Leveling Up: Tips and Assists for Your Post-College Game Plan

Your Nelson Institute education will prepare you for a diverse array of environmentally focused career paths. Take it to the next level by practicing your skills, building your community with environmental professionals, and learning about opportunities that will help you get ready for what’s next.

Resources and Inspiration

Career Preparation Videos

Not sure where to start on your career path? Explore the Leveling Up on-demand videos featuring Nelson Institute advisors.

Hear from Alumni

Want to learn more about the different types of environmental careers you can pursue? Explore these short videos from our alumni.

Career Preparation Videos

Whether you are just beginning your college journey or about to launch a professional career, we invite you to “level up” by attending events or viewing these short videos to help guide you on your career quest.

The Career Planning Process: Three Interconnected Parts

This short video will provide an overview of the career planning process, which includes three interconnected parts: self-awareness, exploration, and action. Building a strong foundation of understanding in these areas will not only help you to be resilient and prepared for change, but also put you firmly in control of your future as you direct and navigate your career.


Personality: Know your self

Skills, strengths, and experiences

Values: What’s important?

How to Develop Self-Awareness

A comprehensive self-assessment can provide valuable insight and is critical for determining your job preferences. Get tips and advice from Becky Ryan, undergraduate advisor.


Fine-tune your feed
Gain awareness of those doing work that excites you

Gather data
Conduct low-stakes job searches to identify keywords and organizations

Make connections
Actively make a connection to learn from people doing real work

Exploring: Steps to Discover the Right Path for You

Exploring specific organizations and jobs is critical as you consider what jobs are out there, how that fits with your in-demand skills, and where you might find new opportunities. We encourage you to start exploring jobs by following some simple steps described by Sarah Graves, EOI program coordinator.

Considering a Master’s Degree?

Learn the what, why, and how to join a professional master’s program offered through the Nelson Institute. Join Paul Robbins, dean of the Nelson Institute, for a short exploration of our professional master’s degree graduate programs. You will hear from Jim Miller, graduate advisor; Meghan Kautzer, Environmental Conservation Program coordinator; and Sarah Graves, Environmental Observation and Informatics Program coordinator.


Make a plan
Identify where you need the most focus and intention, both for your short and long-term career goals

Activate your network

Core competencies
Show what you know in your resume and interviews to make the connection between your strengths and the job qualifications

The Secret to What Employers are Looking For: Core Competencies

Competencies develop from skills, experience, and strengths. Emphasizing how your competencies match the employer’s needs will help you land that dream job. Meghan Kautzer, Environmental Conservation Program coordinator, provides tips and strategies to help you connect the dots.

Internships in the Time of COVID

Concerned about finding an internship during the pandemic? In this informative session, learn about virtual internships and other ways to build skills and experience in light of COVID-19.

Hear from Nelson Institute Alumni

Looking for inspiration? Listen to these Nelson Institute graduates talk about their career paths. Our alumni demonstrate the endless possibilities available to those working to solve our planet’s most pressing challenges.

Patricia O’Kane

Environment and Resources, 2015

2022 Alumni Award Recipient

Keefe Keeley

Agroecology (MS and PhD), 2014 and 2021

2022 Alumni Award Recipient

Maria Castillo

Environmental Studies Undergraduate Major, 2017

Finding My Way from Environmental Studies to Urban Health and Planning

Dylan Jennings

Environmental Studies Undergraduate Certificate, 2013; Current Environmental Conservation Student

Tribal Environmental Work

Leela Hazzah

Conservation Biology and Sustainable Development, 2007; Environment and Resources, 2011

Changing Conservation Norms

Emmanuel Urey

Environment and Resources, 2013 and 2018

The Promise of Land Reform

Elizabeth Bagley

Conservation Biology and Sustainable Development, 2008; Environment and Resources, 2011

Climate Solutions for the New Decade

Rich Beilfus

Water Resources Management, 1990; Land Resources, 2002

Restoring the Kafue Flats, Zambia, for People and Wildlife

Stephanie Dresen

Environmental Studies Undergraduate Major, 2015

Exploring Environmental Career Options in Your 20s

John Francis

Land Resources, 1991

Environmental Compassion

Steven Olikara

Environmental Studies Undergraduate Major, 2012

Bipartisan Environmental Action

Sabrina Scull

Environmental Conservation, 2015

Ecological Communication to Equip Our Leaders and Professionals with Quality Science

Steve Ventura

Environmental Monitoring, 1984; Land Resources, 1989

Air, Water, Food, and Community

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