INTERVIEW - Environmental Research with Anna Webber

creative helper organizer thinker Dec 09, 2020

"If I can get people to think before making a decision about what's happening in the world, that is the impact I want to make. To give them information about what the problem is... so they don't make an assumption."  - Anna Webber

Anna is a thinker, organizer, and a helper. She is also a creative.... yet she breaks the creative stereotype, by using her creativity to solve problems. 

Warmly - Oie

Career Interview with Anna Webber

  1. What is your current occupation, or your major? Environment/migration research
  2. What drew you to this? An interest in climate change and its impacts on people – leading to an interest on how people react to environmental changes by moving to new places 
  3. What do you love about it, and what do you dislike about it?
    • Love - I love doing deep dives into data and doing research to help understand where the data is coming from.
    • Dislike - I dislike that sometimes research feels very divorced from the real world – but I try to remember who will be using the research I am doing.
  4. For people considering your career, what advice would you give? Developing quantitative analysis skills is really important – understanding how to use statistical software and coding is a huge advantage. Also, be prepared to continuously learn new things
  5. What are your natural strengths? My strengths are related to solving puzzles and sorting through information, as well as organizing and reorganizing information. I also am good at finding information that can be a bit more obscure
  6. What skills did you have to learn that’s needed in your career? A lot of statistics and analysis skills, including software and specific uses of programs like Excel
    1. What are you doing to learn these skills? A lot of practice! Both as part of my formal education, but also now, learning on the job
  7. When did you know you wanted to choose this career? I have always been interested in science and math, but then I realized when I started my undergraduate program that I wanted to focus in on environmental issues. As I neared then end of that program, I realized that I further wanted to focus on how humans interact with their environment, and then about three years ago, I started focusing in on the migration aspect.
    1. How did you know? How do you ever know that one topic interests you more than a different topic? I guess these were just topics that drew me in more than others – and then when I started doing more of my own in depth research into these ideas (outside of just thinking about them generally), that was a good clue that I wanted to make it into a career.
  8. What's your natural talent? Thinker, Helper, Creative, Organizer
  9. What do you value? I value information and knowledge and doing something with that knowledge – not just letting it sit around.
  10. How does your career align with your interests/passions? Outside of my interest in the environment and migration, I am passionate about learning new things – which is incredibly important for researching
  11. What type of impact do you want to make on the world? I think it’s really important to base decision making on data – not just on what people think is “correct” based on faulty assumptions. Through research and data analysis, I hope to make information more accessible for both the general public and policy makers.
  12. Any advice you would give to someone who is struggling with career choices? Really sit down and think about everything you are interested in – little or big – and then think about the things you would enjoy doing every day for eight hours. Where do those lists overlap? Don’t try to find a career doing something you only want to do occasionally – that won’t go well. (Example – when I started studying environmental science, I thought I wanted to be a park ranger, because I loved going on weekend trips to do conservation work. But then I realized that I really only liked doing occasional conservation work in contrast to my data/research work and that doing it full time wasn’t actually a great idea for me)


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