Meet Michael Terner, the Executive Vice President and a founding partner of Applied Geographics who is also a Tufts Alumni. Michael Terner graduated Tufts with a major in Environmental Studies, and came back to enlighten us about the career opportunities in the GIS industry.
At the Lunch & Learn last week, Terner talked about the full emergence of cloud technology and his outlook of GIS and mapping application on mobile devices. He discussed and described the current market conditions of the technologies behind the big wave of innovation occurring right now. After his talk, Mr. Terner met with a group of students to discuss career paths. These are some of the questions he addressed:
What are your thoughts about going to grad school?
I went straight into the workforce after receiving my Bachelor’s degree from Tufts. I think going to grad school will only be helpful if you are certain about what you really want to do. Otherwise, there are more benefits in experiencing other things in the world. Working had really opened up a new perspective of career fields in the environmental industries for me. In order to get what you really want from grad school, I think it would be better to experience the world first.
Do a lot of environmental companies now use GIS?
Nowadays, smaller companies outsource GIS and large companies own separate teams for GIS. Thus, the short answer is, yes, many companies use GIS.
What is the most rewarding aspect of your job?
The most rewarding aspect of his job as a GIS consultant is variety. There is an incredible diversity in terms of sectors that I work with but also within the projects. Project diversity ranges from designing, to data analysis and programming. Another rewarding aspect of my job is being able to monitor the projects from their initiation to completion stages. I also really enjoy learning something new from every project by resolving problems from the beginning to the end.
What are some qualities that you look for when recruiting interns at your company, in students that don’t have any programming experience?
Even though a student may not have experience in programming, I would say that knowing what you can do with GIS is extremely important. Students interested in developing a career at a GIS company who do not have programming backgrounds should still understand how to design a project using GIS. Some questions worth asking would be: What can you do with the technology? What will the end result look like? In order to work in the GIS field, I’d say that he or she does not have to be a GIS person, but what is more important is to know the GIS business landscape. This knowledge about GIS will be an important asset when looking for jobs in the environmental industry.
Are there any opportunities for students who are good at communication?
There will be more communications opportunities at companies where GIS is a component. Project manager positions would be specifically good matches for students interested in the communication side of our industry. However, it would be hard to find roles that are completely devoid of technical skills. I would strongly encourage the students to at least understand the technology.
Meet Rebecca Ray, Research Fellow at Global Economic Governance Initiative and co-author of the eye-opening report, China in Latin America: Lessons for South-South Cooperation and Sustainable Development.
Rebecca Ray spoke at the Environmental Studies Lunch and Learn series about the effect of Chinese economic activities on Latin America. According to Ray, China has been the key influencer of the recent social and environmental changes. Ray’s research not only encompasses the societal impact of Chinese economic activity, but also measures the current and potential environmental implications of Chinese investment in Latin America. Her research focuses on the increasing China’s share of LAC exports over time, environmental impacts of exports to China compared to all other countries, decreasing rate in job creation and the risk that Chinese investment casts on many indigenous peoples and biodiversity.
Rebecca Ray’s career path
After receiving her undergraduate degree in 2000, Rebecca worked in the “Think Tank” world in Washington D.C. for 8 years. Ray received her master’s degree at the Elliot School of International Development Studies at George Washington University, where she got to experience the convoluted world of international aid first handedly. Finding out about the different types of power struggles within the government and civil society and observing situations where money gets spent but nothing happens and no one knows that nothing happened, she found herself more attracted to the topic of how to make the voices of civil societies heard. Therefore, she jumped into this multi-year project at GEGI, coordinating 8 countries that specifically look at the governing of international investors and establishing policy space. She stated that she feels privileged to be able to work directly with the funders and with colleagues from all over the hemisphere.
Tips for students interested in environmental policy and activism?
