Dr. Julia Novak Colwell
Environmental Conservation & Sustainability
University of New Hampshire
I’m from Cleveland, OH and went all the way to the University of San Diego to earn a BA in Environmental Studies with a minor in International Relations.
My first job out of college was TERRIBLE!
I was a data technician for a wind energy company and just sat there in a cube for 8 hours each day entering wind tower data into excel. I lasted only 8 months and then actually had to work for free for the last two weeks of my job to pay back my signing bonus! 🙂
I left the job to start as a kayaking park ranger out on the Boston Harbor Islands – it was wonderful.
I led interpretive tours – wild edible tours and island history tours around Grape & Spectacle Island for one season. Then the winter came and because it was a seasonal job, I felt compelled to search for a different one.
I began working for Earthwatch Institute (an environmental NGO) as a Field Management Coordinator and that is where I realized that, despite really liking the organization and believing in its mission, everyone that had a job that I could see myself in long term within the organization, had a graduate degree, and most of them had PhDs.
So, I decided to go back to graduate school after 2 years there.
While at Earthwatch, I travelled to India for work and through that experience, grew to love the country. I knew I wanted to do work/research in India so I looked specifically for graduate programs and potential advisers who were doing work in natural resource management in India – and that is how I found myself at Michigan State University pursuing a PhD in Fisheries & Wildlife. Six or so years later (and 1.5 of those years being in India), I earned my PhD.
I decided, through the teaching experiences I had while trying to fund myself through my PhD, that teaching is what I wanted to pursue long term. After finishing my PhD, I spent two years at Drexel University in Philadelphia as a Visiting Assistant Professor and a semester at Wellesley College outside of Boston as a visiting lecturer before coming to join our NREN family here at UNH!