Yes, you will learn how to use a chainsaw … and that’s just the beginning.
You will graduate with a robust résumé, a senior thesis, and a deep, abiding determination to reshape humanity’s relationship with the natural world.
Sterling College’s graduating ecological stewards go on to careers as ecologists, artists, professors, writers, farmers, entrepreneurs, directors of environmental organizations, librarians, city planners, foresters, Peace Corps volunteers, and teachers. They become the doers, thinkers, scholars, and practitioners that will transform the environmental landscape of the 21st century.
of our alumni report that they were employed within 1 year of graduation.
of our alumni report that their employment is related to their area of study.
of our alumni report that they are meeting their career goals.
A Sterling College education builds the skills, knowledge, and experience of its students holistically. Not only will you leave with the skills to survive and thrive on an expedition and the interpersonal skills needed to live in a community, you will also develop the following competencies:
1. Ecological Fluency
Achieve a sophisticated understanding of and personal engagement with ecological systems.
- Understand the processes underpinning ecosystem function and the distribution of life on Earth.
- Recognize and assess interrelationships among human and non-human communities.
- Practice place-based field observation and interpretation, using methods from different areas of study.
- Engage with the natural world through direct experience outdoors in a variety of environments and seasons.
2. Knowledge of Intersecting Social Contexts
Understand societies and cultures as dynamic and complex systems of relationships and interdependencies.
- Understand and critically engage with intersecting social systems.
- Demonstrate cross-cultural understanding.
- Integrate contextual understanding in real-world situations.
3. Critical and Creative Thinking
Use research and creative endeavor to explore concepts, experiences, and artifacts.
- Gather information from a wide variety of primary and secondary sources.
- Analyze and synthesize information.
- Design and conduct qualitative and quantitative research.
- Demonstrate creative problem-solving across areas of knowledge.
- Exhibit proficiency with appropriate technical skills and tools.
4. Communication Skills
Articulate ideas and share information clearly, using a diversity of approaches.
- Express ideas in a clear, informed, and engaging manner.
- Demonstrate fluency with oral, written, and other forms of communication in a variety of contexts and to a variety of audiences.
- Listen respectfully to others and participate in civil dialogue.
- Develop the capacity to express individual voice, perspectives, and creativity.
5. Socio-Ecological Engagement and Practice
Become effective environmental stewards and community members.
- Demonstrate responsibility within human and ecological communities.
- Cultivate and practice self-awareness and personal resilience.
- Apply skills and knowledge to help build community and ecological resilience.
- Participate in discussion and decision-making in a range of situations.
- Exercise leadership and cooperation, including when facing challenges.
“Sterling taught me about a life that I had no idea existed. It also gave me the chance to understand myself and feel proud of who I am as a learner.” —Vincent Wisniewski ’11, Science Educator for Alaska Geographic, Denali National Park
Meet Sterling Alumni Ecological Thinkers & Doers:
Julie Wormser ’86 — Executive Director at The Boston Harbor Association
Tracy Patton Zschau ’93 —Conservation Director at the Vermont Land Trust
David Stolpe ’94—At-Risk Student Intervention, Restorative Practices, and Project Based Learning Specialist at Lane Intermediate School
Jeff Fournier ’00—Budget and Operations Officer for U.S. Programs at the Institute for Sustainable Communities
Anna Wilkins (Heidorn) ’02—Executive Director at North County Land Trust
Kim McIntyre ’04—McIntyre Furniture and Wood Studio Manager at Pratt Fine Arts Center
Christina Wild ’05 —Forest Kindergarten teacher
Julie Scott (Olson) ’07—Farm Manager at Slough Farm Foundation
Hannah Volmer ’07—Field Technician at Hubbard Brook Experimental Forest
Jamethiel Crabb ’10 —Administrative Assistant at Global Environmental Health and Safety
Brittany Benedetti ’12 —Ropes Course Facilitator at Hockomock YMCA
Jaci Slattery ’13 —Head Grower at Hickories Organic Farm
Melissa Eckstrom ’14—Education and Outreach Assistant at Willow Bend Environmental Education Center and Garden Caretaker at the Museum of Northern Arizona
Andrew Marshall ’14 —Fish Culturist at Australis Aquaculture
Spencer Craig ’16 —Herdsman at Marty Gringerich’s 600 sow gestation and farrowing operation