December Alumni of the Month: Alison Gost
Name: Allison Gost
Year of graduation: May 2012
Major: Environmental Science and Policy, Concentration Land Use
Minor: Geographic Information System
Current employment status:
· Employer: Maryland Department of Health and Mental Hygiene / University of Maryland
· Position: Project Manager
Did you/do you currently go to graduate school? If so:
· School: School of Public Health at UMCP
· Program: Maryland Institute for Applied Environmental Health
· Degree: Masters of Public Health in Environmental Health Sciences
What drew you GEOG/GIS/ENSP?
- My passion in making the world a better place. My first semester I took introduction to Geography with Dr. Luna and just struck up conversations with him about the world, and jobs, school, anything – and it seemed like ENSP with a concentration that landed me in GEOG was the best, most fitting place for me. (That’s why I encourage you to get to know your Professors)
What internships or independent research did you do as a GEOG/GIS/ENSP major?
- Summer research on “House in the Woods” – an organic Community Supported Agriculture (CSA) farm in Frederick, MD (2010)
- International Research Experience for Undergraduates (IREU) through Virginia Tech at the University of Cape Coast in Ghana, West Africa
What do you do at your current job?
- Manage the 5 year CDC BRACE funded project aimed at improving health in the state of Maryland, particularly in vulnerable populations and those at highest risk from climate change. We work directly in the communities to identify the health concerns that are existing and that the community feels are present and development intervention and adaptation programs to improve resiliency of populations and communities. We are currently in the middle of the first year, which is a planning year. We will begin intervention implementation in late 2017.
What recommendations would you make to current GEOG/GIS/ENSP majors for career and academic success while they are still undergraduates?
- Take a range of classes, get to know your Professors early and often, don’t pigeon hole yourself into a track – explore other avenues and try internships that might not be exactly what you want – it could teach you what you want, or what you don’t want to do – both of which are important.
What recommendations would you make to current GEOG/GIS/ENSP majors for career and academic success after graduation?
- Remember – you don’t need your career or dream job right after school, paths aren’t linear, just keep working and you’ll get to where you need to go. Even if you have to veer off the path for a few years. Also, if you are hesitant about grad school, there is nothing wrong with taking a break before starting – work and life experience may lead you to a better, more appropriate program for your goals (exactly how I found my program which lead me to my current job).
What do you miss the most about UMD?
- The ability to easily explore different avenues and aspects of a potential career or job opportunities. Once you are working full time (and going to school) your time to ‘figure things out’ and the benefits of “student rates” become much fewer and farther between.
What are some of your hobbies/interests?
- Reading, hiking and being outside with my dog.
- I also am very interested in volunteering with elderly individual homes or groups – I think we need to get back to a supportive community mindset.
Thank you, Alison! We enjoyed reading about your experiences in ENSP and we appreciate all your recommendations! Good luck!