Catherine Bartenstein (’12) now works on stormwater management for Marietta, Georgia. The interview found below was conducted just after she graduated from Sewanee.
Q: How did you maximize your time and resources at Sewanee to get to where you are now?
A: I used Career Services starting from my freshmen year. Lisa Howick was amazing and was always around to help me with my resume, with contacting alumni, with whatever I needed. Without her, I would have never had the range of experiences outside of school that prepared me for leaving the Mountain. The professors were also an amazing resource and the knowledge I gained from them both in class and out of it helped me prepare for graduate school. I did my best to not miss class, to keep up with the material, and to get more out of it than just memorizing for a test. I also spent a lot of time outdoors. Sewanee's campus was one of the most unique resources offered. Whenever school work gets too stressful, a quick hike was the perfect thing to clear my mind. I could never say enough about the fantastic professors and places in Sewanee.
Q: Briefly describe your work since graduation and thoughts for the future.
A: I am still in the early stages of my thesis, which is going to be focused on the Endangered Species Act. I will be critiquing its weak areas and examining the areas in which it is strong. I will also be looking at case studies in the Etowah River Habitat Conservation Plan and in the Apalachicola/Chattahoochee/Flint River Basin, each of which have been the subject of tremendous controversy in which endangered species have played a role. Other than that, I am a research assistant for Laurie Fowler, a Sewanee alumna and professor/associate dean at the Odum School of Ecology at UGA. I do not have specific plans for the future yet, but I hope to be doing something that bridges the gap between politicians and scientists- a gap which desperately needs filling.
Q: What are your thoughts/recommendations for students who aspire to major in Environmental Policy?
A: As for thoughts for future environmental policy students, be prepared for a frustrating, but exciting, career. There has never been a more urgent need for environmental experts of all kinds, but I feel like the need for those that can relate to politicians is even greater given the political tensions concerning the environment. We need people that can explain the issues in a non-partisan way and in jargon that politicians will understand.