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From Bike Path to Career Path – Passing Through EPA’s Office of Sustainable Communities

2011 June 16

By Jennifer Woods

Growing up in the small university and bike- friendly town of Davis, California, I had the joy of biking or walking to school, sports practice and work almost every day — from my first day of kindergarten until I graduated from high school. To be honest, my mom and dad didn’t give me an option. Despite my attempts at begging for a ride some mornings, my mom always told me that we lived in a safe town with plenty of parks, trails, sidewalks and schools close by, so there was no reason to drive. Over time, my complaints ceased and I became accustomed to riding my bike everywhere. Then, when I went off to college, eager to use my bike, I was surprised to find that my new home for the next four years wasn’t exactly bike-friendly… I had to use the car much more than I would have liked.

During my second year of college, I took a planning class and learned about this thing called “Smart Growth.” It all made so much sense to me….and I’ve been hooked ever since. At school I took as many sustainable planning classes as possible, and interned during the summers at an organization in California that works to promote sustainable communities.

As I finish up my time in school, I feel lucky to have had the opportunity to intern here at EPA in the Office of Sustainable Communities. It has been an amazingly fun, interesting and rewarding experience being surrounded by knowledgeable people, all working hard to help create more sustainable communities across the country. My work experience at EPA helped me realize that this is the career for me. I want others to have the same opportunity to grow up in a community that encourages people to bike and walk to school safely, just like I did.

For now, I’m eager to head back to Davis, park my car and put my bike to use every day. I’ll also thank my mom and dad for instilling in me the habits that put me on the path to appreciating the livable and sustainable aspects of my community.

About the author: Jennifer Woods just completed her internship in EPA’s Office of Sustainable Communities. She’ll soon be graduating from college with honors with a bachelor’s degree in Political Science and a minor in Urban Studies and Planning.

Editor’s Note: The opinions expressed in Greenversations are those of the author. They do not reflect EPA policy, endorsement, or action, and EPA does not verify the accuracy or science of the contents of the blog.

Editor's Note: The opinions expressed in Greenversations are those of the author. They do not reflect EPA policy, endorsement, or action, and EPA does not verify the accuracy or science of the contents of the blog.

12 Responses leave one →
  1. Graco Bassinet permalink
    June 16, 2011

    This is a very interesting post by Jennifer Woods, here she share her experience with us. Also she give a kind of motivation to us. Nice one.

    Regards

  2. Joan permalink
    June 16, 2011

    I agree! it’s nice to know there are dedicated people like Jennifer helping to plan a more sustainable future.

  3. Alan Gregory permalink
    June 17, 2011

    Nicely crafted essay. Davis is certainly among the exceptions to the ruling of the American landscape by the personal family car. In Pennsylvania, where I lived for 20 years until moving to Vermont earlier this month, it was common for neighbors to get into their cars and drive a half-mile to get their mail at the post office.

  4. Kim Burnett permalink
    June 19, 2011

    Jennifer I commend your actions and commitment to our environment. Urban planning is a critical area in sustainability. I too have just finished a program in Sustainable Building Science. I just wish that I had an internship available to me. Good luck I know that you will do well as will I. It is up to people like us to make the changes that will ensure the sustainability of the future.

  5. Rent a Car Europe permalink
    August 11, 2011

    Driving, across the country or merely a state line or two, is the quintessential sport. Our cars transport us to destinations like family reunions, vacations and honeymoons. You won’t find it on the front page of the sports section, but driving, windows down, music blaring and sunshine hot on your face has become a tradition that’s getting more popular every year.

  6. Mama Bicycle permalink
    September 9, 2011

    I enjoyed reading this post. I noticed that Davis is the most wonderful bike place in the US and she grew in Davis.
    I am Shuichi who is writing about Japanese bikes for moms and their children. Here is the link to my blog. http://mamabicycle.blogspot.com/
    I was nominated at the top 25 bicycle blogs for moms recently. I hope I will introduce Mama Bicycles to people in Davis or other bike friendly cities. Thank you.

  7. Reno permalink
    November 1, 2011

    I noticed that Davis is the most wonderful bike place in the US and she grew in Davis.

  8. Danny permalink
    November 1, 2011

    Jennifer I commend your actions and commitment to our environment. Urban planning is a critical area in sustainability.

  9. Michael Vermillion permalink
    February 6, 2012

    Sounds like a great internship!

    Does the EPA Office of Sustainable Communities offer similar internship opportunities every year? How do you apply?

  10. Jenny's Dad permalink
    April 4, 2012

    Michael: for EPA internship information, check out their page at http://www.epa.gov/careers/internships/index.html

    Jen had a great time and the experience helped her land her current job working with an organization that offers a variety of services to assist local elected officials, their staff, and other dedicated community leaders in creating healthy walkable, and resource-efficient communities.

  11. Jameel Abdur-Rafia permalink
    June 6, 2012

    yea

  12. Jaimon/Jai permalink
    June 11, 2013

    An exceptional perception in this world full of killing emissions and, radiations of all kinds, a great way to look to the future of this world.
    Amazing parents and way to teach the kids to recognize and appreciate our environment and the relativity of each flora and fauna in our ecosystem.

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