Special Events

Government and Industry Careers Panel Event

Event Purpose

Getting a degree is just one component of the college experience. Students must also address the dreaded and anxiety-inducing question: “What do I do with this degree!?!” In my opinion, answering this question is one of the most difficult aspects of college for students—or at least it was for me when I was in their shoes! There’s often more jobs out there in the working world that are relevant to a student’s major than they originally think—they just don’t know those jobs exist! And why would they if no one tells them about those jobs or they can’t be easily researched online? This conundrum for our SEES students is what motivated our Government and Industry Careers Panel. The purpose of this event was to expose SEES students to the different kinds of Earth science jobs that are out there. We wanted the panel to be an opportunity for students to network with successful professionals, learn exactly what a person does in different Earth science jobs, and obtain advice on how to get the jobs they are interested in!


Three amazing SEES alumni kindly devoted their time to be speakers at our event, all of whom are employed in a government agency or the private industry:

  • Michelle Park works as a Stormwater Analyst for the NYC Department of Environmental Protection;
  • Ashley Smith works as a Physical Scientist for the United States Geological Survey’s New York Water Science Center; and
  • Isabel Riano works as an Industrial Hygiene and Environmental Health and Safety Project Manager at Hillman Consulting. These speakers hold very different positions, and by sharing their personal career journeys with our audience, students were exposed to a wide range of professional opportunities in the working world!

The event was a HUGE success. We had a packed house, with over 75 undergraduate students, graduate students, and faculty members in attendance. Students truly appreciated how relatable and honest our speakers were, and I have received emails from a few of them expressing interest in attending more events like our Career Panel in the future! So now, it’s time to plan the next one!

For more information contact : Dara Laczniak, dara.laczniak@qc.cuny.edu

February 2024



  • Michelle Park – NYC Department of Environmental Protection
  • Ashley Smith – United States Geological Survey’s New York Water Science Center
  • Isabel Riano – Hillman Consulting


  • Julia Sandke


  • Dara Laczniak