We deeply value your involvement and commitment to the program. Thank you! Here are just some of the ways you can get involved.
What is the Environmental Studies Alumni Mentoring Program?
In short, it is a mutually beneficial one-on-one relationship between an alumnus and a current student.
How does the program work?
Both the mentor and student will complete a simple form including basic information, education, and career interests. Program advisers will determine best matches based on information provided and student contact information will be given to the mentor. If there are multiple matches, the mentor decides which student he/she would like to mentor based on interests and relevant experience.
In this way, the mentor will control the level of participation, making serving more manageable. All upperclassman—those in their junior or senior years and who have declared ENVST as their major—are eligible to participate in the program.
Is there a minimum time commitment to be involved?
Here is what we ask of our mentors: We ask that the mentor give a minimum of 1 academic year to ensure the students get the most benefit from the relationship. If the mentor must leave the program early, we ask that 1-month notice be given. We encourage contact with your student a minimum of 3 times a month. Whether it is by email, phone or in person. The level of contact will depend on the time you have to give and whether or not you and the student are in the same town.
Here is what we ask of our students: We ask that you highly value the time your mentor gives you. They typically are juggling just as much professionally as you are academically. Please respond promptly to their communications with you. Be prepared to check email on a consistent basis, especially if this is the chosen avenue of communication.
Why participate in this program?
Mentors can provide a great deal of insight, a fresh perspective (different from peers, educators, parents, etc.) and help in building the alumni network. You would be providing an invaluable experience that will impact the student in a positive way. Where some alumni are unable to give financially to their graduating program, they can give back with their time by mentoring a student.
For students, this invaluable relationship and networking connection made during your college years will play a role in building your professional foundation for years to come. Perhaps one day, you will be the alumni to mentor a future student in the program and help pay it forward.
Carolyn T. Itle, ’03
Watershed Scientist, Juniata and Potomac Watersheds
Carolyn is currently working on agricultural conservation planning in Blair County and sedimentation reduction in Cambria County. Carolyn has also gained experience in watershed conservation through physical implementation and installation projects. Her work includes but is not limited to site research through assessment methodologies, data collection and identification of biotic and abiotic factors. Management and interpretation of data, the use of GIS and grant writing also play a huge role in her work. Through research, site identification, outreach, design, permitting, implementation and monitoring Carolyn has successfully stabilized and enhanced our local streams and riparian buffers. She has also spoken about her conservation work to outreach partners and universities.
Marcy Ladson, BA ’10, MA ’14
Teaching Assistant, currently working on doctorate in History
Matt Long, ’09
Resource Technician, Clinton County Conservation District
Matt recently took a new position where he’ll work with environmental and safety compliance, agriculture compliance, and outreach. He will be working closely with the Chesapeake Bay Water Quality program in his area. He attributes his level of expertise to his heavy use and knowledge of computer skills, GIS and Microsoft . Species identification, permitting and experience in GIS or CADD are relied heavily on in Matt’s field of work.
Erin Nachtman, ’10
Project Coordinator Environmental Studies and Sustainability, Penn State Altoona
Erin has had the pleasure of working with the ENVST program and the Sustainability Council since 2011. She assists and supports the program as it grows in the areas relating to the Seminar Forest, council meetings, sustainability initiatives and workshops, marketing and outreach via social media, educational campaigns and more. Over the years she has organized and supervised the Sustainability Council Internship program and is currently taking the lead on initiating the ENVST Alumni Mentoring program.
When Erin is not working at Penn State, she is busy with two school-aged boys, enjoys photography and spending time outside with her family and friends in the community.
Dustin Portzline, ’09
Rock and Ice Climbing Guide, Mountain Skills Climbing Guides (MSCG)
Dustin has been guiding climbs with MSCG based in New Paltz, New York since 2010. He enjoys guiding adventurists on climbs year-round in the Shawangunk and Catskill Mountains, as well as a number of other climbing venues across the country. Recently he became a Certified Rock Guide through the American Mountain Guide Association. His days require him to be physically adept, technically proficient on vertical cliffs and various terrains. Leadership and management under stressful situations is a highly valued must in his daily line of work. He enjoys sharing his love of the natural world with his guests where he tries to impart the value of wild places.
Gordon Roscovich, ’10
Urban Resource Conservationist, Chester County Conservation District
Gordon fills his days by reviewing and inspecting Post Construction Stormwater Management plans and Erosion and Sedimentation Control plans for NPDES construction permits under a delegation agreement with the PA DEP. He has been with the conservation district for four years now, but it was his previous work experience working for KCI Technologies in Newark, DE as an Environmental Science Technician that gave him the pertinent experience necessary for the job he currently does – and loves! As an ES Tech he worked under a DelDOT contract pertaining to MS4 NPDES permitting requirements where he inspected and inventoried their tri-county MS4 network as well as set up and maintained continuous in-stream water quality monitoring. He highly encourages putting in the “grunt work” to gain experience necessary for a strong foundation in an interdisciplinary career.
In his time away from his job Gordon enjoys cooking and especially smoking meats. He and his wife have two kids whom they love to share all of what life has to offer with. Gordon’s four year old daughter Maddie caught her first fish on opening day this year, making for one proud Dad.
Tyler Werner, ’16
Analyst, Corporate Social Responsibility & Sustainability
Tyler is currently working for a multi-national pharmaceutical company out of Exton, PA called, West Pharmaceutical Services, where he interned for two summers during his coursework in ENVST. Tyler received his B.S. in ENVST and acquired the analyst position in CSR&S shortly after graduating. In this position, Tyler works with all of the company’s departments on environmental, social and governance (ESG) issues. He works with all departments to gather strategies, goals, initiatives and actions. He also works with customers, investors and employees to ensure transparency among ESG issues. Creating reports for investment companies, customers and third party organizations is how he spends much of his time. However, he also manages the company’s environmental goals and operational and procurement savings associated with these initiatives. This year (2017), the company’s goal is to create a waste management program for all of their sites, which Tyler will lead.
In Tyler’s free time, and when he is not traveling for work, he enjoys playing soccer – going on twenty years! He is a problem solver and he aspires to be a leader in his field as well as a future business owner.
Grant Wills, ’11
GIS Mapping Specialist, Huntingdon County Mapping Department
Grant’s work heavily relies on what he refers to as “buttonology” of ArcGIS. His experience in GIS Database creation/management, cartography and GPS data collection programs is essential for success in the GIS world. Grant also attributes much of his experience to the opportunities to design and execute his own projects during his capstone course and an independent study in ENVST. Having the experience of managing a project from “cradle to grave” was very helpful and translated well when tasked with large projects by his employer. Currently Grant is working towards his Masters of GIS through Penn State World Campus. Through his post graduate studies he is branching out into computer programming, specifically with a course on Python programming and how to use that to improve the functionality of various GIS applications.
Apart from formal learning, he greatly enjoys getting outside with his family and friends, by way of boat, bike, or foot to take photos, ask questions, and teach others anything he can about the environment he is planted in first hand.
Ashley Wilmont, ’14
Erosion Control Inspector and Dirt, Gravel, Low Volume Road (DGLVR) Program Administrator
Ashley currently inspects disturbance sites for erosion controls and storm water controls. Additionally, she processes NPDES permits and administers the DGLVR program which distributes grant funded opportunities to municipalities for drainage improvements and surface improvements. Her previous work experience includes outreach work for the Washington County Redevelopment Authority and time spent as a fly fishing guide/instructor.
If you're interested in being mentored or becoming a mentor, please complete one of the following forms: