My summer as a USFWS STEP employee proved to be an amazing experience! I was given the opportunity to work on multiple field and public outreach projects, job-shadow biologists and technicians, and gain important on-the-job experiences. In addition, this position enabled me to earn my final upper division sciences credits via independent study with The Evergreen State College. With my undergraduate degree in Environmental Science and Stream Ecology under my belt, as well as my newly updated resume, I am now in a great position to compete for future employment opportunities in conservation science.
Since my STEP position with the Washington Fish & Wildlife Office Fisheries Division (USFWS), I have been exploring work opportunities in fisheries, forestry, and plants, as well as public education and outreach work. With more work experience, I plan to develop existing skills, gain new experience, and explore potential areas of focus for a master’s project. The sky is the limit as I have the flexibility to move to different places in order to achieve these goals. In addition to looking for employment, I have been making myself available as a volunteer to the USFWS and the local Stream Team. The Chehalis Watershed Festival, for example, was a great volunteer experience as it allowed me to give back to the USFWS and the community while further honing my outreach skills.
My long-term goal will be to pursue a Master’s of Science degree focused on ecological conservation and restoration. This degree will be the culmination of my training toward becoming a professional biologist. My STEP position was an important stage in this journey and I feel that from the knowledge and experiences gained, I am ready for my future educational and career pursuits.