"The Bachelor in Environmental Studies program at York was a perfect fit for my interests...If it weren’t for the internship program, I probably wouldn’t be in the same place right now."
In his grade 12 World Issues class, James Marzotto was inspired by his teacher to not only discuss global problems but to, take action. As a result, he decided to research post-secondary opportunities that would provide him with just that. During his search, Marzotto stumbled across the Bachelor in Environmental Studies program [at York] and found that it was “a perfect fit for [his] interests”.
While in the BES, Marzotto was able to learn fundamental critical thinking skills and action based strategies to make change in the real world, on both the local and global levels. As he explored options within the program, he credits two major degree choices that were instrumental in launching his career. First, he chose to pursue Environmental Management as his key area of concentration and add the certificate in Geographic Information Systems to his focus – a toolkit of systems thinking and data analysis that he uses every day in his current employment.
The second life changing decision for Marzotto was undoubtedly opting into the York University Internship Program. “If it weren’t for the internship program, I probably wouldn’t be in the same place right now.”
York offers a number of internships that are embedded within different programs and departments. In FES, this option is available to environmental studies students through the BES Work Placement Course – a course based employment option that includes a work placement and credits towards a student’s degree. Realizing the advantage real work experience would afford him, Marzotto completed an internship every summer throughout his undergraduate program – with companies such as PowerStream and the City of Toronto.
Now, Marzotto works as a senior manager for site origination at Moose Power, a developer of renewable energy projects. In his role, he secures large-scale solar projects throughout North America. After locating potential sites, he reaches out to property owners to negotiate access rights and lease agreements in order to build solar projects. His work is very collaborative and includes stakeholders such as landlords, developers, engineers, procurement officers, and construction personnel. He also works closely with government bodies to make sure sites are up to regulation.
Although his job requires him to wear many hats, he particularly loves the sales aspect of his role along with its tangible results. “I get a rush from getting an agreement signed that benefits everyone and seeing things in the project management world progress – seeing results. I really like it because it’s tangible. I’m not just pushing documents; at the end of the day, I can see something that gets built and implemented and something that’s good for the world.”
Marzotto values self-reflection, hard work, and action. “When you’re considering career pathways, understand what you’re good at and what your strengths and weaknesses are – don’t worry so much about the weaknesses, focus on your strengths. Find out what you enjoy to do. Find out what’s in demand in the job market and be realistic with what you’re going to do. Once you’ve figured all of that out, it’s about developing a salesperson mindset, being social, having a goal to send resumes every day, and attending networking events”.
His advice to current students is humbling and a testament to the success personal drive will get you. In the transition period between graduation and finding employment, “have a salesperson mindset” – the world does not owe you a job after school, you still need to work hard and learn how to present yourself.
Current Job Title
- Senior Manager – Site Origination, Moose Power