Jakob Lindaas

Research Assistant, Department of Earth and Planetary Sciences, Harvard University

"People still ask me what I want to "be" or what I am going to do with my life and I'm not all that certain I am any closer to a definite answer to that question than when I was 12. But if I have to guess right now my career would be something like this. After receiving a Ph.D. in Atmospheric Chemistry or Ecology or another environmental sciences-related field I will put my skills to work trying to improve the translation of thoroughly researched science into effective policy at a local, state, or possibly national level of government. I anticipate working within the government, business, and non-profit sectors at some point in my career on the same sorts of issues surrounding sustainability and climate change. The broad education I received from ESPP and from Harvard should allow me to collaborate and communicate with people in all of these sectors. And in the near-term future before I begin my Ph.D., I plan to work as a research assistant for 1-2 years, and as a policy assistant in government for a year or two to help guide my choice of field and probable direction after finishing school. 

My favorite ESPP experience was almost certainly the oceanographic research trip (ESPP on a Boat!) we took this past January (2013). We sailed for a week out from Key West aboard the Corwith Cramer, a brigantine operated by the SEA Semester program out of Woods Hole. I had never been out to sea, or sailed a ship of any size before, much less to oceanographic sampling at the same time! But all these things I got to do, and amongst the company of some of the best people at Harvard! Intellectually, it was especially fun for me as I had taken a class on oceanography from Professor McCarthy (who led the trip) the previous spring and so I got a chance to put into practice much of the things we had learned. And of course sailing under the night sky with every star twinkling at you while rolling through waves resplendent with bioluminescent phytoplankton is an experience I'll never forget!

I think ESPP is such a wonderful experience because of the people you meet, study with, and learn from. From the fun-loving and awesome classmates that became close friends, to the great TFs that became mentors, to the Professors who took us under their wing and helped cultivate passions, to our wonderful administrator Lorraine who cared about everyone and made everything run smoothly, the people I was so fortunate to be around definitely made ESPP the right choice for me!"
- Class of '13