For Tufts students who are interested in pursuing at path in environmental policy implementation and environmental activism, Ray recommended that they really brainstorm on whether they want to go into academia to become a professor or into the field to work on issues of advocacy and consulting. Ray stressed the importance of field work experience for both fields, as she recalled her experience at George Washington University. She stated that her experience working in the field before going into GWU made her a more active and attractive student who understood what she wanted from the program.
Ray also recommended students to follow organizations that are in the field working on issues of their interests on social media. According to Ray, following these organizations can not only enlighten students about who the most influential organizational and individual actors, but also can give students a better sense of where they want to be “plugged into.” She emphasized the importance of familiarizing oneself with the community (organizations) as consumers by following them on social media, because it will help students to find mentors in the community more easily.
Watch Rebecca’s talk here
Opportunity for a short-term, part-time position helping them read and evaluate applications for their Sustainable Ag Scholarship. The position would start within the next month and go through early summer, consisting of about 120 hours of (paid) work. It would be perfect for a grad student for recent graduate with knowledge about biological systems.
Teaching Assistants needed for 10-week summer course at the University
of Notre Dame Environmental Research Center (UNDERC) in northern
Wisconsin and the Michigan Upper Peninsula. This undergraduate course,
Practicum in Environmental Field Biology, runs from May 16 July 22,
2016. The course includes both teaching and research components to
educate 28 sophomore and junior undergraduate students. The teaching
component is broken up into 4 week-long modules (Vertebrate Ecology,
Aquatic Ecology, Insect Ecology, and Forest Ecology), taught by
instructors from the University of Notre Dame and other collaborating
universities. Students also work with mentors and TAs to design and
carry out independent ecological research projects. See UNDERC¹s web
page for specifics about the course: http://underc.nd.edu/underc-
TA will work to assist professors during each teaching module, as well
as provide guidance on a daily basis to enrolled students.
Additionally, the TA will directly mentor 1-2 student projects during
the summer. The project topics will be directed towards the mentor¹s
strengths in ecology (e.g., herpetology, mammalogy, forestry,
entomology, limnology, etc.).
Modern apartment-style housing will be provided at no cost at UNDERC.
Field vehicles provided throughout the course. Other amenities (24-hr
computer lab, wireless internet access in apartments, free laundry
facilities) are accessible on property.
Qualifications: M.S. in Ecology or related field is preferred, but B.S.
in Ecology plus 1 year post-graduate work experience in teaching or
biological research may substitute. Basic knowledge of 4 modules (listed
above) and univariate statistics preferred. If applicable, please
include a list of relevant coursework you have completed.
Salary is negotiable, based on level of experience. Minimum $5000 for
the class (10 weeks).
Please submit cover letter (including topics of potential independent
projects), CV/resume, and the contact information for three references
(e-mail submission preferred) to:
Dr. Michael J. Cramer
Assistant Director, East
Environmental Research Center
University of Notre Dame
Notre Dame, IN 46556
Review of applications will begin 1 March 2016, and continue until the
position is filled.
Summer 2016 (Monday, May 16 Friday, August 19)
Location: 6 positions in State College, PA and 4 positions in
Pay: 40 hrs/week at $11/hr. Field vehicle and housing assistance also
Duties: Find and monument permanent forest inventory plots using GPS and
other tools; identify and quantify the size and abundance of overstory
and understory plants on permanent plots; and collect, record and
Key qualifications: At least two years toward a natural resources
baccalaureate degree; demonstrated plant identification skills (as
evidenced by a course in plant ID, such as dendrology, and/or field
experience collecting vegetation data); ability to work independently
and reliably without direct supervision in challenging field conditions;
and possession of a valid driver¹s license.
Questions: Contact Danielle Begley-Miller at email@example.com.
Application deadline: Applications reviewed as received.
