Q&A WIth Alumnus Christopher Borjian, BA 2009

November 17, 2011

Chris Borjian at work at the Marin Municipal Water District

Christopher Borjian graduated in 2009 with honors from Environmental Studies. He was recently hired, after a competitive selection process, at the Marin Municipal Water District as a Water Distribution Trainee. Chris wrote us with some information about his new job, and what being an ENVS student was like.

You graduated from ENVS with a Bachelor's Degree; did you have a research focus while you were completing the major?

While my undergraduate education primarily focused on natural resource management in California, particularly pertaining to freshwater resources, I took a wide array of interdisciplinary courses while at UCSC.

Did you complete a senior project? 

I was part of a senior seminar lead by Professor Brent Haddad.  The seminar was titled "Managing Fresh Water Resources" and focused on the workings of municipal water systems in California.  This seminar also provided me with the necessary training to gain several certifications from the California Department of Public Health in both water distribution and treatment operations.

Did you have any favorite classes, or a favorite part of the program?

I loved all of the courses I took as an ENVS undergrad and I know that the interdisciplinary nature of the environmental studies department allowed me tremendous educational and professional opportunities.  Courses that I was especially connected to were Fresh Water Policy, Political Economy and the Environment, Natural Resource Economics, Agroecology and Sustainable Agriculture.  I also took full advantage of the ENVS department’s wonderful internship program, interning on the CASFS farm and with the Environmental Health and Safety Dept.  Overall my favorite part of the program was the amazing faculty that make up the ENVS department and I am so thankful for all invaluable advice I received from them throughout my undergraduate career.

What are you currently doing related to your ENVS degree?

I recently started working for the Marin Municipal Water District in Corte Madera, CA as a Water Distribution System operator.  The certifications I was able to attain as a result of my senior seminar in Managing Fresh Water Resources were a crucial part of my selection for this position and my interdisciplinary education is a highly valued asset in waterworks. 

Any advice you would give to undergraduates in the major, or those thinking about majoring in ENVS?

The main piece of advice I would give is to take advantage of the interdisciplinary nature of ENVS by taking a wide variety of courses and to make an effort to meet with professors, lecturers and TAs during office hours and after class, they are amazingly accomplished people full of fantastic advice.  I would also highly recommend doing as many internships as possible in a variety of fields, it is the best way to expand your undergraduate education and provides you with experiences that you cannot get elsewhere.

Thanks Chris!

If you are an alumni of the Environmental Studies Department and would like to tell us what you're up to, please email us, with the subject line "Alumni Updates." We'd love to hear from you!

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