Katie graduated from the University of Minnesota in 2010 with a B.A. in Biology, Society, and the Environment. In 2011, she enlisted in the U.S. Navy and attended the Defense Language Institute in Monterey, CA where she earned an A.A. in Korean Studies. After graduation, she was stationed in Hawaii from 2013-2017 and worked as a multi-disciplined language analyst. She drafted product reports, analyzed data, conducted research through multiple databases, and managed and trained joint service personnel. She collaborated with subject matter experts and big data scientists on a cross-functional team using ArcGIS, and qualified as an Enlisted Information Warfare Specialist. She separated from the Navy in April 2017 after six years of service. Katie was awarded a Navy and Marine Corps Achievement Medal in 2012 and a Joint Service Commendation Medal in 2017.
We sat down with Katie and asked her future goals:
What are your career aspirations?
I am not sure what I want to specialize in yet. I am just learning about air pollution and toxicology. I would like to work for a non-profit that protects the ocean and coasts or a government agency like the EPA or NOAA. Sometimes I consider going back into Intel because climate change will be affecting our foreign relations as drinking water becomes scarcer and our health with will be affected with increasing particulate matter due to loss of fresh water bodies.
What have you enjoyed most about your internship with Alta so far?
I have enjoyed applying the concepts in my classes to my internship. I have learned a lot of the different state regulations for environmental compliance. Almost everything I have helped with is something I am learning about or have learned about in my classes. Also, everyone is great to work with and is so helpful when I have questions. I have been able to help all the teams with various projects.
Why have you chosen your current educational/career pursuits?
While I was living in Hawaii, I was greatly influenced by the Aloha culture and the emphasis on sustainability and taking care of the land and ocean. I volunteered weekly at Waimea Valley botanical gardens and was an avid surfer. I wanted a career that would allow me to work to protect the environment and public health. Many skills I used in Intel are applicable to public health.
What advice can you give to current students seeking internships?
Don’t be afraid to reach out and make connections. People usually are willing to help you, whether it is giving advice or connecting you to other people. I was on LinkedIn and messaged a USC alum from my program. I happened to contact Courtney, who works at Alta, and she had just received an email about the internship opening at Alta, which she forwarded to me. Make sure you keep your resume updated with every new thing you do, so it is always ready for new opportunities.