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Common Environmental Science & Engineering Career Paths
Example employment sectors for graduates with ESE degrees include:
- Education and Research: Teaching at the high school through university level, cutting-edge environmental research at universities and government research centers
- Public Service: Environmental monitoring and analysis, operation and management of environmental facilities, administration of environmental regulations
- Engineering Consulting: Design of treatment facilities and remediation processes, investigations of pollutant transport, studies of energy efficiency and sustainability
- Industry: Evaluate and manage corporate environmental strategies and regulatory compliance
- Non-Governmental Organizations: Technical environmental projects to support the organization’s mission, public education and outreach, environmental policy advocacy
- Daniel Curran (SB, ’05), Principal, Market Strategy
“An ESE degree gives you the technical skills and interdisciplinary exposure needed to take on today’s toughest environmental challenges. My ESE degree led me directly to my first job working with Prof. Steve Wofsy’s research group studying climate change and forest growth in the Amazon rainforest. I then pivoted to the private sector at EnerNOC, a clean tech firm providing energy efficiency solutions. I leveraged my quantitative skills from ESE in a role trading energy efficiency savings in wholesale energy markets, competing against traditional fossil fuel power sources. Now, as an MBA candidate at Berkeley-Haas, the skills I developed in ESE allow me the flexibility to explore careers in numerous fields, including tech, healthcare, energy, and beyond.”
- Mary Boggs (SB, ’06), Environmental Engineer
"An ESE degree has helped prepare me for a career in designing and applying remedial solutions to environmentally-hazardous scenarios across the country. The ESE degree helped me by teaching me the science/chemistry/physics behind the air, water, and soil, as well as how to think when attempting to design the solution. I am currently employed at Weston Solutions as an environmental engineer and so far, I have participated in air quality monitoring on the Louisiana Delta in the aftermath of the Deepwater Horizon Oil Spill, the characterization of a volatile organic carbon plume in a confined aquifer underneath the Aberdeen Proving Grounds in Maryland, the cleanup of lead dust in residences in a small borough in eastern Pennsylvania, and the conduction of a chemical inventory of unknown substances found in both abandoned warehouses and existing residences. I feel I am making a difference by helping the local and national communities in cleaning up our planet and solving these complex problems."
- Alexander Paddington (AB, ’07), Management Consultant
"Since graduation I have been working in management consulting for Oliver Wyman in New York with an ESE degree, able to leverage quantitative background and branch out and work in financial services. I have focused on consulting to the largest financial services firms in the world on strategy, operational and risk concerns. I have also been able to leverage my engineering background for more quantitative projects, many involving complex Excel models including valuation of distressed RMBS and ABS securities."
- Jim Grundy (SB, '09), Remediation Consultant
"A degree from the ESE program gives you the technical background and writing skills to excel in the field of environmental remediation consulting. The focus on preparation of scientific reports and papers during the undergraduate ESE program translates well to writing of remedial specifications and regulatory reports, while the subjects learned in the ESE program give you the tools needed to solve remediation problems both in the office and in the field. The ESE program also teaches undergraduates time management and efficiency skills, which are very important skills for success in the competitive world of environmental consulting."
- Kirsten Van Fossen (SB, '12), PhD Student in Industrial Sustainability
"The ESE degree has enabled me to pursue varied environmental engineering experiences in the two years since my graduation. I spent the first year out continuing my thesis research and exploring water engineering topics with SEAS collaborators at the University of São Paulo, Brazil. After the fellowship in Brazil, I joined the Energy Analysis and Sustainability division at the Volpe National Transportation Systems Center, where I now work on projects involving alternative aviation fuels and novel transportation modes. In Autumn 2014, I will start a systems engineering graduate program at the University of Cambridge, studying how to configure environmentally sustainable systems. All along the way, I have been building on the fundamental engineering skills that I developed at Harvard—narrowing in on water filtration and water reuse in Brazil, broadening my engineering profile through my work at Volpe, and soon bringing my assorted experiences together with a systems engineering approach to advance the goal of a safe and healthy environment."
Zander Sebenius (AB, '13), Corporate Strategy Analyst
"Spending four years in the ESE department helped me to develop the passion and tools necessary to change the way that we generate and consume energy. Since graduating in 2013, I have working in the Corporate Strategy Group at Flextronics, one of the largest electronics manufacturing companies in the world. I have applied my ESE-derived knowledge about renewable energy technology to help Flextronics develop its five-year energy business plan, develop a new LED lighting business, and create a new engagement model for Flextronics to work with innovative start-ups. Moreover, the rigorous ESE curriculum has trained me to problem solve effectively and venture into unexplored areas - in both science and business - with full confidence of success"