Olin Reed traveled across the U.S. between high school and college, visiting state and national parks, national forests, and other public lands. The long road trip inspired him to pursue an environmental science degree at Vermont State University’s Johnson campus. “I figured that I should do something to help preserve places like that, do whatever I can to help better the world around me,” he said.
Olin is getting real-world experience early on. He’ll pursue an independent study using his work for his father’s Hyde Park-based land-planning business to help with the research of his academic adviser, Les Kanat.
For his independent study, Olin will learn how to map land and test soils for the septic systems that his father’s business designs and installs. Soil systems are important in environmental science. “What my father does is something I could do in the future with an environmental science degree,” he said.
Opening up Career Options
With a variety of fields where he could use his environmental science background — biology, chemistry, geology, renewable energy and others — “I feel like there’s a broad range of things I could go into after graduation,” said Olin, who lives in Morrisville.
One of his interests is designing wind and solar farms, which involves soil testing. “The big dream is to do research in Antarctica” related to renewable energy, he said.
Working as a ranger at a state or national park also appeals to Olin. “The big reason I’m doing all of this is to help preserve the natural world,” he said.
For Olin, the Johnson campus is the best place to learn about preserving the natural world. “The community and people here are great,” he said. “It’s an open-minded community.”
When Olin had to be out of the state for an extended time because of a family emergency, his professors supported him so he could finish his courses online. “It was just amazing having their understanding and flexibility to make it all work,” he said.
Faculty and staff made his transfer from another college work, too. “The process was pretty easy. The administration was super helpful in walking me through what needed to be done and always answered any questions I had,” Olin said.
Outdoor Activities Make This the Perfect Place for Him
Outside the classroom, the Johnson campus is a playground for Olin, with kayaking, hiking, camping, and other activities for people who love the outdoors. “We have all of that available to us,” he said. “It’s a great area.”