Career Pathway Experience

EMPOWER trainees use time during their graduate program to focus their research activities and collaborate with professional mentors to develop a specific line of research. Students may spend time in an internship, a field site, a national research lab, a not-for-profit agency, another university or other location, depending on the individual’s career goals.

Students may identify potential professional mentors through informal networks, the Water-Energy Nexus Seminar, recommendations of the program’s External Advisory Committee, networking at conferences, alumni, a program database of professional opportunities, and/or connections facilitated by the adviser. Ideally, the professional mentor will serve on the graduate advisory committee for the trainee, thereby fully integrating the professional collaborator with the graduate training program.

Examples of recent career pathway experiences:

• Lachlan Wright: Lockie spent 14 weeks in Houston, Texas as an
Earth Scientist with the Integrated Exploration Strategic Research
Division with the Chevron Corporation. Over the course of the summer his
team crafted a suite of deliverables that was tailored to the needs of
professionals actively working on exploration in the field. He was invited back for a second summer and returned to Houston in May 2020.• Micah Wiesner: Micah spent a month at the USGS in Moab, Utah
collaborating with research ecologist Sasha Reed. They designed a
project to explore alkalinity titration techniques in desert soils.
• Geoffrey Millard: Geoff spent two weeks at the Pacific
Northwest National Laboratory in an immersive research experience.
While on-site he conducted solid phase extractions on soil and water
samples and advanced laboratory analysis (Fourier Transform Ion
cyclotron Resonance Mass Spectroscopy). This research formed a
chapter in his Ph.D. dissertation (now completed).
• Amanda Klaben: Amanda completed a semester-long internship at
Obrien and Gere Ramboll Engineering in Syracuse, NY prior to being
hired full-time as an Engineer I immediately following completion of
her graduate training in December 2019.
• Julianne Sweeney: Julianne completed phase 2 of her experience,
a second summer internship with The Nature Conservancy in
Lander, Wyoming. While there, she participated in workshops
and lunch webinars with TNC staff and organized field work with
members of the Lander TNC office as well as the Wyoming Game
and Fish Department. She is also coordinating with the Director of
Communications at TNC to produce a fact sheet about the beaver
dam analogue research being conducted on Red Canyon Ranch. The
fact sheet is for a landowner audience to explain the construction,
maintenance and possible outcomes of beaver dam analogue stream
restoration projects.