Master of Environmental Studies

Alumni Profile

Patricia Bateman, MES 2011, Marine Studies

Patricia Hildebrandt

What drew you to the MES program at The Evergreen State College?
I knew I wanted to pursue a graduate degree in the environmental field, but wasn’t sure exactly what I wanted my main area of study to be. I had spent a lot of time volunteering and interning in the environmental field, but my undergraduate education was in the health field. The MES Program allowed me to explore my options, while at the same time combining elements of the MPA program as well. I felt it would give me a well rounded graduate education while still providing me the opportunity to change my interest areas as time went on.

What was your thesis topic?
My thesis was a comparative policy analysis of Washington State and Hawaiian approaches to ballast water and hull fouling management for preventing the spread of aquatic invasive species.

What have you done and/or where have you worked since graduating from the MES program?
I currently work for the Washington Department of Fish and Wildlife as a Ballast Water Specialist. I feel pretty privileged to have the job I do, since I have since learned the Ballast Water program in Washington State only has 4 employees.

What skills and knowledge did you gain from MES?
The MES Program provided me with a well rounded background, and the education I went for. Most importantly though, I think it taught me to be take responsibility for my own education, and to be self driven. These are qualities I think people need to have to succeed in the Evergreen educational environment, and they translate to the real world very well.

How has MES influenced how you view the world around you?
The MES program reinforced a lot of the views I came into it with, but it helped me understand the different approaches needed to help people achieve the same goals, even if they have different motivations.

How has having a MES degree helped you since graduating?
I think my MES degree definitely helped me get the job I currently have. A master’s degree in general helps you get your foot in the door, but employers also recognize the skills and abilities that come with an MES graduate (at least in my job they do, since my current supervisor also has his MES degree!).  I know several other MES graduates who have gone on to work in the same field as they wrote their thesis on, and I don’t know a lot of other college graduates who can say that.

What advice would you give future MES students?
Take full advantage of the flexibility that Evergreen and the MES program offers. Don’t feel like you are confined to the electives offered by the program (though I enjoyed every MES elective I took); explore your interests through independent learning contracts and internships. As much as is possible become involved in the Evergreen community and the many opportunities it provides.  

Who has been an inspirational individual in your life?
My family as a whole- everyone brings something different to the picture and everyone has inspired me to be the best person I can be. I was lucky enough to grow up with family who encouraged me to do anything I wanted, and I was lucky enough to find that same kind of environment at Evergreen. Everyday my husband, who has been part of my life since my early teens, inspires me and encourages me to pursue my ambitions, and is proof himself that someone can go back to school as an adult and succeed.

And anything super interesting you think prospective and currents students should know about you!
My path through the MES Program wasn’t quick and straight forward- I love to learn about everything and am easily distracted by new and exciting topics. I did an independent contract looking at the political history of the Conservative party and the apparent split from traditional Conservationist ideas. I also changed my thesis topic (probably more than once), but initially planned to complete my studies in Creation Care, or the recent move towards Evangelical environmentalism. That is the joy of Evergreen- you can learn what you want, and you can almost always find a faculty member willing to help you. I also worked for the MES program, and Evergreen outside of the program, as a student and after I graduated, and fell in love with the school as a whole. It is a wonderful place where you get back what you put in, with no limit to the return.