Environment and Energy Industry Guide
Duke alumni in careers related to the environment work in areas such as ocean and wildlife research, corporate sustainability, finance or consulting in energy, government, policy and law, construction management, water and wastewater, geology and geography, eco-tourism, and more. Based on your skills, interests, personality, and values, you may choose to focus your search on a particular area within the environmental field.
- Energy Brokers
- Environmental Economists
- Environmental Engineers
- Industrial Ecologists
- Occupational Health & Safety Technicians
- Soil & Water Conservationists
- Solar Energy Systems Engineer
- Sustainable Specialists
- Urban & Regional Planners
- Zoologist and Wildlife Biologists
Professional Organizations & Resources:
Professional associations are groups of professionals dedicated to topics in specific fields. Professional associations provide a wealth of online resources, some of which are geared specifically towards students. These organizations typically also host conferences and events, providing great opportunities for learning and networking across your field of interest.
A small sample of large national and international organizations dedicated to environmental topics
If you have an interest in a specific topic not on the list, do some investigation, it’s likely there’s an organization dedicated to it.
- American Academy of Environmental Engineers
- Association of Environmental Studies and Sciences
- Association of Fish and Wildlife Agencies
- Ecological Society of America
- International Solar Energy Society
- National Association of Environmental Professionals
A small sample of local environmental associations
Check out these groups for upcoming events and opportunities to network with professionals
- NC Sustainable Energy Association– An organization working on public policy and market development to create clean energy economic opportunities and access
- North Carolina Association of Environmental Professionals– North Carolina researchers, consultants, regulators, educators, attorneys, engineers, geologists, and students involved in any and all aspects of environmental management are eligible for membership
- North Carolina Water Resources Association– A multidisciplinary association for information exchange education about water resources and related issues
- Society of Women Environmental Professionals– A professional association of women involved or interested in environmental law, science, business, and policy
- North Carolina Environmental Organizations– Offers a list for conservation, policy, and advocacy
Duke Interdisciplinary Initiatives
Duke is a large institution with departments, faculty, and staff in just about every industry possible. Here are a few interdisciplinary centers on campus, be sure to check out their upcoming events:
- Duke Energy Initiative– Advancing an accessible, affordable, reliable and clean energy system. Check out a full list of energy events happening throughout the academic year, including opportunities to tour local facilities, meet and learn from alumni, and professionals across all fields related to energy!
- Duke Innovation & Entrepreneurship– Entrepreneurship education and opportunities for learning, engaging, and networking
- Information Initiative at Duke– Increasing big data computational research and opportunities
Student Organizations & Volunteer Opportunities:
Check out Duke Groups, Nicholas School for the Environment’s list of groups, and Pratt School of Engineering to find student organizations across campus such as:
- Duke Environmental Alliance
- Duke Smart Home
- Energy Club
- Duke Climate Coalition
- Many academic departments have related student organizations, so be sure to ask your faculty members and classmates for their suggestions on how to get involved as well!
- DukeEngage– offers a large number of summer programs, both domestic and abroad, which relate to policy, including environmental policy, advocacy, engineering, global health, and other areas that relate to critical skills for students interested in environmental careers
Conducting research can be a great way to get involved on campus, explore a specific academic topic, and work closely with faculty members and graduate students. The Undergraduate Research Support Office offers resources for getting involved in research both on campus and at other institutions- check out the “opportunities” page to explore options.
Research positions are often secured through identifying research currently occurring at Duke or elsewhere and reaching out to faculty members directly. Consider looking at the work of faculty members, especially in the Nicholas School (don’t forget about the The Marine Lab) and the civil and environmental engineering department. Additionally, here are a few specific research programs available at Duke:
- Bass Connections – University-wide interdisciplinary research program
- Biological Sciences Undergraduate Research Fellowship – Summer research program for rising Duke sophomores interested in biological and biomedical sciences
- Smart Home– A space on campus for living and conducting research, especially in sustainability and smart ways to use technology in the home
Internships are a great way to try out an industry or company while learning more about a career of interest, developing your skillset, and building a network. Most Duke students who complete internships do so during the summer. The majority of summer internships in the environmental field become available in the spring semester, but it’s wise to start looking early.
Internship programs and opportunities
- Duke Stanback Fellowship Program– A Duke-specific program for funded internships with organizations in energy, conservation, advocacy, policy, research, and applied resource management.
- Duke Forest hires a management intern and students over the summer to assist with forest maintenance
- Duke Lemur Center has internships during the academic year and in the summer
- Duke Energy Internship Program is a student internship program throughout the academic year for undergraduate and graduate students run by Sustainable Duke
- Environmental science internships– Access a list of established programs with government agencies, private companies, and nonprofit groups