Have you ever had on the job training? I once was part of a 9 month on the job training program and never really thought about the materials that were being used. It is people like Steven Dean who make this training possible. I sat down with Steven the other day to learn more about his job at the EPA.
What is your position at the EPA?
I am an Instructional Systems Specialist. Essentially I am a curriculum developer. I take content and apply instructional design elements.
Do you have prior work experiences that lead you to the EPA?
I was an Instructional Systems Specialist in Corporate America and for the Department of Defense before coming to EPA.
What is a typical day like for you?
Really varies. A typical day starts by looking at where we are at in various curriculums and making sure we have gathered all the necessary information to support the learning objectives that need to be developed. We also have to make sure we have correct subject matter experts in place, along with the right resources, to develop objects to design accurate programs.
What is the best part of your job?
I love the people. People here are engaged and go out of their way to help. If they can’t find what you need, they will get you in touch with someone who can. Everyone at EPA works together to ensure EPA’s mission is accomplished.
Did you always have an interest in the environment?
I did. I grew up in West Virginia and my backyard was mountains and beautiful. I would camp and hike on the weekends. I would also see the effects of mountain top coal removal and was not a fan. In addition, while in the military, working with machinery, I was conscientious and wanted to ensure that if spills happened proper clean up followed.
What classes did you take in school that you use on the job today?
I have my degree in Workforce Education Development and use all of the classes from my training. Some of these classes include: labor linkages, skills management, adult learning and adult psychology. I also use English and writing skills. My education is exactly what I do.
Do you have any advice for kids today who have an interest in protecting our environment?
When you are in grade school and high school and think that math and science are not cool, you are wrong! If you know math and science you can hold great power as an adult. We need more S.T.E.M. training at the high school and college level, to ensure new knowledge. Even if it is hard, stick with it!
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.