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Environment Alumni Profiles

Environment alumni have gone on to help protect the environment in both their personal and professional lives, working as educators, in environmental advocacy, in environmental consulting, as engineers, and in a range of other roles. They have also enrolled in a variety of graduate school programs, including programs in Chemistry, Mechanical Engineering, and Public Policy. If you are an Environment alum, we would love to hear what you’re doing and share your news with other alumni. Please contact us at any time!


Jacob Bintliff

Jacob Bintliff

Graduated Spring 2010
Undergraduate Major(s): Latin American Studies (Economics), French
Graduate Major: Master of City Planning (MCP), University of California-Berkeley
Favorite BDP course: GEO 302P: Living with a Planet

Place of employment/title: Bay Area Economics, Associate

How did your Bridging Disciplines Program influence your current educational path and interests?
While protecting the natural environment was always a core focus in my personal life and education, my Environment BDP allowed me to carve out space in my undergrad career to really focus on environmental science and policy directly. Aside from the knowledge and experience I gained going through the BDP coursework, internships, and research, the ability to have my environmental focus “credentialed” through BDP certainly helped in my grad school and job applications in the environmental planning field.

In what ways did an interdisciplinary education prepare you for what you are currently doing?
City and regional planning is an extremely multi-faceted and broad field, both academically and professionally. BDP’s interdisciplinary design was, in hindsight, an excellent preparation for my chosen field. I find myself analyzing and acting in realms of policy, economics, and environmental science on a daily basis in my current planning internship.

What advice would you give to current BDP students?
BDP offers you opportunities to engage in both internships/volunteering and research in your area that most undergraduate programs do not. Look at the Connecting Experiences not as a requirement, but as a golden opportunity to expand your skills and understanding outside of a classroom. In general, grad schools and employers wants to see both practical and research skills, so use the Connecting Experiences to help tell a story about who you are, what you know, and where you want to go.

Read on to hear about what other Environment alumni have been doing since they graduated.

Jennifer Piland
Applied Learning and Development, Graduated Summer 2004
Through the Bridging Disciplines Program, Jennifer had the opportunity to intern at two environmental education facilities, McKinney Roughs Environmental Research Park and The Lady Bird Johnson Wildflower Center. These experiences helped her form great career networks for the future. After graduation, Jennifer moved to Washington D.C. to work as an advocate and public educator for environmental justice.

Lisa Latson
Biology, Graduated Spring 2005
Through the BDP, Lisa conducted research at McKinney Roughs Nature Park, where she compiled an interpretive trail guide for the park. During her last semester, she was an outdoors education instructor for a fifth grade science class in the Del Valle School district. By teaching young students about the natural world, she has integrated her passions for sustainability, ecology and the importance of education. After graduation, Lisa traveled to Ecuador as a volunteer at biological stations within the Andes Mountains and Amazon Basin regions.

Jennifer Rawlings
Geography, Graduated Spring 2006
The Environment BDP provided Jennifer an avenue to focus her interests in natural resource management in various internships and research experiences. Jennifer graduated with Honors from the Geography Department. After graduation, she started her career with Dynamac Corporation, an environmental consulting firm, as a Pollution Prevention Specialist.

Angela Wariso
Chemical Engineering, Graduated Spring 2007
Angela coupled her Chemical Engineering major with a BDP in the Environment in order to investigate issues of sustainability. Working with Dr. Desmond Lawler, Angela researched water purification and reverse osmosis. She also reviewed air permit applications during her internship with the Texas Commission on Environmental Quality. Since graduation, Angela has been working as an Instrumentation/Control Systems Engineer with Mustang Engineering in Houston, TX. As part of her work, she spent a year on international assignment in Scotland, where she worked for Wood Group PSN as a Control Systems Engineer.

Erika Baylor
History, Graduated Spring 2008
Erika joined the Bridging Disciplines Programs to explore her interests in environmental law. As part of her BDP certificate, Erika interned with a local environmental law firm and worked with the Texas Senate during the 80th Legislative Session. After graduation, Erika attended the University of Texas School of Law and graduated in 2011. During law school, Erika clerked at the environmental non-profit organization Save Our Springs, and she was an editor for the UT Environmental Law Journal. She is now practicing law at the litigation firm of Edison, McDowell & Hetherington, L.L.P. in Houston, TX.

James Pape
Geosciences, Graduated Spring 2008
James researched Pleistocene-aged sediments from Cathedral Cave in Nevada through the Texas Memorial Museum’s Vertebrate Paleontology Lab. He also researched oxygen isotope ratios and their ability to contribute to gaining information about climate and rainfall patterns. After graduation, James attended The University of Arizona and earned a Master’s degree in Geology in 2010. Also in 2010, he published an article in the Journal of Hydrology based on his undergraduate thesis work. James currently works for the ExxonMobil Production Company as a geoscientist. He is a member of the American Association of Petroleum Geologists and the Geological Society of America.

Brian Hertz
Civil Engineering, Graduated Spring 2011
Brian joined the Bridging Disciplines Programs to gain a better understanding of sustainability. In his first Connecting Experience, he introduced several sustainable practices, including recycling, at a summer camp in Central Texas. During the Spring 2011 semester, Brian worked as an intern for the Central Texas – Balcones Chapter of the U.S. Green Building Council. He assisted the Education Committee by organizing seminars on green building technologies, arranging study groups for the LEED Green Associate and Accredited Professional Exams, and providing other continuing education opportunities for professionals interested in environmental sustainability and sustainable development. Brian is a LEED Accredited Professional and currently works as a Sustainability Specialist for Waste Management Sustainability Services in Houston, TX. Much of his work involves serving as a consultant for corporations, sports venues, and educational institutions that wish to implement more sustainable business practices.

Mark McKim
Geography, Graduated Spring 2011
Throughout his time in the BDPs, Mark interned with the sustainable food center, where he helped facilitate a Community Food Shed Assessment to measure production and consumption of food in a particular region. Specifically, he helped facilitate focus groups with farmers, coordinated public outreach, and traveled to various farms to establish better understanding of farming in central Texas. Mark also served as the Recycling Communications Coordinator at the UT Campus Environmental Center. He coordinated a campaign to educate students, faculty, and staff about recycling on campus and facilitated a survey to determine the thirty locations for new recycling bins. Those bins can be seen around campus today. Mark currently works for in.gredients, Austin’s first package-free, zero-waste neighborhood grocery store that was named the Best New Local Business of 2012 by the Austin Chronicle.