Alumni Stories—Dacia Meneguzzo
BS, Forestry, 2000
Current job/field: Research Forester, PhD candidate
Employer: USDA Forest Service
Preparing for life after graduation . . . I started the job-hunting process midway through my senior year at Michigan Tech. Most of my searching was done via the Internet, including email, but I also attended job fairs. I was eager to start working!
My first job after graduation was as an appraiser/forester for the US Fish and Wildlife Service in Fort Snelling, Minnesota. I appraised parcels of land proposed for acquisition by the USFWS and had the chance to work in a variety of geographic areas, including Minnesota, Iowa, Michigan, and Alaska. While this was a great job, I wanted to find something else that was more closely related to forestry, so I began searching for a new federal job. With the aid of my forestry degree, I was selected for a forester position with the USDA Forest Service’s Forest Inventory and Analysis National Program in St. Paul, Minnesota. I started graduate school soon afterwards and obtained a master’s degree. The combination of my work experience and forestry-related degrees enabled me to advance to a new position as a research forester. In this job, I have a variety of responsibilities, but my primary duties are analyzing and reporting on our forest inventory data and conducting my own scientific research. I get to travel regularly and have been to some great places! Last fall, I enrolled in a PhD program in Natural Resources Science and Management and am looking forward to a future filled with interesting work and research.
The forestry degree that I received at Michigan Tech has been essential to my career development. It helped me land my first positions with the federal government and provided a strong, well-rounded education in forestry that has allowed me to be successful in my profession. I still keep my forestry textbooks in my office and refer back to them regularly. My tenure with the Forest Service thus far has been both challenging and rewarding. I continually learn new things and build upon the forestry foundation I obtained at Michigan Tech.
One new skill I have had to develop since being in school is keeping up with the advancement of Graphic Information Systems (GIS) technology. I use GIS on a daily basis, and it seems like there are always new and better ways of using it to conduct my research. I never thought I would use a computer and so many different software programs on a regular basis as a forester. When I was in school, I would have liked to know just how important computer skills are in this line of work and that spending most of your time in an office is a reality.
Additionally, I think it's helpful to realize that when you are starting out, no job is perfect in every aspect. What I have found to be important is having good people to work with and doing something that you enjoy so you are happy and productive. This will make you successful in your career!
Bachelor of Science in Forestry, 2000