Kaitlyn Thayer '19

One question haunted my mind as I began my job hunt senior year -- did I pick the right major? 

Two years earlier, I declared environmental studies because I felt a responsibility to the climate crisis, the most important issue facing our world today. The severity of climate change, on a societal and natural level, is monumental and vastly misconceived. As I looked past college, I knew one thing for sure, I would remain within the climate space.

But with that decision made, I still couldn’t ignore the itch on my shoulder -- I loved art and writing more.

I’m the “creative one” in my family. The one who loves to paint and draw. The one who writes and acts out stories. The one who turns into a director the moment a video camera shows up. My college writing and art classes brought out a different side of me — a side I did not want to lose.

So, there I was, an environmental studies major who wanted to remain within the field with very little interest in working in a lab, writing policy, collecting samples, or analyzing data. I was terrified that working within the climate space meant I’d have to sacrifice my creative passions.

It turns out, there was no need for worry. After graduating from Hamilton, I interned with the communications team at World Resources Institute (WRI) before transitioning to my current position. At WRI, I quickly realized that I didn’t have to be a scientist or a researcher to remain in the environmental sector — quite the opposite, really.

Research and data are the bones of science, but communications and storytelling are the joints that drive change. Communications work takes scientific messaging and reworks it into digestible blogs, clear graphics, thought-provoking videos, and timely social media posts. I’ve become more passionate about finding engaging ways to explain how important it is to protect our communities, homes, and neighbors from the catastrophic impacts of climate change. Working in communications has pushed me to think intellectually, meaningfully, and creatively. A win-win-win in my book!

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