Graduate Student Spotlight | Robert Beidler

Robert Beidler

Robert Beidler is currently enrolled in Hood College's Environmental Biology Master's program. He is also earning a certificate in GIS and worked as a graduate assistant in the Biology department.

Robert Beidler, M.S. Environmental Biology

Program

  • Environmental Biology (M.S.)
  • Geographic Information Systems (C)

Department

  • Biology

"The ability to earn a GIS certificate and get my Masters degree in Environmental Biology at Hood College was very appealing, and I feel like this has given me the skills necessary to feel confident when I apply for a job in the future."

Please briefly share your educational and professional background.

Prior to pursing my graduate degree at Hood College I attended Lebanon Valley College in Annville, PA. I graduated in 2018 with a Bachelor of Science degree in Biology. During my time there I took various ecology and environmental science classes as well as doing summer research on aquatic plants.

Following college, I worked as both an environment and ecological consultant performing regulatory report writing. After doing this work for over a year I felt it best to go back to get my Masters in Environmental Science and GIS Certificate to further my education in a field of interest.

It just so happened that Hood College had these programs and the assistantship was available for last fall, representing an excellent opportunity to go back to school.

You just recently started an internship, despite the current pandemic. Could you please tell us more about it? 

I am currently working with the Lower Paxton Township in Harrisburg, PA as a Stormwater(MS4) Environmental GIS intern for the summer. Given the pandemic I was forced to move back home temporarily and found this internship that focuses on stormwater and sanitary sewer management utilizing GIS-technology.

On a daily basis I go out and use advanced GPS devices to gather data and take this data and apply it to publicly available GIS-maps. Not only this but it also teaches how to maintain and use database services available through ArcGIS to store records.

This internship was of interest to me as it focuses both on environmental issues within a municipal government and used GIS-technology which I wanted to get more experience in.

What are some of the highlights of being a graduate assistant for the Biology department?

One of the highlights of being a graduate assistant was being able to teach the Intro to Environment Biology lab this past spring.

This was a very rewarding experience to independently plan weekly labs and teach various concepts that I feel passionate about.

Though it was quite difficult switching to remote learning, it was very rewarding to have excellent students who continued to work diligently to do their best weekly.

How is your Hood degree helping you with your skill set and your career?

Classwork at Hood has prepared me well to pursue a career in environmental science. Hood College's graduate program offers a broad curriculum that teaches many skills relevant to a potential career.

Coming in as an environmental consultant, Hood has given me skills to better my potential when applying for future jobs.

The ability to earn a GIS certificate and get my Masters degree in Environmental Biology at Hood College was very appealing, and I feel like this has given me the skills necessary to feel confident when I apply for a job in the future.

Do you have any advice for students who are currently looking for a job?

I think it’s important to gain experiences in many areas as you never know when those skills might help you in the future.

Gaining experience, along with furthering your education, can help both professionally and personally. Hood graduate faculty is extremely helpful and will do all they can to assist you during your time in the program as well as with potential career opportunities.

Being able to take graduate classes and work as a graduate assistant is an extremely rewarding experience that I'm very thankful for.

Inspired by Robert's story and ready to #GOFURTHER in your education and career? Click here to learn more about Hood's Environmental Biology Master's program and certificate in Geographic Information Systems (GIS).