studies at Washington and Lee University impacted my life by providing me the requisite tools to quantify goods and services provided by our Earth’s natural systems. It also taught me that some aspects of environmental goods and services cannot be assigned a monetary or nominal value. There is an inherent value that is subjective and unique to each person that experiences specific places.”
Jesse Kimball ‘02
“I am glad to hear the program has grown over the years. I really enjoyed studying environmental science/studies while at W&L. I currently work in the energy business. I run a consulting company that is focused on energy development and advisory work (http://1859advisors.com/) and an oil and gas mineral and royalty acquisition business." http://www.windsweptroyalties.com/what-we-do
Kerriann Laubach '13
"The Environmental Studies major was a huge shaping factor of my time at W&L. The interdisciplinary focus of the coursework helped to broaden my perspectives on the interrelatedness of environmental, social, and economic issues. The major provided so many opportunities for research and internships, and it was a perfect complement to both my Biology major and my minor in Poverty and Human Capability Studies. The Environmental Studies department taught me to think more holistically about the connections between social justice and science, as well as how the environment shapes every aspect of human life. The professors in the department are absolutely incredible and have been wonderful mentors throughout my time at W&L, helping me with everything from academics to extracurriculars to grad school decisions. I am now attending Washington and Lee School of Law and plan to pursue a career in environmental law."
Zach Manis ’05
“A strong connection to the environment has always been a key aspect of my life. This started young--as a child, I grew up—of all places—on a fish hatchery. My dad spent his entire career with the South Carolina Department of Natural Resources, as a warm water, freshwater hatchery manager, and so we lived on the facility from the time I was born until I went off to college.
Entering W&L, I initially thought I was going to go into law school, and so, did as many aspiring lawyers do, I majored in Politics. Somewhere along the way, though, during my freshman year, I remember walking down the hallway in Newcomb Hall and came across a flyer for ‘Study Abroad in the Amazon.’ And, I thought: how cool is that! Thus, my introduction to Environmental Studies.
I spent six months in Manaus and enjoyed the program so much that I declared environmental studies my unofficial major. I took every course I could that tied into the environment, across disciplines, and somehow found a way back into the field the following summer, in part, funded by an Environmental Studies grant. This time: Mozambique. 10 years on, I still think of these experiences. Life-changing is an understatement.
When I got back from Africa, I had the daunting task of finding a job. I was, in fact, a senior. The process of entering the ‘real world,’ as many students can attest, is both exhilarating and frightening. Trying to connect one’s interests in college with a career, or even an entry-level position, can be difficult.
I was fortunate enough, though, to connect with a fellow South Carolinian who was launching an international conservation NGO in Washington, who was in desperate need of young staff to help get the organization off the ground. It couldn’t have been more perfect. We were working at the nexus of politics and the environment, and better yet, we were focused on Latin America and Africa (at first), which gave me the opportunity to stay connected with those two continents.
In February 2006, the International Conservation Caucus Foundation (ICCF) was born. I started as Communications Director, and then eventually, as Program Director and was able to lead several missions back into the field—this time, taking U.S. Congressional Staff to see how U.S. dollars are being spent abroad in places like Costa Rica, South Africa, and Tanzania, in support of the environment. We also held regular Congressional Staff Briefings and Congressional Member Dinners that highlighted successful work being done by many of our NGO partners, including Conservation International, The Nature Conservancy, Wildlife Conservation Society and the World Wildlife Fund."
Myles Reynolds '96, partner at Vinson & Elkins LLP, practices law that focuses on representation of and associated counseling for electric utilities, natural gas utilities and midstream companies, and other energy companies regulated by state and federal government agencies, including the Public Utility Commission of Texas, the Railroad Commission of Texas, and the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission. Additionally, Myles provides clients with counseling on environmental issues in connection with potential transactions, infrastructure development and expansion, and compliance.
Matt Strickler ‘03
"The Program in Environmental Studies highlighted the connections between ecosystems and economies, and helped me understand the theory behind sound management of natural resources. People like Ken Ruscio, Jim Kahn, and Jim Casey showed me not only that I could use the skills I was developing in the natural and social sciences to analyze and improve public policy, but also how I could do it. My work in the Program led directly to my acceptance into the College of William and Mary to pursue dual masters degrees in public policy and marine science, where I wrote my thesis on the economic impacts of land use change and coastal non-point source pollution on the shellfish aquaculture industry. I then completed a one-year Knauss Marine Policy Fellowship in the NOAA Office of International Affairs in Washington, DC, before returning to Virginia where I helped pass legislation in the General Assembly to increase the use of living shoreline approaches to erosion control, reduce nutrient pollution in the Chesapeake Bay, and begin to address the challenges coastal communities face from sea level rise. I am now back in DC, and serve on the House of Representatives Committee on Natural Resources as the lead Democratic staff member for fisheries, oceans, and wildlife policy. The broad exposure the Program in Environmental Studies gave me to environmental science, law, and economics allowed me to understand resource management challenges from a number of different perspectives, and has proven invaluable in my career."
