The EcoFellow Experience: Matt Brodeur
You’re a recent college graduate (or about to be). You’re interested in the environment but not really sure what you’re going to do next. What if you could find a job in which you receive extensive training, professional development, and career advising while also contributing real work to a mission-driven organization? Well, surprise, you found it. Consider the EcoFellowship! My name is Matt and I’m the 2016-17 Green Business EcoFellow.
I graduated from UMass Amherst last May with a degree in Political Science, certificates in Environmental Policy and International Relations, and minors in Spanish and History. During college, I grew increasingly interested in the intersection of climate change and our food system due to a few internships and classes I took. These experiences served as a great foundation to build upon as a young professional in the environmental field. They also helped affirm the type of organization that I would want to work for after I graduated – an organization that doesn’t just talk, but makes a tangible impact to improve communities.
When I first heard about the Center for EcoTechnology, and did some research, I had a strong sense that it was an organization I would like to contribute to. CET produces measurable results for the people and businesses. We assist in greenhouse gas emissions reduction, waste diverted for reuse and recycling, and dollars saved. In addition, one of CET’s areas of expertise is wasted food, a perfect example of how the food system and climate change intertwine.
The first half of the fellowship has been a balanced mix of “learning” and “doing”. The professional development opportunities and career guidance differentiates the EcoFellowship from any regular job, just as the level of work that EcoFellows are trusted with set it apart from a typical internship. Being an EcoFellow means having a support system of CET staff around you that are determined to help you become a leader in the environmental field.
One of my first tasks when I arrived at CET was making recycling options for mercury thermostats more accessible in Connecticut. I drove through countless small towns delivering recycling bins to contractors who remove thermostats from old buildings. Up until that point, most of them had never had access to an easy way to discard this toxic material safely. Right away, I was keeping mercury, a potent neurotoxin to those exposed to it, out of the environment.
I’ve also gained valuable experience working with RecyclingWorks in Massachusetts, a program through which CET helps businesses and institutions find the best opportunities for recycling, reuse, and food waste diversion. My biggest project to date has been to conduct user experience testing of the RecyclingWorks website, during which I interviewed website users to determine how to make the site more user-friendly. I conducted the interviews, tracked the results, and developed a set of recommendations which are in the process of being integrated into the site!
If you’re interested in the fellowship, you have until February 28th to apply! In addition, check the CET events calendar to see if we’re presenting about the EcoFellowship at a college near you. If you have any specific questions about the fellowship, send me an email at firstname.lastname@example.org.