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Graduation to Vocation: Solving Environmental Problems

Andrzej works at equipment

Andrzej Richardson is a recent Forest Biomaterials graduate who received his undergraduate degree in Sustainable Materials and Technology. He is a recipient of the Wood Machinery Manufacturers of America Scholarship.

Upon graduation, Andrzej began working as a Staff Scientist I at Environmental 360, a consulting firm. He will be working with pulp and paper mills all over North Carolina and Southern Virginia.

How has the College of Natural Resources impacted you and prepared you for your future?

CNR provided me with professors and peers that have encouraged me to explore my interests and be myself!

Tell us about a faculty member who influenced you.

Dr. Peralta, Dr. Peszlen and Dr. Tilotta are all great professors who care about their students and push them in class. They were always very personable, which made it easy to approach them with questions and advice about planning classes.

What is unique about you or your work?

Working for a consulting firm is unique because the work is not as routine as other positions. Our clients ask us to identify and solve problems for them which usually vary. It requires me to establish relationships and develop trust with the clients through the quality of my work and the way in which I interact with them.

What motivated you to pursue your work?

The particular type of consulting that I will be doing is 75 percent travel and almost entirely fieldwork. Through my internships, I discovered that I am not a huge fan of routine work and going into work at the same place at the same time every day. I figured that while I am young and do not have any dependents, I might as well take the opportunity to pursue a role like this.

What advice would you give students entering your major or field?

SMT is a very broad major. I would recommend pursuing technical minors or minors that you are interested in or that you see helping you secure a job after graduation. Good technical internships are a must! That is how I got my job. Make sure to network with people inside and outside your field also!