Our MES Alumni

The best environmental solutions come from a wide variety of perspectives. MES students have a range of academic and life experiences, and alumni go on to many different careers.

Our graduates go on to many different environmental careers and studies:

  • Develop and run non-profit organizations
  • Work for national, state, local, and tribal governments
  • Resource management, research, and policy development
  • Environmental education and outreach

Many also continue further study, earning Ph.D.s or additional professional degrees.

Get to know some of our MES students and alumni and hear about their successes and experiences in their own words.

MES Alumni

Rhys Roth, 1990

Rhys RothIn the future our freezers may have the capability to skip a cycle, not enough to affect food, but enough collectively to save significant amounts of energy. Railways may be able to transport millions of people using 100 percent wind power, and electric cars may be the only type of vehicle on the road, with minutes-long charging stations replacing gas pumps.

Rhys Roth ’87, MES ’90 believes in these changes and believes the Northwest can help lead the way, making substantial impact on infrastructure crisis—and ultimately, on climate change.

Read more about Rhys's work with Center for Sustainable Infrastructure.

Tyrus Smith, 1997tyrus

Tyrus Smith completed his MES in 1997. He has been a faculty member at The Evergreen State College since 2001. Currently, he teaches a variety of environmental studies and environmental policy courses, and leads student learning in research and statistics at the Evergreen Tacoma campus.

At Evergreen Tacoma, students work with a faculty advisor from their admission until their graduation, and Tyrus regularly advises up to 24 undergraduate students annually. He sees his advising position as a platform to help guide students so they draw their own conclusions about their education; it is his job to ask the right questions as students explore different ideas and opportunities during their education. MES is excited to announce that Tyrus will be joining the MES faculty team in the 2018-19 academic year!

Read more about Tyrus's work at Evergreen and advice for students.

Christine Svetkovich

Christine Svetkovitch, 2000

Completing MES started Christine on a journey that led from environmental education and community development in the Russian Far East all the way back to the Pacific Northwest. Now she works for the Oregon Department of Environmental Quality, focusing on policy and implementation.

Read about Christine’s experiences and advice.

Brian Footen

Brian Footen, 2001

Brian’s company Flying FishViews has demonstrated a dramatic new approach to storytelling and environmental study that takes people on a journey of exploration and discovery above and below the water.

Read more about Brian and Flying FishViews in The Evergreen Magazine.

Rachael Jamison, 2003

Rachael Jamison is the Planning, Public Works and Environmental Director at the Port of Olympia. In this role she oversees all environmental management, sustainability reporting, regulatory environmental site assessments, and compliance and capital investments. Beyond all that, she also directs the Engineering department at the Port on infrastructure projects, remediation projects (e.g. Budd Inlet), and the City of Olympia’s sea level rise plan. Rachael leads a team of 5 (including herself) – 3 with environmental expertise, and 2 engineers. In addition to her copious duties at the Port, she coaches and leads various community running events. At present, Rachael is working to complete her Master in Business Administration at St Martin’s University.

Read more about Rachael's experiences.

Fiona Edwards, 2014

Fiona Edwards (MES 2014) earned a BA in Philosophy and Cognitive Psychology from Bard College in New York in 2011. After considering a master’s degree in Liberal Studies from the New School, working at a plant nursery, and trying out her hand at marketing for a liquor company, she decided to move back to the west coast (she’s originally from Los Angeles) to pursue education in the MES program. Fiona had previously worked in prisons during her time at the Bard Prison Initiative and had enjoyed her experience. The Sustainability in Prisons Project (SPP) was one of the major reasons Fiona decided to attend Evergreen, and she eventually accepted a position as a student Program Coordinator there during her 1st year in MES.

Read more about Fiona's story.

Jana Fischback, 2014

I’ve always been a nerd who loves learning, and after I graduated with my Bachelor's degree in communications I realized I wanted to focus my career on the environment.

I began looking at grad schools, and Evergreen’s program seemed to fit my needs the best. I loved that it was interdisciplinary and would provide a well-rounded background for whatever career I decide to pursue. I didn’t have a lot of science background and this degree is very accommodating to that.

Read more of Jana's story.


Chelsea Waddell, 2015

Chelsea Waddell believes strongly in the importance of networking with a job, agency, or opportunity of interest. Some of her strongest advice for current and prospective MES students is to make those professional connections as early and as often as possible. She recommends volunteering (though she acknowledges this can be very challenging for graduate students), interning, joining professional societies, taking short-term and contract positions, and reaching out to the leaders working in the fields you want to work in. Not all of these are easy options for graduate students, but they are opportunities available to students who join the MES program.  

Read more about Chelsea's advice for MES students and her professional work experience post MES.

Josh Carter, 2016

What drew me to the MES degree at Evergreen was mostly the interdisciplinary nature of the program, which allows me to combine my favorite sciences with my passion for ecological justice, but also the practicality of environmental studies when compared to other "pure science" fields. Research is awesome, but research that I can also use to fix problems is even better. Also, Evergreen seemed like an ideal college for me. Other institutions have MES degrees, but Evergreen seems like a place where the entire college seems infused with the environmental studies ethos.  

Read the rest of Josh's story.

Rhianna Hruska

Rhianna Hruska, 2016

The research and writing skills I developed during MES has opened doors to other research opportunities. I also enjoyed the Evergreen learning community and cohort model so much that I decided to continue my studies as a Master of Public Administration program candidate with a Public and Nonprofit Administration concentration.

See how the MES program helped Rhianna grow.

This is a picture of Natalie Sahli

Natalie Sahli, 2016

My experience in the MES program was memorable far beyond the intellectual achievements it supported. The people in the program truly allowed for a positive experience. The faculty included many of the best instructors and most progressive thinkers I have encountered in my academic career.  

Read Natalies highlights of the MES Program.

This is a picture of Yonit Yogev

Yonit Yogev, 2017

I got to the MES program at Evergreen via a rather circuitous route.

Born in South Florida, I moved to Israel during my sophomore year of college and lived there for 11 years. I moved back to the States (Seattle) with my husband in 1991, and we’ve been residents of the Pacific Northwest (more or less) since then, with some times out for long-term travel.

Read the rest of Yonit's story.

This is a picture of Trace Mckellips

Trace McKellips, 2017

It has been a long journey that has led me to the MES program. I started out in South Dakota, spending my childhood rollicking in small town adventures--playing baseball and the baritone, exploring gravel roads, sometimes traveling to the Twin Cities for big city fun. After my freshman year of college, I worked as a political canvasser. It was a little jarring for my 19 year-old self to be introduced to how destructive industries can be to people and the environment alike, often with government support. I returned my sophomore year and changed my path from business to political science, working to understand how and why decisions are made in our political system.

Read more of Trace's story.