Career Advice from Marta
By: Kelly Siegel
When I was young I always had an interest in the environment. Every summer, my family would take vacations to Bayfield, Wisconsin, a small town on Lake Superior. I loved swimming in Lake Superior and being able to see the sand bottom. Bayfield is also home to the Apostle Islands National Lakeshore. This is a special place to me, and a place that I hope can be preserved forever.
Now, that I am interning at the Environmental Protection Agency, I see firsthand what goes into protecting our environment and national treasures like the Apostle Islands. I wanted to learn more about specific careers at the EPA, so I sat down with Marta Fuoco to learn more about her job.
What is your position at the EPA?
I am a Senior Scientist in the Air and Radiation Division in the Air Monitoring and Analysis Section.
What is a typical day like for you?
Typically, my day includes data analysis of criteria and toxic pollutants – specifically hydrogen sulfide and methane.
What is the best part of your job?
I get to work with a great set of knowledgeable coworkers who share many of the same interests. In addition, it is a great feeling to see measureable results that positively impact the health and environment of the communities that we work with.
Did you always have an interest in the environment?
I have always had an interest in the environment, but more specifically on the public health side. My deeper interest came from the classes I took in graduate school.
What classes did you take in school that you use on the job today?
I use skills from the many classes I’ve taken, going as far back as high school, such as chemistry and math, as well as information from graduate school classes, such as industrial hygiene, environmental and occupational health, and statistics.
Do you have any advice for kids today who have an interest in protecting our environment?
Start small! Pay attention to what you do on a daily basis in your own life. Take the necessary steps to recycle or use green products and observe how the environment affects your health. Look out for Air Quality Action Days and respond accordingly to help protect the environment.
Kelly Siegel is a student volunteer in the EPA’s Air and Radiation Division in Region 5, and is currently obtaining her Master’s degree in Urban Planning and Policy at the University of Illinois at Chicago. She has a passion for sustainable development, running, and traveling with friends.
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