By: Tiffany Whitfield

On Tuesday, Oct. 3 the College of Sciences held the second annual Environmental Career Fair. Old Dominion University undergraduate students majoring in Biological Sciences, Chemistry and Ocean & Earth Sciences were encouraged to attend and make meaningful connections with industry professionals.

This targeted career fair brought together students and representatives from regional organizations from across Hampton Roads.

Dean Gail Dodge kicked off the fair with opening remarks and encouraged students to stop by each table and have conversations with each of the representatives who made time to be at the fair. Following the opening, every representative introduced themselves to Monarchs and the fair officially began. 

More than 180 Monarchs attended the fair held at the Newport News/Hampton Room in the Webb Center from 12:00 p.m. to 2:00 p.m. There were representatives from 15 environmental companies who talked to students about internships, jobs and gave professional advice.

“On behalf of our company, thank you for the Environmental Career Fair,” said Myles A. Pocta, president of MAP Environmental Inc. and ODU Ocean & Earth Sciences alumnus. “It was a very nice event with great participation and lively discussion. Personally, I always enjoy sharing and conversing with our students plus networking with our colleagues in the environmental arena.” Pocta, a College of Sciences advisory board member, helped plan the first year’s event in 2022 and has been working on developing ways for ODU alumni to connect with current Monarchs.

College of Sciences Associate Dean Joshua Wallach said: “We truly appreciate these local environmental firms coming to campus to speak with our students about careers.  Having many firms related to one field in the same room really allowed our students to learn about the breadth of opportunities available. Whether students are just starting out in their academic career and wanted to start building their network and exploring career paths or are approaching graduation and looking to land a job, this event gave them the chance to make connections in the field that will lead them to success.”

“It was encouraging for me to meet prospective employers and find out more about internship opportunities available to me,” said Stephanie Wilcox a double major in Biological Sciences and Civil Engineering, minoring in Environmental Engineering. “Talking to one of the engineers at HRSD who is designing and implementing aquifer renewal projects was just the inspiration I needed to keep working on my own engineering degree. She's literally doing my dream job, and she graduated from ODU just a couple years ago.” Wilcox is looking forward to graduating and moving on to a career that makes the Hampton Roads community “healthier and stronger and this event helped motivate her to continue to pursue her degrees.”  

Additional Monarchs were enthused about the opportunity to network with environmental sciences professionals. “The sea has many opportunities, and I found quite a few at the Environmental Career Fair,” said Morgan Stawski a Marine Biology undergraduate student.

Representatives from the various organizations all commented on coming back to ODU to share information and meet with more Monarchs.

The full list of organizations that were present at the Environmental Career Fair were:

  • Chesapeake Bay Foundation
  • City of Chesapeake
  • Elizabeth River Project
  • Hampton Roads Sanitation District (HRSD)
  • Institute for Coastal Adaptation and Resilience (ICAR)
  • MAP Environmental Inc.
  • Norfolk Botanical Garden
  • Sierra Club Virginia Chapter
  • US Army Corps of Engineers
  • U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, Norfolk District
  • Virginia Aquarium and Marine Science Center
  • Virginia Department of Environmental Quality
  • Virginia Marine Resources Commission
  • Wetlands Studies & Solutions, Inc.
  • ODU Biological Sciences Department
  • ODU Kaplan Orchid Conservatory
  • ODU Science Tutoring Centers