Melissa Skyer

Melissa Skyer

Hometown

Rochester, N.Y., currently living in Los Angeles, Calif.

Degree programs

B.S. Biology, 2004
M.S. Environmental Science, 2006

Year of graduation

2006

Place of employment

The Southern California Gas Company, a Sempra Energy Utility

Job Title

Senior Environmental Specialist/Biologist

Work Responsibilities

Southern California is one of the world’s few top biodiversity hotspots due to varying climate and topography, and includes a mosaic of habitat types that are home to more than 300 threatened and endangered species. The state of California also is famous for advanced and stringent environmental regulations as compared to the rest of the country. My job includes reviewing the environmental aspects of pipeline operations and maintenance projects across our 20,000 square mile service territory. I perform desktop reviews, site visits, special status surveys of various species, compile federal and state permits for surface water quality issues as well as threatened and endangered species and migratory birds. I love my job as I get a variety of field and office work and I really enjoy protecting California’s unique and beautiful natural resources in the desert, along the coastline and in the valleys.

How my career relates to my degree from RIT/NTID

My previous job in Chicago was as an environmental consultant where I focused more on the botanic/ecological field of environmental science. My current job in Southern California is wildlife and regulation focused and I was able to have flexibility in my career choices. My education at RIT provided me with a broad and thorough understanding of environmental science in general which made it easy for me to change paths and “wear many hats” in my career.

Advice

Pursue your passions. We have the rest of our lives to work and it will be much more pleasant if you enjoy what you do!

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