So what do students do with their degree?

For most of us grad students, there is no question that the degree is important. But if you’re like me at all, the end of the road is a bit unclear. Don’t we have at least one or two years to figure out what we actually want to do with the degree? I will be graduating in May (hopefully), and I still haven’t quite figured that out. So here are two stories of what MES students are doing with their degrees. Maybe they will provide a little inspiration for those of us trying to find our way!

Rachel Herold is working on her MES internship project with the Charleston County Parks:

I am in my last semester of the MES program, and my Masters project was to develop curricula and guidelines for a new Junior Naturalist program for the Charleston County Parks. Thankfully, my internship evolved into a full-time position, and I am able to see the program to fruition. This fall, we are offering the first Junior Naturalist program series for kids ages 8-12. Kids must attend 6 out of 8 to become certified, but they are also free to choose just the programs that interest them. The goal of this interdisciplinary environmental education program is not to make kids experts in the field, but rather to spark their curiosities and get them involved and interested in the natural world.

We spend so much time and energy on our Masters internship or thesis, and I think we’re all a little bit concerned about the meaningfulness of our projects. We want our work to have some sort of lasting impression beyond merely satisfying requirements of an advanced degree. That’s why I am incredibly excited about seeing my Masters project move from paper to reality. My hard work will have paid off when I graduate the Junior Naturalist class of ‘11 at the end of October.

Dylan Murphy has created an app to make waters safer:

If a boat runs up against a dangerous pile of debris in the water, the hardest job the captain might face has been to report it. Now, however, there’s an app for that. “Clean Marine” can be uploaded to a smartphone for free. It tracks GPS coordinates automatically, reports them as part of a tap-by-tap sequence for providing details about the sighting — old crab traps or a half-sunken boat — right down to tide.

Dylan thought about the inefficiency of the process of recording the problem, along with latitude and longitude, on paper on the boat, then transferring it to computer on return. What if the paper gets wet, you forget about it, or you make a mistake with the numbers? This new technology only takes few seconds and is much more accurate.

Dylan hopes this is only the beginning. He wants to develop a career designing citizen-scientist apps for nonprofit and environmental program use. He wants to work on an app to report sightings of the rare, beautiful swallow-tailed kite and eventually one for storm spotting.

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