Event Recap: Net(WORK)ed Environment, Energy, and Sustainability

Students in the Environment, Energy, and Sustainability Career Community had the opportunity to hear from a panel of four alumni with a diverse array of career experience in order to gain advice as to what is to come after the degree. During the session, our panelists made it quite clear that the classes they took at O’Neill inevitably gave them the skills, knowledge, and tools needed to be successful within their current roles.

This panel included the following alumni:

Hova Woods (MPA ’01) – Managing Director, Environmental Planner @ ICF

Cory Shumate (MPA/MSES ’18) – Staff Scientist @ Metric Environmental

Wes Hauser (MPA/MSES ’18) – Wetlands, Lakes, and Streams Project Manager @ Indiana Department of Environmental Management (IDEM)

Ethan Horvath (MPA ’17) – Environmental Analyst @ SAIC

Should I focus my courses on one area or concentration or add more variety?

One topic that was brought up was the material and coursework they had the opportunity to study during their time at IU which directly translated to the workforce. While it is important to focus your studies and specialize in an area, our panelists stress taking advantage of the variation in courses that O’Neill has to offer. In other words, take a diverse array of courses in order to broaden your industry and field-related knowledge. As Cory Shumate (MPA/MSES ’18) put it, “Better to know a wide range of the ocean, than just straight to the bottom!”

How do I network for a career in the Environment, Energy, and Sustainability community?

Networking is an important skill to have when searching for a job or internship in any industry, and the advice our panelists had to offer is quite applicable across all career communities. All of them stated the importance of reaching out to alumni, experts in the industry, or someone that shares the same interests as you. This can be done by utilizing the alumni search function on LinkedIn, crafting a professionally worded e-mail, or even picking up the phone and making a cold call (Don’t be afraid to pick up your phone and dial their number!)

Speaking specifically to the Environment, Energy, and Sustainability community, one of our panelists, Ethan Horvath (MPA ’17), made sure to point out that finding an internship was a key point in beginning his career. Sometimes, networking involves getting your foot in the door in order to create new experiences. Ethan shared with us how after 2 months of being hired as an intern, he was invited to join the organization as a full-time employee, so do not underestimate the power of internships in the workforce. Internships allow you to learn from an organization, as well as see if you truly want to


On behalf of the O’Neill School, a huge thanks goes out to these alumni for coming back and sharing their experiences with us. As a student myself, it was inspiring to hear their advice and see how each of them are leading for the greater good in different ways.

By Joshua Bender
Joshua Bender