FROM THE FIELD TO A FORK IN THE ROAD
Cynthia G Perrine; 1745 Portola Street, San Luis Obispo, CA, 93405; (530) 570-7036; perrine.cynthia@gmail.com;
One size doesn't fit all in the wildlife profession, and key transferable skills can help with transitions as one pursues a career. I followed a fairly standard approach, attending a 4-year university with a wildlife program, working as a student assistant with California Department of Fish and Wildlife, and pursuing graduate school studying a hunting-related habitat question. The career I envisioned involved collecting data in remote locations, backpacking for days at a time, immersing in field studies and publishing manuscripts that would speak the science. When a work accident left me with a serious back injury, my options for field studies were compromised. Getting injured while gaining experience in restoration with an international nonprofit wasn't the learning opportunity I sought in graduate school, but it presented a fork in the road that likely changed my career more than anything biology-related that I learned. While I fought a partial disability to remain in field appointments I met a lot of human resources and administrative staff working in wildlife management organizations. I started to see the need for more scientists to be trained in people management techniques, administrative roles, and provide guidance to the entrepreneurial aspect of our scientific studies, knowing the science behind the business operation. When the opportunity presented itself, I took a program management job, was surprised by how much I enjoyed planning, and actually enjoyed people. I eventually drastically adjusted my career objectives and enrolled in a master of business administration. I see a demand for more scientists to be trained in business management and leadership, and apply business theories to natural resource research and management.
Ecology and Conservation of Bats I