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An Interview with Deb Wojcik

Deb WojcikDeb Wojcik is a “Double Duke” grad, having received both her undergraduate and graduate degrees – Master of Environmental Management and Master of Arts in Teaching – from Duke University. She worked for four years as the Director of Executive Education at DEL before obtaining her PhD in Forest Resources and Conservation and researching tropical conservation and development in Botswana.  Dr. Wojcik also spent time at Stanford before re-joining the Nicholas School community as the Director of Career and Professional Development.

I spoke with Deb about the value of continuing education based on her personal experience: she decided to pursue her PhD after working for 8 years because she wanted to fill in gaps in her knowledge and skills. In Deb’s opinion, Environmental Management is such a rapidly changing space that continuing education is crucial. She says, “Within a few years, what you learned in school may not be relevant or cutting edge. Keeping on top of the latest innovations is critical to our success as environmental professionals.” Executive education, like the type offered at DEL, fills in cutting edge content knowledge and skills. More importantly, continuing education allows you to network with and learn from other professionals who are trying to advance their careers. If you’re looking for an opportunity to grow your professional network and advance your skills as an environmental leader, take advantage of the discounted early registration rate for our upcoming Timberland Investment course this April.

Deb and I also discussed the full meaning of environmental leadership. She said, “It requires a large amount of risk tolerance, creativity, and the ability to maintain a long-term, big picture view while working on important details of an environmental problem.” Given the complexity of the environmental management field, we need to not only understand science, but be able to communicate it; to convey the urgency and potential solutions to a wide variety of people. One of the biggest challenges in the field is how to generate followers, engage them in meaningful ways, and help more people make a difference. Deb firmly believes that DEL offers a unique approach to education that allows you to continue pursuing your daily work as an environmental leader while enhancing your ability to do that work.

We’re thrilled to have Deb’s support and career expertise. The next edition of this newsletter may even include a new Career Column feature…stay tuned!

written by Amanda Hoster, MEM ‘17