Environmental Protection Specialist
Can you describe your work and how your planning degree contributes to it?
I work in the EPA's Air and Radiation Division. Current programs I promote include ENERGY STAR, Indoor Air Quality, Radon, and Asthma. My primary stakeholders include Tribal Governments and Local Municipalities. Also, I assist enforcement teams to develop supplemental environmental projects as part of a settlement.
My planning degree has contributed to my work by helping me communicate with stakeholders. The communicative action theory is part of my job every day. Furthermore, statistical analysis methods and graphic design techniques are vital to my role.
What do you like most about your current job or related work in planning?
I routinely work with community groups in promoting environmental planning principals to help save our precious environment.
What advice do you wish you had gotten as a MUPP or, conversely, what advice would you give to young planners today?
Learn as many hard skills as possible. Don't forget about GIS. It is almost mandatory that all planners come out of school knowing how to operate the program. Network, network, and more networking (it's almost another full-time job). Get involved with UPPSA and APA.
Finding a job is terribly difficult and finding a planning job is even harder. Be prepared to intern multiple times. Your master's will not guarantee anything. Last, if you enjoy planning, do not settle long-term for a non-planning job. I've seen many colleagues get out of planning and never come back.