The EcoFellow Experience: Morgan O’Connor
Hello! My name is Morgan O’Connor, and I am an EcoFellow at the Center for EcoTechnology. My role at CET is focused on communications and building science, but at CET you’re sure to have the opportunity to try everything!
I am a 2017 graduate of UMass Amherst Commonwealth Honors College where I majored in Natural Resources Conservation. At UMass I studied environmental issues broadly, focusing on how biological sciences, conservation efforts, and people intersect. I have worked in various positions from environmental educator to seabird biological field technician; however the EcoFellowship has allowed me to experience practical environmental efforts with a visible impact. I have always known that I wanted my job to be more than just a job, and working for people and the environment keeps me motivated to do my best.
How I Spend My Time
At CET, most of my work is in the realm of marketing and communications, which has allowed me to get to know all aspects of the organization. I have put my social media skills to good use promoting products from our reused materials store, EcoBuilding Bargains, and writing weekly educational blogs on sustainability. Whether I am filming and editing a weekly video advertisement, or creating informational materials about our services using Adobe Illustrator, I am constantly learning new skills. CET recognizes that as recent graduates, we do not always have the work experiences we want, and so our mentors take the time to teach us what we need to know to get us where we want to go. That is a rare quality to find in a position directly after graduating college. Not all of my work day is spent at a desk though, because CET wants us to have fun doing what we do. We often have amazing potlucks and go on daily walks with our coworkers. Part of what makes working at CET so great is surrounding myself with the incredible and passionate people that work here!
My Favorite Project
As the only EcoFellow assigned to working with the high performance building team, I also have received educational training opportunities in building science and energy efficiency that I previously had never been exposed to. I’ve shadowed many home energy ratings visits, sat in on important client meetings and proposed business solutions. Learning about business development in the context of environmental good has opened up new potential pathways for me that I hadn’t considered before. I appreciate the creativity and solutions-focused approach of business, and it has been fun to learn about a field entirely new to me all while helping people save money and reduce energy consumption!
We are also encouraged to seek out exploratory career opportunities. CET plans professional development tours for us at a variety of local exemplary environmental projects like net zero homes, compost processing facilities, and municipal recycling centers, but I also had the opportunity to design my own professional development. In the past few months I have attended the International Conference on Sustainable Development in NYC, the Greenbuild Expo in Boston, and hope to attend another on environmental justice in Washington, D.C. I also have engaged in informational talks with other professionals and shadowed a podcast producer at New England Public Radio. These are examples of what I have found interesting and been encouraged to explore, but every EcoFellow’s experience has been unique to them.
I have completed almost six months of my fellowship at this point, and I am so grateful to have had this opportunity. I feel like I have already done so much, but that there is still so much more to do in the remaining months! I look forward to telling you all about my adventures as an EcoFellow!
Applications for EcoFellowship class of 2018-2019 are open now! Apply today!