To apply: Send a letter, résumé, transcripts, and contact information
for three references (via email preferred). At least one reference
should be able to comment on your plant identification skills:
Email applications to:
Bobbi Jo Scovern, Administrative Support Assistant
Pennsylvania Cooperative Fish and Wildlife Research Unit
419 Forest Resources Building
University Park, PA 16802
GENERAL JOB DESCRIPTION
Research assistant for the Thunder Basin Prairie Ecosystem Association
(TBGPEA). TBGPEA is a non-profit organization established to provide
landowner leadership in developing a responsible, science-based approach to
long-term management of the lands of its members. Over the last ten years
the Association has focused its efforts on developing ecosystem-based
conservation measures. These measures are designed to address the habitat
needs of species of concern in northeastern Wyoming in balance with the
for sustainable economic and social activities and preservation of cultural
TBGPEA is collaborating with the USDA-ARS Rangeland Resources Research Unit
(RRRU) to develop new knowledge about ecological processes in Thunder Basin
and apply this knowledge to improved management for production and
conservation objectives. The Research Assistant will be supervised by the
Board of TBGPEA with input from RRRU scientists. The Assistant will be
responsible for collecting scientific data from field experiments to
evaluate how climate, fire, soils, grazing management, and global change
affect ecological phases, states, transitions and thresholds in semi-arid
rangeland ecosystems. If time permits, the Assistant may help evaluate
Association member¹s property as part of the Candidate Conservation
Agreement with Assurances implementation.
Location of work: Thunder Basin National Grassland, Bill, WY
Hours of work: 40 hours per week (4 x 10 hour days per week)
Salary: $2,400 per month, housing is provided
Dates: May 23 – August 19, 2016
Send application materials (cover letter, resume, references) and/or
Thunder Basin Grasslands Prairie Ecosystem Association
671 Steinle Rd
Douglas, WY 82633
and copy to:
Rangeland Resources Research Unit
1701 Centre Ave.
Fort Collins, CO 80526 USA
Collects soil, vegetation, and ornithological data and is responsible for
quality assurance/quality control of data collected. Keeps exact, detailed
records of experimental data. Provides data in an appropriate format for
incorporation into computer spreadsheets. Makes and records observations of
unusual happenings, phenomena or trends that might influence interpretation
of plot or field data.
Manages fieldwork program semi-autonomously; takes responsibility for
solving problems and adapting to current conditions and events without
Operates, maintains, cleans, repairs and constructs equipment used in plot
and field experiments including, but not limited to, vehicles and field
If time permits, the Assistant may participate in the development of
livestock grazing management plans and may also collect small mammal data
part of the Association¹s focus on black-tailed prairie dog and potential
black-footed ferret habitat.
Ensures that all safety and environmental concerns are addressed to provide
a safe work environment, and that activities in support of research in the
Thunder Basin do not pose an environmental threat.
Technical knowledge of plant taxonomy, structure and function of plant
communities, and theory and practice of rangeland management, and a
familiarity with the methods of biological sciences such as biology,
chemistry, botany, etc, in order to participate responsibly in most phases
of the experimental process.
Experience with bird and/or small mammal wildlife survey techniques is
Ability to do efficient and high-quality work without direct supervision.
Ability to proactively solve problems and manage tasks adaptively in order
to get the job done on time.
Skill in the use of personal computers to utilized software packages such
as: word processing, data entry and manipulation in spreadsheets (e.g.,
Communication skills necessary to follow directions precisely and produce
positive interactions with scientists, research personnel, and the general
Knowledge of range science, soil science, general biology and ecology.
Practical knowledge of general vehicle maintenance and repair. Knowledge of
safe operating procedures when using equipment or vehicles. Knowledge of
operation and safety is beneficial.
Practical knowledge of livestock management and nutrition for use in
development of livestock grazing management plans.
