Profile: Jana Fischback, Class of 2014

I knew I wanted to go to graduate school long before I discovered my passion for sustainability and climate change.

Jana Fischback, MES alumni

I’ve always been a nerd who loves learning, and after I graduated with my Bachelor's degree in communications I realized I wanted to focus my career on the environment.

I began looking at grad schools, and Evergreen’s program seemed to fit my needs the best. I loved that it was interdisciplinary and would provide a well-rounded background for whatever career I decide to pursue. I didn’t have a lot of science background and this degree is very accommodating to that.

Growth and Exploration

I came into the program with relatively little knowledge about the environmental field, so MES provided me an amazing amount of knowledge about all kinds of issues. My classmates taught me about their passions and our faculty shared their expertise. It was amazing to learn from people with so many different areas of interest.

Over the two years my writing skills improved quite a bit I think. Writing my thesis greatly improved my time management skills, and gave me research skills that I never thought I'd have.

Along the way I was able to meet many inspirational individuals who are passionate about what they do. One person that comes to mind Rhys Roth (MES '90), who I interned with at Climate Solutions for a quarter. He has been working to fight climate change for a long time, has an infectious energy and was a great mentor. Evergreen is lucky to have him now as the Director of the Center for Sustainable Infrastructure, which offers internships to MES students.

Thesis topic: Social Marketing for Energy Efficiency (PDF)

Jana’s tips for students

Get involved! Though at times it may seem like a lot longer, you only have 2-3 years to enjoy spending time with your classmates. Join MESA, help plan events like the annual Rachel Carson Forum, and go get a beer with your friends after class. 

Even though grad school can be stressful at times, building relationships with your cohort gives you someone to lean on (and maybe complain to!) when it gets challenging.

Also, utilize the program's amazing support to get involved and get an internship or job if you need one. The MES Weekly blog is a fantastic resource.

After Evergreen

Without this degree, and the experience that I got from internships while earning it, there was no way I could have applied for the jobs I applied for immediately after graduating.

After graduation I started an internship with Point Defiance Zoo & Aquarium to write their first sustainability plan. I worked on the plan for three months during the summer, and after a short hiatus, the zoo kept me on for an additional two months to start some of the projects I had suggested. The networks I developed ultimately provided me with my current job as a sustainability coordinator with Metro Parks Tacoma.