Kristina Sargent '13
Out in the work-a-day world, many employers want prospective job candidates to have a degree. But more than ever, it's the extras like undergraduate research, internships and study abroad experiences that make the difference between being an applicant and being a new hire.
It worked for Geography major, Kristin Sargent '13, who took advantage of all those hands-on extras built right into the Geography Department's curriculum.
For starters, she accompanied fellow Geography majors and faculty on a 10-day field study trip to Scandinavia, where they explored glaciers, trekked to waterfalls and studied volcanoes up close.
In spring of 2013, at the urging of her professors, she and several other students presented their senior seminar projects – a community-based group project that tackles real world geographical themes – at the American Association of Geographers. Sargent's colleagues took home the Best International Undergraduate Student Paper Award for 2013.
When they weren't presenting, Sargent and the rest of the group used their week in Los Angeles to explore the city, some even ventured out into the Mojave Desert and the many National Parks in the area.
"It was nice to see the culture and how things are done differently out there," Sargent says. As if that weren't enough, Sargent, with the help of Geography Department faculty, landed a summer internship with the Nashua Regional Planning Commission. Here she was able to do field work and get some hands-on experience with GIS (Geographic Information Systems); a mapping software system.
The following Christmas break, Sargent was asked back to do some more work with the Planning Commission, and by the spring she was offered a full-time job with the organization.
"I think the professors had a lot to do with it," Sargent says. "I'm very shy, so to be able to talk to my professors and feel comfortable with them was something that really drew me to the Geography Department. I definitely never would have got the internship if I didn’t feel comfortable going to my professor and her supporting us. And it's not just me, they do that for everyone."
Sargent is currently a Regional Planner for the Nashua Regional Planning Commission.