Personal contacts are broad including TBGPEA members; scientists,
technicians and graduate students from other institutions or other federal
agencies; action agencies; non-governmental organizations; vendors and
contractors; state or local government entities; visitors and the general
Personal contacts within the RRRU involve support and assistance to
scientists and support staff. The purpose of personal contacts is to
mutually accomplish technical and support work; assist in planning and
coordinating work efforts; discuss technical requirements of equipment with
manufacturers and resolve problems concerning the work or the peculiar
of the organization; coordinate help with other research projects; exchange
information about research techniques; obtain supplies and equipment
The work requires standing, walking, bending and lifting of objects
as much as 50 pounds. Certain phases of the work require extended (such as
most of a work day) periods of standing or sitting while accomplishing
detailed experimental procedures. Some procedures require stamina and
endurance. Need to have the physical capability to perform required duties
without hazard to self or others when working with machinery, cattle,
horses, fire or chemicals.
The job is located in a remote part of NE Wyoming. The work environment is
about 85% in the field and 15% in the shop or office. The work involves
regular and recurring moderate risks or discomforts which require special
safety precautions, e.g., working outdoors. Throughout the year, the person
may encounter belligerent livestock, insects, dust and extremes of weather.
The person is required to wear protective clothing (e.g., coats, boots,
goggles, gloves, and respirator) as conditions warrant.
The Stephens Wildland Fire Lab is seeking employees to assist with field preparations and work in Yosemite & Kings National Parks. Field work focuses on hydrology, fire ecology, & forestry. The application period is from 1/20/2016 to 2/20/2016. Interviews will occur between 1/20/2016 and 3/1/2016 and will continue until three applicants are selected. Employees will be selected by 3/1/2016. Please send cover letter and resume to Kate.Wilkin@berkeley.edu. While UC Berkeley undergraduates are preferred, others will also be considered.
Project begins: Spring 2016
Project lasts 1-2 semesters
Student Positions Available: 2-3
Salary: $15 to 18 / hour
Location: Berkeley, CA and backcountry of Yosemite & Kings National Park
Stephens Lab: Research and Education in Wildland Fire Sciences
Division of Ecosystem Science
Environmental Science, Policy, and Management Department
University of California at Berkeley
The Spatial Community Ecology Laboratory at Utah State University is
seeking M.Sc applicants to undertake research in the field of freshwater
community ecology. Current areas of interest include 1) The
evolutionary responses of mosquitoes to pesticide contamination. 2)
Understanding the relationships between habitat condition, aquatic
community health, and ecosystem function. 3) Can distributions of
aquatic insects inform conservation decisions? Candidates with other
specific research interests are encouraged to suggest projects in their
The successful candidate will have access to a well-equipped laboratory,
and Utah State University’s nearby outdoor Aquatic Research Facility
that houses mesocosms and experimental ponds. In addition the position
will likely included an extended field trip to Costa Rica (~2 months). A
knowledge of the statistical programming package R, and/or ArcGIS, and
conversational ability in Spanish will be looked upon favorably.
Candidates should be reasonably physically fit, and be able to carry a
40lb backpack 1 mile.
Utah State University (http://www.usu.edu) is a Research I (Extensive
Doctoral) land-grant institution with a student body of over 24,000, 42
departments, 8 academic colleges, a school of Graduate Studies, and
diverse research programs. The main campus is located in Logan, a
community of 100,000 people. Logan is 85 miles north of Salt Lake City
in scenic Cache Valley, a semi-rural mountain basin with nearby ski
resorts, lakes, rivers, and mountains providing many recreational
opportunities. The area has a low cost of living and provides a high
quality of life. For more information on Logan see
Initial funding for tuition and salary has been secured. Candidates are
strongly encouraged to apply for external fellowships through the NSF
and other sources, and internal fellowships at Utah State
http://rgs.usu.edu/graduateschool/finances/funding-available-to-graduate-students). Candidates will be provided extensive support with
the application process. Starting salaries are $18,000 for a Masters
student, and $20,000 for a PhD.
Please contact Edd Hammill (firstname.lastname@example.org, 435 265 5964) for more
information or to submit application materials (CV, cover letter, any
publications, details of their research interests). Initial review of
applications will begin Dec 15th 2015.
Edd Hammill’s google scholar page –