Brett Tatman '09
"Living in Atlanta, GA, I work as an underwriter for Zurich's Environmental Site Group. The role is centered around underwriting pollution liability policies that help companies in many industries navigate the ever-changing world of environmental risk, whether it's stricter government regulations, intensifying consumer concern on environmental issues, or protecting new assets. Working in industries ranging from energy production to real estate the job keeps me engaged and encourages continued personal development.
W&L's diverse Environmental Studies program fostered my broad interest in how business, governments and individuals interact with both the technical and regulatory aspects of the environmental field. The program, coupled with my BS in Business Administration, is a perfect fit for my current position."
Will Teichman ‘03 joined Kimco Realty Corporation in 2011, and currently serves as Director of Sustainability. As the largest owner of neighborhood and community shopping centers in the United States, Kimco’s portfolio includes 896 retail properties across the United States, Puerto Rico, Canada, Mexico and Latin America. In his role, Will leads the development, implementation and communication of the company’s sustainability initiatives aimed at improving the environmental and economic performance of Kimco’s shopping centers.
Prior to his current role, Will held positions in the retail and management consulting industries, developing sustainability strategies for large organizations. He was a founding member of the consultancy Clear Carbon which was acquired by Deloitte in 2010. Prior to joining Kimco, will was employed by Target Corporation in Minneapolis, MN.
Will holds an MBA from the Darden Graduate School of Business Administration at the University of Virginia, and a BA in Economics and Politics with a certificate in Environmental Studies from Washington and Lee University. He is an active member of the International Council of Shopping Centers, where he serves in an advisory capacity on several sustainability working groups.
Michael Thompson '09 lives in Los Angeles, CA, where he manages engineering and construction for commercial and utility scale power plants. He is also a candidate for a Master's of Science in Geology at California State University-Long Beach. Researching for Piatam-PetroBras in Manaus, Brazil as an ES minor is among his fondest academic experiences as a student at W&L. Michael thanks Professor Jim Kahn and the Program in Environmental Studies for fostering his knowledge and interest in sustainable energy production, which he intends to apply to developing off-grid solar systems in Latin America and improving sustainable practices for the petroleum industry.
“Through creating my own major in Environmental Economics, I was able to enjoy every class during my four years at W&L, fulfill all of the prerequisites for my post-graduate work, and enter a career in environmental consulting. I worked in DC for a consultancy for four years. My primary client was US Department of Energy, working in industrial energy efficiency.
After my four years in DC, I moved to Charlottesville, VA and began my MBA at UVA Darden School of Business. I finished my first year and am currently interning at Target Corporation in Minneapolis, MN. My work with Target is with the Health and Wellness group, trying to incorporate more organics and healthy foods in to its grocery line.
Through majoring in Environmental Economics at W&L, I have been able to follow my passion and try to better the world for future generations.”
George Walker '08
"It took me a few years to capitalize on my Environmental Studies program completion but I believe it now serves me very well to have that background as it applies to environmental stewardship and business ethics in reference to my current work with hydrocarbon extraction and water resource management. Over the last two and half years I've worked as a business development consultant working for 2 rapidly expanding clients in the Oil and Gas Industry. One client is a oilfield service and truck transportation group handling fluid logistics in unconventional shale plays throughout the US. The other client is a fire hose manufacturer that has recently commenced production of large diameter fluid transfer hose for temporary pipeline applications. Both clients work to service the needs of Exploration and Production companies extracting oil and gas from shale formations using hydraulic fracturing wherein proper fluid handling and management of water resources is essential for well economics and the health and safety of the people living and working in these areas. Exploration and Production companies view EH&S as paramount to the long term success of the entire industry and want to work with service company operators, equipment suppliers, and consultants that understand this importance above and beyond contractual obligations. I believe it benefits me greatly to have completed the program which offered me great insight to a number of topics (my favorite courses at W&L) such as climate change, geology, environmental philosophy, and economic development in Amazonas Brazil. I believe that as my career progresses I will continue to reap the benefits of this portion of my education.
Kenneth Walker '04
"I graduated from Washington and Lee in 2004 with a B.S. in Geology, although the interdisciplinary Environmental Studies program played an equally vital role in my education. The extensive coursework in science, economics, policy, philosophy, and legal issues has prepared me well since W&L. While at W&L, I also spent a summer in Idaho as an A. Paul Knight Intern at the Henry's Fork Foundation and was involved with the Outing Club.
After graduating, I spent a year as a Fulbright Scholar in Reykjavik, Iceland, where I studied the impacts of climate change on Iceland's glaciers. Upon returning to the US, I worked for a natural gas exploration and production company in Houston before receiving my M.S. in Civil and Environmental Engineering at Stanford University.
I currently work as an environmental engineer in Houston, where I focus on soil and groundwater assessment and remediation issues. I have supported small, local projects up to Superfund sites. I have also assessed storm water issues to reduce pollutants to our nation's streams and rivers. In my current role, I regularly draw upon my interdisciplinary environmental studies background to ensure that we develop scientifically sound remediation programs that are economically feasible and sustainable, while complying with applicable laws and regulations."