"The environmental studies program challenges students to think critically using a global environmental perspective. In my profession, we are constantly faced with unique and complex environmental situations, and having the ability to think critically and from different perspectives to ultimately find the best and most cost-effective solution is essential"
Persistence and Enthusiasm effectively describe Katrina Gordon before, during and after obtaining her Bachelor’s Degree in Environmental Studies at York University. While she enjoyed the sciences, Katrina found that York’s program structure exposed her to different disciplines before she selected her area of concentration.
Katrina credits the York University environmental studies program for its diversity and flexibility, saying that "the environmental studies program challenges students to think critically using a global environmental perspective. In my profession, we are constantly faced with unique and complex environmental situations, and having the ability to think critically and from different perspectives to ultimately find the best and most cost-effective solution is essential”. Furthermore, Katrina obtained group collaboration and presentation skills which effectively prepared her for the professional world. She mentions the multiple group projects she completed during her studies were an asset to her, “In the real world, you have to be able to work with others of various backgrounds and present ideas and solutions. York prepared me with the skills necessary to democratically contribute to group efforts as well as become comfortable with presenting in front of an audience”.
Katrina participated in the “Las Nubes Project” in Costa Rica – volunteering with the Las Nubes Students Association as well as taking a course in the Alexander Skutch biological corridor. The time and cost commitment to take the course made it an accessible opportunity for her. The course gave Katrina great insight on environmental management by providing her with experiential education which was complementary to her studies. “I learned so much more in those three weeks being submerged in the culture, biodiversity and politics of Costa Rica, than I did in any year long course”.
Upon graduating from the program, she continued volunteering at sustainability conferences that were coordinated by her former professor, as well as with other organizations. While it was challenging to land a dream job soon after graduating, Katrina persevered, networked, and gained a post- graduate certificate in environmental engineering which gave her a competitive edge.
Now, Katrina is an Environmental Site Assessor with Watters Environmental Group Inc. Her position is diverse, spanning various industries and her role involves soil and groundwater remediation, testing, monitoring, reporting and problem-solving.
As a graduate of the program, Katrina recommends that current and future FES students be persistent, and encourages them to be involved in extracurricular/volunteer programs while in the program, to network with graduates, find opportunities to gain practical experience, and finally to understand the value of life-long-learning. While she has graduated from her program, Katrina still looks for ways to stay up-to-date with industry changes, and continues to upgrade her skills both on and off the job.
Written By: Abigael Pamintuan
Current Job Title
- Environmental Site Assessor - Watters Environmental Group Inc.