Paul Smith’s College: Kick-start your career in the environmental sciences
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Paul Smith’s College: Kick-start your career in the environmental sciences

The demand for environmental scientists and specialists is forecasted to grow by 11 percent over the next eight years, according to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics; excellent news for students planning to pursue a degree in this field. With the imminent threat of several environmental issues like climate change and global warming, world leaders and corporations are making it their duty to combat the challenges faced by our planet.

But it’s going to take more than that to address the existing environmental threats, as former vice-president Al Gore told The Guardian; it will take everyone to “win this struggle”. You may wonder if your actions make any difference but there’s certainly an impact, be it big or small. “What you do makes a difference, and you have to decide what kind of difference you want to make,” says Dr. Jane Goodall, a primatologist.

So, if would like to do your part and help restore the planet for future generations, then an education at Paul Smith’s College will suit you well. The academic institution is a small private four-year college, located inside the boundaries of the world-famous and breathtaking Adirondacks in upstate New York. It promises students a college experience that you can’t get anywhere else based on its academic programs, faculty, and location.

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Image courtesy of Paul Smith’s College

As you can see, Paul Smith’s is really something special. The staff believe in providing students with a hands-on education that combines career training with a meaningful exploration of self, society, and the earth. With a wide range of Bachelor’s and Associate degrees on offer, Research and Interpretive Centers and an Institute, and a faculty that includes more than 50 leading professors, you’re guaranteed to receive an outstanding education experience.

“Our commitment to experiential, hands-on learning has guided us for decades. It means our students get a collegiate experience unlike any other, working with outstanding faculty in an incredible community of future leaders,” says Cathy S. Dove, President of Paul Smith’s College.

Discover Environmental Science at Paul Smith’s College

Due to its unique location, students have the opportunity to gain direct experience in field studies within the six-million-acre Adirondack Park. Surrounded by lakes, streams, and forests, the campus is a prime location to learn about ecosystems and environmental issues. The program gives students the freedom to tailor their coursework to their interests within the broad field of science and add a minor in either GIS, Chemistry, Forestry, or Environmental Communications.

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For duration of the program, students will study environmental issues relating to soil and water conservation, land use and water quality. Students also learn to analyze the data collected and present their findings through written or verbal communication. For those who love the outdoors, you’ll be thrilled to know that students participate in biological and habitat surveys of forests, lakes, wetlands and streams.

With a degree in environmental sciences, you can go on to become an environmental scientist or specialist, soil and water technician, biological technician, or even an officer of environmental compliance. You could also work for government agencies, non-governmental organizations, or private consultants.

For those with a more specific interest…

If you prefer working with living organisms, then a career in biology is something to check out. The study of Biology at Paul Smith’s College covers a diverse range of topics, including humans and other mammals, birds, amphibians, reptiles, aquatic and terrestrial invertebrates, plants, invasive species, and ancient sediments.

Students who pursue this degree will study the inner workings of living organisms as they interact with one another and with the surrounding environment. You’ll also get the rare opportunity to work on a campus that is an internationally-designated biosphere reserve, also known as the ‘Living Lab’, which contains everything from boggy wetlands to boreal forests.

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Image courtesy of Paul Smith’s College

Here, you’ll develop techniques to study everything from the ecology of a natural population to the genetic makeup of insects. Students are encouraged to study natural habitats and environmental issues first-hand, which are within walking distance of the residence halls. If you would like to study Biology with a minor, you can add either GIS, Chemistry, Forestry or Environmental Communications to your specially-tailored program.

Graduating with a Biology degree provides you with career opportunities in science education and nature interpretation. You can also work as a biodiversity researcher, conservation educator, geneticist, research biologist, environmental analyst, or a wetlands or plant ecologist.

A prestigious, specialized institute

Besides a hands-on approach to teaching in a stunning location, the College conducts powerful projects that seek to conserve and protect the natural resources in the Adirondack region. The Adirondack Watershed Institute is a facility at Paul Smith’s College, offering a range of services to the public, including invasive species management, water quality monitoring, recreational use studies, ecological studies, and a number of academic programs and publications.

Students who study an Environmental Science degree will also have the chance to participate in research, citizen outreach and hands-on stewardship to preserve water quality and manage invasive species. Through this institute, the academic staff of Paul Smith’s College have been able to enhance the educational opportunities and provide real jobs and research experiences for undergraduate students.

By allowing students to directly participate in ground-breaking research, they are able to learn and experience so much more of the natural world. And for some, it leads to co-authorship on peer-reviewed scientific papers published in academic journals such as The Holocene (or even featured on the front page of the Wall Street Journal). “It’s unusual to have an undergraduate college student become a co-author on a peer-reviewed scientific paper,” says Dr. Jay Curt Stager, a Paul Smith’s College Professor. “That’s one of the things we’re known for at Paul Smith’s, because we involve students directly in our research.”

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Image courtesy of Paul Smith’s College

With a well thought out academic program that combines the right amount of teaching, outdoor field experience, and research work, students at Paul Smith’s College are gaining more than just a degree. It’s no wonder nine out of 10 graduates find meaningful work positions, or enter graduate school, within six months of graduating.

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