Major: Environmental Science (Group Major in Biology and Geology)
Current Residence: Valparaiso, Indiana
What are you doing now?
I have been the Executive Director of Shirley Heinze Land Trust, a not-for-profit organization dedicated to the preservation and restoration of natural areas in Northwest Indiana, for the past nine years.
Why did you choose SJC?
I was influenced by a cousin, a 1996 alumnus, who highly recommended SJC. I was also impressed with the quality of people I encountered during two campus visits.
As a student, what was your experience like at SJC?
Looking back, I feel like I had a once-in-a-lifetime experience that shaped me into who I am today. I got an excellent education and had many great experiences during those four years. I made many friends, worked in the lawn shop, raced and won the Little 500, traveled to Tanzania, tended bar at Core XI, got to know many locals by working at the package store, spent spring and Thanksgiving breaks on Habitat for Humanity trips. And, most importantly, I met my wife, Heidi Schwartz, who graduated in 2003.
What experiences did you appreciate most in the department of your major?
I particularly enjoyed Geology field trips and ecology labs. The most memorable experience was being stopped by the police and having my van searched after delineating a wetland for one of Dr. Brodman’s classes. Fortunately, the officer only found soil boring equipment and a few empty boxes.
How were the faculty members in your department helpful to you?
They gave me a firm appreciation for what it means to have a passion for your profession, and they never failed to make the subject material interesting.
How did Core integrate with your major?
It helped me appreciate how everything - religion, writing, culture, literature, history, and science - is intertwined.
What advice would you give to a prospective student looking to major in what you did at SJC?
My major is no longer offered, but if you are interested in the sciences, there are plenty of less traditional career path opportunities, such as natural resource management and land preservation, that you should keep in mind.
Get a jump start on your career and have your resume ready to go at graduation.
Small colleges offer you personal attention; SJC professors do more for you—they serve as mentors.
The Core Program is all about you and your role in the world.
You get more deeply involved at SJC, so you get more meaningful experiences that prepare you for career and life.
Get real-life experience and become an excellent communicator.