erin vos '00
In two to three sentences, please describe what your current position entails.
I work for a small non-profit - much like the Nature Conservancy - which focuses on creating and managing nature reserves on a local basis in England. I oversee a team of 12 staff and provide strategic direction for our education and community involvement programs.
What has been your career path to date?
I spent a year as an environmental educator in Northfield, at St. Olaf's old School Nature Area Project until it closed in 2001. I then went to Duke University to complete a 2-year masters' program in coastal and marine environmental management, focusing on marine mammal conservation. While there, I won a NSF fellowship to teach science in local schools. After finishing, I took a job in Washington DC at the Marine Mammal Commission, a small federal agency where I managed a project on the effects of anthropogenic sound on marine mammals.
Which country(ies) has your work taken you to?
Canada, London, UK
How did your interest in working internationally develop?
I spent one interim abroad in Ecuador while at St. Olaf, and that got me interested. Then in graduate school my thesis project was based on work I did in Canada, in the Bay of Fundy. Later while working at the Marine Mammal Commission, I had to organize an international policy workshop in London that got me working with people from all over the world.
Which parts of your St. Olaf education best prepared you to work internationally?
The "liberal arts" mix of work helped develop the broad perspective and analytical skills that I need to be effective in understanding cultural and political differences and adjusting accordingly. I have to have a strong scientific background but also be able to analyze different policies and laws and understand history's impact on present situations.
What is the most difficult or challenging aspect about working internationally?
Being away from family!
What has been the most rewarding aspect of working internationally?
Developing great new relationships and exploring the world, seeing new places.
What does being a “global citizen” mean to you?
Being respectful of the differences - and the similarities - between cultures and recognizing that, underneath it all, people are the same everywhere.
What advice would you offer current students interested in working internationally?
Try it out! Go study abroad or get an internship that will give you some international experience. And take classes that will challenge you to see things from different perspectives.