Every year since 2012, the graduating EcoFellows have gone onto exciting opportunities in varied fields. To learn what our 2020-2021 EcoFellows, Ozette and Jared, have been up to, read on!
Where are they now?
It was great to catch up with Jared Shein. He spearheaded our Virtual Outreach Program and worked hard to set the standard for CET’s presentations, among many other projects. Over the course of the year, he also learned how to make an effective pitch deck with engaging content. He said this was “so, so helpful” when searching for next steps after his time at CET. He also shared gratitude for his mentors who helped him evaluate job offers towards the year’s end. Jared said he misses working with the Communication Team the most, especially Ozette, his co-fellow. The two undoubtedly made a dynamic duo!
Jared now works in Ohio at Brite Energy Innovators as their Startup Experience Specialist. There, he helps new energy technicians at startup companies to build their product, from prototype to market. Tapping into communication and networking skills learned in the EcoFellowship, Jared has been standardizing Brite’s resource recommendations for clients. By guiding portfolio companies towards sustainable growth, he is helping promote clean and efficient energy.
Looking back, Jared shared he didn’t begin his career knowing where he wanted to go. Now, he feels secure in the direction he has taken. “The fellowship illuminated for me that your career doesn’t have to be just one dream that you’ve known your whole life. Most people take a career journey, not a path. I learned that you don’t need to know or have your dream job right now, just the mindset of looking for the next step to where you want to go. “Jared and his words of wisdom will be missed!
Ozette Ostrow, the other 2020-2021 fellow, also elaborated on the ways the CET fellowship prepared her for her new job. Her new role is at Reduction in Motion, as a Sustainability Consultant. She now conducts work on-site, helping hospitals deal with their regulated medical waste, as well as their recycling efforts. Education and consulting on waste reduction form key aspects of her job.
CET helps businesses in general rather than healthcare specific businesses. However, Ozette feels what she learned at CET translated well over to her new job. This is because she was equipped with relevant know-how. Working with the public and learning how best to educate others was highly beneficial for her professional development. Specifically, knowing about the processing of waste for its reuse is still relevant to her work. There is much more overlap in the work of the two organizations. “Reduction in Motion is pretty much all about helping businesses reduce their waste, which is part of CET’s mission.” Ozette recalled.
She shared that the fellowship equipped her with meaningful experience and knowledge especially in marketing and communications. As a fellow, she benefitted from mentorship, and built skills such as team-focused communication. The problem solving and time management skills that she picked up at CET has helped her greatly.
While her plans for the future are not solidified, Ozette mentioned she is also interested in corporate sustainability and is considering pursuing an MBA. Whatever she decides, we know this amazing former fellow will continue to excel!
Meet this year’s fellows!
It’s time to welcome another round of EcoFellows to the team at the Center for EcoTechnology! The EcoFellowship Program is a one-year paid fellowship position to work with CET staff and other EcoFellows to carry out a range of activities related to climate action initiatives and educational programming in Western Massachusetts. EcoFellows support CET’s initiatives to assist residents, students, institutions and businesses across the region in ongoing programs in energy efficiency, home energy services, renewable energy, and waste reduction through recycling, reuse and composting. The EcoFellowship also provides professional development opportunities for these recent college graduates, encouraging them to get involved with community outreach, school programs, and other environmental organizations.
I am a lifelong resident of Minnesota, currently based out of the lively Minneapolis uptown area. We are known as the “Land of 10,000 Lakes,” so there is never a shortage of outdoor activities to do here! I’d like to say that my first teacher was my garden. I spent many summers of my childhood toddling amongst the bean trellises and watching bumblebees pollinate okra. Being able to eat food I had grown myself from such an early age instilled a deep curiosity for nature and what I’d later learn to be called human ecology. I have always felt a strong responsibility to take care of the earth, and that is what led me to pursue an Environmental Studies degree at Macalester College.
Although I knew what I wanted to major in, I had to do a lot of exploration to find what I specifically wanted to do within the broad environmental field. I was fortunate to find several related internships each year that taught me lessons about climate change, working in conservation, and environmental leadership. Being able to develop my own work style gave me the ability to create positive impact in my communities. I tried many career paths, from ethnobotany to sustainable architecture, and at one point I even considered becoming an environmentally-focused music composer (everyone is grateful that one was short lived)! Though I loved every minute of those opportunities, none of them made me feel quite as invigorated as I did when studying sustainable food and education.
Fast forward to December 2020, when I graduated from Macalester with a degree in Environmental and Educational Studies with an emphasis in Sustainable Food Systems. With so much uncertainty, it was both a very exciting and nerve-wracking time to be entering the workforce.
I was excited to apply for CET’s EcoFellowship because I loved the variety of programs they offer, from food recovery to education on home energy audits. I wanted to learn as much as I could about effective and science-based solutions for the climate crisis. Though we have just started, each day I feel like I have a little bit more agency in responding to environmental issues. The team is incredibly welcoming and always encourages us to ask questions, which will undoubtedly nurture my curiosity. I am so grateful to be an EcoFellow at CET and am thrilled to see where this year takes us!
Fatin S. Chowdhury
My home has always been New York City- perhaps known more for its skyscrapers than for nature. However, my Islamic faith and aspects of the city, such as its surprisingly sprawling parks, have kept me connected to scientific knowledge and the importance of environmental stewardship.
After studying at Hunter College High School, I majored in Biology and minored in Anthropology at Stony Brook University. This experience solidified my fondness for Long Island. In my last semester, before classes went temporarily virtual, I was able to take a Marine Mammal and Sea Turtle Rehabilitation course at the beautiful, waterside Southampton campus. The class was taught by Professor Maxine Montello, who is the Director at New York Marine Rescue Center. I was dismayed to learn more from her about the myriad ways humans threaten marine life. Including things like excess waste generation. As such, I made up my mind to combat environmental ruin through outreach, education, and other actions.
After graduating, I spent some time as a mentor first with Massachusetts Institute of Technology’s Full STEAM Ahead program, and then with their Afterschool-tastic program, working with high schoolers and mostly younger students, respectively. The curriculum for the first program focused on fixed lessons, while Afterschool-tastic’s curriculum was up to the mentors. So, I decided to lecture on diverse topics including archaeology, folklore, and biodegradables.
Soon after, I came across CET and its opportunities on Idealist, a website I was routinely scouring in order to find a positive change-oriented job. I am very blessed to have found just that with the EcoFellowship! CET continues to be trusted to do groundbreaking work in waste and energy services. It’s understandable why the Center for Ecotechnology has been around for decades. I am so elated that its work relates to phenomena such as the Zero Waste and increased building efficiency movements. I am excited to learn about how each department at CET contributes to CET’s mission.
In the future, I want to sign up alongside family members for a volunteer program working with orangutans in Indonesia, blending my passions for the environment and for animal rescue. In terms of professional aspirations, I would like to apply the varied skills I cultivate through working for the Center for Ecotechnology as an EcoFellow towards becoming a leader in a field such as bioplastics or conservation.