What to do with an environmental/geography degree? Administrative Planning Technician

Marina Jankovic is an Administrative Planning Technician with the Toronto Region Conservation Authority (TRCA). She graduated in 2015 from the four year honours environmental studies program with a specialization in planning.

Describe your job with TRCA.

In my current job, I lead the review of official permit drafts in hard and soft format for grammar, comprehension and consistency of technical information with respect to the application and supporting documentation. In addition I applied, reviewed and processed fees for all permits approved.

Tell us your work journey after the degree: what went well? What was challenging?

Without a direct relationship with anyone in the industry, I was able to get interviews for administrative jobs in the environmental field because of my well polished resume and transferable skills gained in my co-op/ work study positions (that I sought out on my own during my studies). After graduation the biggest challenge for me was being a successful candidate in those interviews but I overcame this by learning from each experience.

How did you use what you learned? When did you feel like “I wish that they had taught me about this in university!”

The biggest challenge as I mentioned for me was being successful in interviews. However I used my course syllabi, company websites, regulations, and texts to sharpen my answers. Keep those syllabi!

I wish I learned in university how to introduce myself in a meaningful way when networking at events. I feel like this would have allowed me to make a better and more lasting impression on potential employers or mentors.

Thinking back to when you were in high school, what made you want to get into this? How does what you are doing match, and differ, from what you thought?

I was always fascinated with nature and the human impact and relationship with it. In my current role, I get to work with planners on all types of projects that are happening in York, Peel, Toronto and Durham Region. I get to see the various aspects that allow a project to start, continue or stop because of its impact on the environment.

Any other advice for people thinking of an undergrad environmental degree?

If you want to pursue a career in planning you should research what professional organizations you’ll need a membership with, and how to meet those requirements after graduation.