Gregory Cummings (BSc'11)

A day in the life

Gregory Cummings (BSc'11)

Greg Cummings_alum_Environmental Science_(2) (214x214)

Take the program YOU want at Dal—don’t let other people influence your decision. I was told I wouldn't get a job in this field coming out of university, but I wanted to do this program so I stuck with it—and here I am with a job right out of undergrad.

Environmental assessment skills

Greg Cummings graduated with a Bachelor of Science (BSc) with Honours in Environmental Science in spring 2011. And he found employment in his field very soon after.

“The job I have now is actually exactly the one I was hoping for,” he reports. As an Environmental Scientist with Roy Northern Environmental in the north of British Columbia (BC), Greg helps serve the oil and gas industry, working with oil companies to perform environmental assessments of drilling operations to ensure they meet BC environmental legislation.

But Greg says the job is diverse: “It’s both field- and office-based, and so it’s not just focused on one aspect of environmental assessment. Out in the field, we complete pre- and post-site assessments, which consist of determining soil horizons and types, doing vegetation surveys, and taking samples. Back in the office, we analyze data and write comprehensive reports. We also do remediation of contaminated sites, drilling waste management, wildlife surveys, and construction supervision.”

The most satisfying thing about his career is that “I get to help minimize impacts on the environment—and this should be every Environmental Science student’s goal,” he states.

Greg was in Biology before switching to Environmental Science. “I thought Environmental Science would be more specific in terms of what I wanted to study, and that it would help me get a job—a lot of students graduate with a biology degree, so I thought Environmental Science would help me stand out.”

He also thinks his education gave him the background he needed to take on the challenges of his new job. “My degree provided me with theoretical knowledge that helps me understand why this work is important,” he says. “And since I work for an environmental consulting company, the class that prepared me most directly was the fourth-year Environmental Assessment class.”

Greg also has fond memories of the students and faculty in Environmental Science. “They were very friendly and down to earth,” he says. “I met many of them in field school, which was an especially enjoyable experience.”

He adds that field school was also memorable “because of what we learned. We touched on many different aspects—from river restoration, to lichens as environmental indicators, to mapping riparian buffer zones, to learning about GIS. Not to mention camping at Keji!”

Photo: Greg Cummings