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According to the Environmental Protection Agency’s Head of Strategic Climate Projects Kristen Taddonio, students interested in a job at the EPA don’t necessarily need to major in environmental studies.

In a lecture yesterday as part of the “Make an Impact: Discover Careers in the Federal Government” program, Taddonio stressed that students interested in the EPA should broaden their horizons. She recommended gaining an understanding of technical issues, taking some engineering and science classes and accumulating business experience.

Approximately 20 audience members trickled into the Golkin Room in Houston Hall to hear Taddonio give advice on getting a job in the federal government. Taddonio also discussed her environmental projects at the EPA, which include the marketing of new technology to major American corporations.

“It’s great to know that the work I do has an impact on not only the people I live with but also future generations,” Taddonio said of her five-and-a-half year career at the EPA.

She stressed that in addition to studying a broad variety of subjects, students should get involved in extracurricular student organizations during college. Taddonio herself was in several environmental and outdoor recreational groups as an undergraduate at George Washington University.

“The best memory I have from school was when the new president said they would try to take steps to make our school greener,” Taddonio said in an interview. “And that was as a result of our work.”

Taddonio encouraged students to apply for either volunteer work or an internship at the EPA before graduation.

Stephen Andersen, Taddonio’s former boss and director of the Strategic Climate Projectsat the EPA, spoke about Taddonio’s start as an intern.

He said she is successful at understanding what needs to be done and able to bring everyone together to work for the greater cause. “She’s quite the orchestra conductor,” he said.

In an interview, Taddonio said what she enjoys most about her job now is being able to work with people. During her talk, she dispelled common myths about federal government jobs, including the notion that government employees are simply “paper pushers.”

College and Wharton senior Emily Wengel, who attended the event, said Taddonio’s talk was “very informative.” Wengel said she has an interest in renewable energy and is looking into the EPA for a future job.

During the discussion, Taddonio cited several job web sites where college students can find job openings — like the 29 EPA jobs currently available on the U.S. jobs web site.

However, she added, “Don’t just wait for an opening. Sometimes you just have to ask.”

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