Sarah grew up in Rancho Cordova, CA and found a passion for the ocean early on as she took trips to the nearby coast. She decided to attend C.S.U. Monterey Bay where she obtained her B.S. in Marine Science with a minor in mathematics. Following her experiences in Monterey, she decided she wanted to join the EPM program to earn her M.S. with a specialization in marine resources management. She hopes to move forward into the ocean conservation field aiming to bridge the gaps between science, policy, management, and the public.
You are very involved in extra-curricular activities within the program. Can you tell us a little about what you do?
I am one of the EPM social chairs, so I head the planning processes behind social events, fundraisers, and other program happenings. The ‘social committee’ (a small group of EPMers) meets regularly to organize all the details that go into these events to make sure we offer fun ways for everyone in the program to get to know each other! Some regular events that we do are a fundraisers at local restaurants, holiday potlucks, hikes, and of course the biggest event of the year… EProM. It is a fun night at the end of the year where everyone can dress up and celebrate being a part of the program! We also develop EPM merchandise for everyone to enjoy. I am also an event coordinator for the Association of Environmental Professionals at UC Davis, a chapter created by EPM students, and help plan professional development and social events for them as well!
For any students considering the EPM program, how do you think the social events affect the overall cohort experience?
I feel like social events are a perfect opportunity to not only build your professional network but to make connections with others in the program and even solidify lifelong friendships. Everyone in the program has such different interests and diverse backgrounds, so making these connections only helps you learn and grow. You spend a lot of time with everyone in courses, so social events offer a fun environment to get to know everyone better, including faculty!
If you had to choose one professional skill that the EPM program has helped you developed, what would it be and how did the program help?
I would say my communication skills have significantly improved through this program. As an initially shy person, I have been able to find my voice, have become confident in my knowledge and skillset, and now feel comfortable reaching out to professionals in my field to build my network. EPM has offered numerous resources for building these skills through seminars, developing my practicum, opportunities for networking, working on projects with other students, and simply just the day-to-day tasks of being a graduate student (So. Many. Emails.).
What type of job are you interested in pursuing once you’ve completed the program?
I am currently looking into positions at government agencies such as the California Department of Parks and Recreation and the California Coastal Commission. I am also interested in working in the NGO realm of ocean conservation. No matter the organization, I hope to find a job that addresses ocean conservation and management in California, allows me to work on a variety of projects, and has a mix of in-office, field, and outreach experiences.
What advice would you give the incoming cohort of EPM students?
You get what you give. This program offers amazing opportunities and a wonderful network of faculty and professionals so embrace it as much as possible. Graduate school can be quite the rollercoaster, but if you really apply yourself, support the program, and take advantage of the resources that are here you will be able to clearly see how much you, your professional skills, and your knowledge have grown by the end of your time here.
What is a fun fact about you?
I am multi-passionate and in turn, very entrepreneurial. Aside from my core career interests, I have a small business where I embrace my crafty side and have plans for many other ‘side’ pursuits in my life. Who knows, maybe I will combine this side of my personality with my passion for ocean conservation!