From experience at a science and technology high school, to environmental educator with Pittsburgh Parks Conservancy, Chastity Bey, '17, didn’t skip a beat in taking every opportunity afforded her to land her dream job.
Bey’s path started out a little differently than many Environmental Studies majors. Although many come to the program with a passion for the natural world or high school experience that includes natural sciences or environmental clubs, Bey actually attended Science and Technology Academy, a public magnet school in the Oakland neighborhood of Pittsburgh. There, she concentrated in Environment and Energy and her love and experience for the field grew over time.
During her sophomore year of high school, she participated in a program called High School Urban Eco-Steward, a Pittsburgh Parks Conservancy program. The following year, she went on to train with their summer camps. A few years after high school graduation, she returned as a camp counselor, just before seeking academic credit for the ENVBA program as a Pittsburgh Parks Conservancy Buzzword Intern. Currently, Bey is in her second year as Community Nature Educator with the Pittsburgh Parks Conservancy and she loves teaching children and the local community about the natural world around them. (Read the Pittsburgh Parks staff feature on Chastity)
When she first began college she chose to major in Environmental Systems Engineering but admittedly was struggling with the required math. It was then that she knew she needed to take a slightly different route. That’s when she transferred to Penn State Altoona, and into the Bachelor of Arts in Environmental Studies program. The early semesters of the transition were tough but she speaks fondly of that time.
“My favorite memory is having the support of Angie Spagnoli (ENVBS ’17) my first semester at Altoona in chemistry 21. Being a transfer student with no chemistry background was hard and Angie [lent] a helping hand when I needed [it]. Also, Shannon Simpson’s (ENVBS ’17) support in biology was memorable. My entire time at Penn State Altoona I was playing catch up from starting at a different campus and Shannon and Angie made things easier for me by being supportive.”
When asked what her best piece of advice for a student currently working through the program, Bey offers, “The courses may not always be easy but in the end it’ll all make sense and be so worth it. Utilize [professor’s] office hours and other students in the class. I was a loner and didn’t always do this but when I did, it was very helpful. Don’t give up!”
Written by Erin Nachtman, ’10