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Graduate testimonial: Amanda Noel, '11

Amanda Noel

Degree completed:

Bachelor of Arts in Environmental Studies, Columbia College Day Campus.  

Pursuing the Master of Science in Environmental Education from Southern Oregon University in Ashland, Ore.

Extracurricular activities at Columbia College:

Member, Sustainability Committee; member, Science Club; member, Sigma Zeta; member, Lambda Pi Eta; editor and reporter for "The Columbian" student newspaper; participant, intramural sports.

Employer name:

Bureau of Land Management Butte Falls Resource Area Environmental Education Program, Medford, Ore.

Position title:

Recreation technician. 

What do you do in that position?

One of my responsibilities is leading hikes for the Bureau of Land Management (BLM) Table Rocks Environmental Education Program. The Upper and Lower Table Rocks are two of the most prominent topographic features in the Rogue Valley in southwestern Oregon. These flat-topped buttes with 800-foot vertical cliff faces are home to a variety of protected plant and animal species. Each spring, our education crew hosts more than 4,600 school children, teachers, parents and other participating groups on guided hikes to the summit of the Upper and Lower Table Rocks. We also provide in-class presentations and regional natural history information for public events. 

This summer I joined a trail crew that works throughout the BLM’s Medford District of southwestern Oregon, which includes sections of the Pacific Crest Trail that extends through California, Oregon and Washington. As a trail crew member, I constructed and maintained trails with the assistance of nonprofit groups including the Northwest Youth Corps and the Job Council for Oregon’s Jackson County.  

Currently I am assisting with environmental education programs at the BLM’s scenic McGregor Park about 30 miles northeast of Medford, Ore., where I lead participants through interactive educational stations with presentations, illustrative kits and hikes. Environmental education topics include salmon lifecycles, forest management, fire ecology, wildlife biology, American Indian history and culture, and botany.

How is that experience?

My experience working at the Bureau of Land Management has been a rich and rewarding endeavor. Nothing beats hiking for work every day and I am able to see direct results of my hard work through the delight of children when they reach the summit of one of the Table Rocks, or see salmon spawning in the Rogue River for the first time. In addition to teaching young people to enjoy and respect the outdoors, I’m also learning how to build and maintain trails for future generations to enjoy the diverse biology and geology of this region.  

What have you learned?

I have gained a wealth of knowledge about the natural and cultural history of this area, and I get to share that knowledge with the thousands of visitors who explore the parks where I lead hikes and maintain trails. The education I gained from Columbia College laid the foundation for my internships and graduate coursework, which will help me pursue a successful career as an environmental educator.   

What Grossnickle Career Services Center resources did you utilize?

The Grossnickle Career Services Center staff helped me develop my resume, cover letter and interviewing skills during my final semester at Columbia College. The staff also has been helpful after graduation by giving me advice as to what potential employers may ask during interviews. I also attended Columbia College’s career fair where I met a representative from the Big Muddy National Fish and Wildlife Refuge in Columbia, Mo., and consequently gained a student position at the refuge that I held throughout my undergraduate career.   

What would you tell other students about your experience with the Grossnickle Career Services Center?

If it hadn’t been for the opportunities provided by the Grossnickle Career Services Center, I might not be where I am today. With the center’s help, I gained valuable student employment and internships that led me down my current career path. The skills I gained from the workshops offered by the Grossnickle Career Services Center have helped me become more competitive in my field, which will help me land a permanent position as an environmental educator in the future. I advise all Columbia College students to take full advantage of the resources the Grossnickle Career Services Center has to offer—you won’t be disappointed! 

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