Environmental Sciences Alumni Spotlight: Jeremy Evans

Each semester, the Environmental Sciences Academic Program highlight alumni who represent the diverse and involved alumni population that graduated from our program. This Fall the spotlight focuses on, Jeremy Evans.

Jeremy Evans

Name: Jeremy Evans

Graduation Year: May 2015

Focal Area: Soil Science

1. How did your experience at NC State help you find a job after graduation? What initial steps did you take when you were looking for a job?

While at NC State, I became involved with AISES, the American Indian Science and Engineering Society, which is a minority engineering program like NSBE and SHPE. Becoming involved with AISES allowed me to network with other professionals at the annual Leadership and National Conferences, along with members of the NCSU faculty, members of other STEM organizations, and professionals.

Along with becoming involved in AISES, I also applied and was hired as a student trainee for the USDA-NRCS Student Pathways program. Through this program I was able to work summers in different counties across the state for NRCS. The program placed me in Northampton, Johnston, and Wilkes counties (where I currently work full time) as a soil conservationist. This experience, along with my soil science and ES classes further assured me that I wanted a career in conservation and that I could help others make a difference, no matter how small.

I was offered a full time position with NRCS just before my graduation. 2 weeks after graduating, I moved 3 hours away from my small hometown, Hollister, NC, to North Wilkesboro, NC.

2. Did having a degree in ES and your focal area open the door to more opportunities than you initially expected?

Yes, there are so many opportunities out there. When I was a highschool student, jobs in sustainability and the environmental fields were kind of the “big” thing to go to school for. Many companies were placing a large emphasis on trying to be more ecofriendly and control their carbon footprint. My initial impression of these types of careers opening in the large corporate world was that they were meant to just tell a company what they were doing wrong, or ways to get the public to think they cared about the environment. However, attending different career fairs and talking with professionals from a wide variety of companies, I learned that there are opportunities to actually help companies conserve and protect our resources. Google, for example, does research with methane gases on a hog farm that is within my work unit. The armed forces also have careers in environmental and ag research. There are numerous possibilities and opportunities out there.

3. If you decided to not continue your education upon graduation, do you plan to return to school? If yes, what do you plan to study?

At the moment, I do not have plans to continue my education for a master’s degree, though I have considered and thought about. If I do decide to, I would like to find what I truly am most passionate about in my field, or what could benefit me. If I had to pick a top 3 of interests they would be: sustainable crop production, sustainable energy, or geology. Sustainable crop production and energy will become essential as our population continues to grow, cities continue to expand, and land for crop production deceases due to these expansions. Geology is, and always has been, a topic of interest for me. I do believe that understanding it can provide ideas and inspiration for innovation.

4. Name a class you took at State that you took the most away from?

While I did enjoy many of my classes at NC State, the one class that I believe that the one class I enjoyed and took the most away from was PS 320 U.S. Environmental Law & Politics. I enjoyed this class because knowing the different policies and acts is essential in my line of work. I have to make sure that I am not violating any of these laws, or that I get any permits necessary. The class was also pretty easy going, including the discussions.

5. While you were at State what was your biggest challenge (e.g. A class)?

Physics. The hardest class I had to take at state was physics. To me it was one of those classes that in theory, seems really straight forward as long as you pay attention to details, but applying it was usually a different story. I like to call physics, the bane of my education and senior year. My advice to everyone that takes this in the future, go to the help center, get a good study group, practice daily.

6. What major piece of advice would you give to the Freshman class?

My advice, have fun. All too often I would meet freshmen who were stressing a class or assignment. I’m not saying to not take class serious, but you have to laugh and live a little. Take a break from a tough assignment, watch a funny video, play a few rounds of Smash Bros. to relieve some stress. Do whatever it is that helps clear your head. Everyone has days that the work gets to them or that they just beat themselves up, so take that short break, clear your head, collect yourself, and tackle it again. I’ve got faith in you all.      

7. Why did you decide to be a part of the ES program? What attracted you to it?

The flexibility in the program is what attracted me to the program. I knew I wanted to be in some sort of environmental field or natural resources. The flexibility to choose from any minor for a focal area, or to create my own, was really what sold me. The entire major/topic interested me, and showed me that there was so much more than just lowering carbon emissions, renewable energy, preventing pollution. All things necessary for life connected in this major, and it showcased that.