Personal Reflection: Danielle

Soil conservation is an incredibly important topic that many people do not think about. It is said that if unsustainable commercial farming practices are maintained, topsoil will be completely depleted in 150 years. A well-balanced soil ecosystem full of nutrients is key to ensuring that future generations can enjoy healthy, organic food. Going into depth about this topic through the CT RC&D Youth Conservation Leadership internship led by Jillian Shea has opened my eyes to this world and inspired me to potentially pursue a career in this field.

Since the Spring of 2018, I have been an Environmental Earth Science major at Eastern Connecticut State University and will be graduating with the class of 2021. My major focuses on hard-rock geology, with influences of geomorphology. It has taken me to Wyoming on a field course, and Block Island for a practicum examining coastal change. The science of surficial landforms and soil have always been my main interest, which is why I was excited to pursue the internship. As a 23-year-old college student, I know what interests me, but I am overwhelmed by the immense possibilities the world has to offer. Therefore, the career assignment from week 5 was extremely helpful in homing in on potential opportunities in soil conservation that could expand my life in ways I didn’t think possible.

This assignment required that I create a strong resume, something I had limited experience in. Of course, I had created some in the past to keep track of my educational accomplishments, but I didn’t know how to showcase my skills in a way that would capture employer’s attention. A one on one meeting with Jillian helped me understand what I could do to alter my resume in an appealing way. I remember she told me to highlight specific skills I never thought to include on a resume: hiking experience, plant identification skills, and specific GIS/remote sensing projects done at school. Adding these things helped my resume feel truer to myself.

This assignment also pushed me to search for actual soil conservation jobs around the country, one of which I would write a cover letter for. This task was very daunting at first but I quickly realized how many opportunities are out there waiting for me to grab. One of the entry-level soil conservation jobs was in Montana, and even offered assistance in achieving a graduate level degree in the field. The job description mentioned that horseback riding and hiking were skills that would enhance the experience, a unique detail that surprised and excited me. As someone who would prefer to work outdoors, it was fascinating to see how adventurous a job in this field can be. Overall, this assignment provided me with a tremendous amount of insight to a future in soil conservation, and I can easily see myself working towards a more sustainable future surrounded by like-minded individuals.