We chatted with the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration’s (NOAA) newly hired Tribal Drought Coordinator – Emily Bamford. Emily is a former Masters of the Environment student who graduated in December 2019. Here’s what she had to say about her experience in the MENV program and her future Boulder-based work with NOAA, which she describes as her “dream job.”
Tell Us a Little Bit About Your Background
I previously worked for UNICEF as a water specialist for 10 years, which took me all over the world. I've also worked for Greenpeace and other non-profits. I have a BSc in biology and environmental science.
What Drew You to the MENV Program?
I chose MENV because it provided me with an opportunity to expand my career horizons and explore job opportunities here in Colorado.
What Were Some of Your Favorite Courses and Experiences that You Participated in During Your Graduated Experience?
Native American and Indigenous Environmental Issues was my favorite class. Outside of class, my capstone project and other trainings - including workshop facilitation, GIS, and consulting skills.
What Was Your Capstone Project?
I worked on a Tribal Drought Engagement Project for NOAA-NIDIS. It was an amazing experience which allowed me to work with Tribal Nations across the Missouri River Basin.
What Advice Would You Give to a New MENV Student?
Try and enjoy yourself and don't get too caught up in all the academics. Explore the other non-academic opportunities that the program offers and make the most of them.
Where Do You Work Now and What’s Your Role?
I'm about to start working for NOAA as its Tribal Drought Coordinator. I'll be based in Boulder and I'll be responsible for coordinating all drought-related tribal engagement projects across the U.S. It's my dream job, and I can't wait to get started.
How Did the MENV Program Help You to Develop Your Professional Career?
The program really helped me discover new passions, ones that I'd not had chance to explore previously. From solar energy to GIS to climate justice, I've learnt so much over the past 18 months. The program also helped introduce us (students) to so many different professionals and organizations. It helped me figure out exactly what I wanted to do next - and ultimately helped me land my dream job with NOAA.
What is something people may not know about you?
I lived in Africa for six years!
Is there anything else you’d like to share?
I'm really grateful to all the faculty members who went above and beyond to make MENV such a great experience for us.
Emily has recently started her who environmental consulting firm. You can find more information at https://www.rockymountainenvironmentalconsulting.com/