Sometimes opportunities happen all at once. For Amber Mose, who graduated this May with a UW Master of Science in Sustainable Management through UW-Oshkosh, they just keep coming.
Mose, who finished her degree just a few weeks ago, will take a leave of absence from her current employer, Enerpac, where she works as a sustainability specialist, to complete a 10-week fellowship with Arconic Aluminum through the Environmental Defense Fund (EDF) Climate Corps Fellowship program.
“I’ll be working with [Arconic Aluminum] to help them redo their supplier standard into a code of conduct this summer for material transparency and third scope emissions reductions. My employer is letting me do that as long as I come back,” Amber said.
The fellowship program through EDF is extremely competitive and prestigious. Amber decided to apply after reading an article about it in Greenbiz in 2021.
“I saw it as a ticket to a career in sustainability, as well as a little bit of a fast track to build my career and network. Now that I’m there, I’m seeing the wide variety of approaches different programs have to sustainability programs by talking to other fellows, and I’m glad I’m being exposed to it,” she said.
The Fellowship program aims to deliver bold solutions to reduce climate pollution and strengthen people’s and nature’s ability to thrive. Amber’s dedication to sustainability is not only exemplified by her being awarded this fellowship, but also by the fact her job at Enerpac as a sustainability specialist was created just for her.
“For the last five years, the goal has just been graduating and then finding a job doing something sustainability related. Until three months ago, I would never have guessed that that would have been here, so I’m still kind of reeling with shock from that,” Amber said.
Amber’s success is largely tied to the work she’s been doing in her graduate degree program. Amber, who graduated with a bachelor’s degree in German from the University of Wisconsin-Madison, knew she wanted a graduate degree, but wasn’t sure how to go about it. She’d taken a class on the history of the green political movement in Germany and recalled thinking: “This is what I want to do with the rest of my career, but I don’t know how to get there.”
Then, a friend who worked for the mayor’s office in Minneapolis suggested the University of Wisconsin master’s degree in Sustainable Management. So she began working for a company who offered tuition reimbursement to help pay for it. Then she found a job at Enerpac, which had a more flexible tuition reimbursement program that better met her needs. She started her degree in the summer of 2018, taking one class at a time while working full-time.
Her career began aligning with her interests in sustainability in the summer of 2021, when she applied for a Diversity, Equity and Inclusion role at Enerpac. However, the position was eliminated before an offer could come through. She kept in touch with her would-be boss and got involved with some early environmental, social, and governance (ESG) and sustainability reporting.
“For basically two years, I was in my role in the customer service department, which is what I got hired into, but I was doing sustainability stuff on the side,” she said.
Doing both was tough, so this past spring, her company created a role just for her–as a sustainability specialist, which she officially started April 1.
Not only did her time in the UW Sustainable Management program open up doors for her career, it also gave her a chance to truly figure out where she wants to focus her energy–and where she doesn’t. Thanks to the many elective courses in the curriculum, students can learn about a variety of subject areas.
When she entered the program, she was interested in the Sustainable Water Management course because her boyfriend (who works in the water industry) had encouraged her to try a similar path. However, the more she learned about water, the more she realized that it just wasn’t for her.
“Everybody there has such a heavy engineering background, and I don’t,” she said. “That doesn’t mean I won’t be successful, but sometimes there’s just places where I don’t want to have to work so hard. So, I ended up changing over to Supply Chain Management and then also Waste Management and Resource Recovery.”
The UW Sustainable Management program is built for students like Amber, who need flexibility due to full-time work or other commitments. Amber found that working backward from the dates her assignments were due (typically on Sunday evening) and creating appointments for herself was helpful.
“I basically set my homework time up each week. And I was like, well, this is an appointment that I’ve got with myself, where I’m going to be working on homework for two hours tonight, two hours Thursday night, and then two or three hours on Saturday morning.”
On days where it seemed like working full-time and going to school was overwhelming, Amber applied some advice she learned from her mom, who was a housecleaner.
“I’m a big proponent of ‘just start somewhere.’ She taught me to just pick a corner of the room where you’re cleaning and just go clockwise. It’s easier if you just start with something, and something is better than nothing. And if you have to come back to it on a different day, that’s OK.”
For students in online learning environments, not having someone standing over your shoulder telling you to work can be a dramatic shift from in-person classes.
“Which is great, but it’s also awful sometimes,” she said. “You must be your own boss to do it. So, make sure that you are prepared to be strict with yourself so you can get everything done on time and produce good work and pick up the things that you’re supposed to pick up so that it’s worthwhile for you to be here. I’ve told people to make sure your time management is pretty good, if not absolutely on point, and be open to learning more about your time management.”
While Amber isn’t sure if she has a specific dream job in mind, she knows that she wants to do something that matters, and something that allows her to live comfortably.
In the shorter term, she will start her fellowship, and her plan is to get a sustainability program up and running at Enerpac. She hopes to eventually move into a director role in the next five years, possibly in the manufacturing industry. Beyond that, she aspires to work in policy, because by then, she will have had many years of industry experience. “I’d like to take that perspective into policymaking if at all possible.”
Interested in learning more about the 100 percent online UW Sustainable Management Master’s Program? Take a look at the curriculum page or reach out to an enrollment adviser with any questions about the program. For more information, call 608-800-6762 or email email@example.com.