Friday, November 14, 2008

Career advice shared with students

Graduate student Ellen Trainor chats with Steven Krohn of ExxonMobil at the career fair

According to a panel of experts at the Natural Resources, Fisheries, and Sciences Career Day Nov. 13 at UAF, the top two things employers in those areas prize are field work and excellent communication skills.

The ability to handle critters while working out of a remote camp is also a plus.

While computer skills are definitely crucial to any science position, it’s also valuable to employers to know that a person has good decision-making skills and some work experience. Charles Swanton, Alaska Department of Fish and Game, Sport Fish Division, said, “We’re looking for motivated people with strong outdoor skills, who know about fishing, boat handling and have the ability to swat mosquitoes in field camp.”

ABR’s Steve Murphy advised the students at the session to complete their master’s degrees. “That is our entry level,” he said. “We are looking for people with good field skills. If they have spent all their time in front of a computer it won’t work. They need to be able to identify plants and animals.” Strong analytical skills, computer expertise, and good writing and speaking techniques are also strongly valued, he said.

National Park Service representative Carol McIntyre echoed the importance of hands-on experience. “They can’t be hesitant to go into the wilds and work at remote camps for weeks at a time with grizzly bears nearby. I can’t overemphasize how important field skills are.”

Internship opportunities were discussed, as well as long-term careers in natural resources, fisheries, and sciences. Students interested in researching the options should contact UAF Career Services and register with UAF Career Connect (simply log in with student ID number).

Over 30 exhibitors participated in the career fair, including government agencies, private businesses, Native corporations, and educational representatives. SNRAS Director of Enrollment Management Dave Veazey manned a booth, and the statewide and collegiate FFA program was represented by Research Professional Jeff Werner.

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