Peyton Priestman1605 SE 36th AvePortland,OR [email protected](503) 758-6420January 15th, 2018Dr. Julie KaresPortland State University 1719 SW 10th AvePortland, OR 97201Dear Dr.
Kares,IntroductionThis report will explore ways in which technical writing is utilized in careers related to the environmental studies field. The reader will develop an understanding of the types of technical writing used throughout the field, as well as types of technical writing used in a range of specific positions.Research MethodsThe two main questions for my research were “What are some common positions held by environmental studies majors?” and “How do these positions use technical writing?”. To answer these questions I first consulted a list of jobs posted to the PSU job database for environmental studies majors. From this list, I selected four positions for an in depth review of their use of technical writing. I chose to initially explore technical writing in three specific positions instead of a generalized review of technical writing in the field because the career choices available to environmental studies majors can differ widely.
From the resulting research I could identify the types of technical writing common to the majority of the field.The positions I selected- environmental educator, habitat restoration project coordinator, and environmental impact assessment consultant, represent a broad spectrum of the career choices available. For these positions I then reviewed job descriptions from multiple companies for direct references to technical writing, as well as duties that could potentially involve technical writing.
The company websites and job descriptions I accessed are detailed below.I read two position descriptions for environmental educators. One for a position with Anacostia Watershed Society, which was listed on the PSU database. The other was a job listing on Indeed.com for an environmental educator with the City of Hillsboro.
For habitat restoration coordinators, I chose job postings from Americorps and Sierra Nevada. I chose these companies because they are reputable in the field. Finally, for environmental impact assessment consultants, I did a google search of “environmental impact assessment consultants” and read descriptions of the position from the websites of Atmos Consulting and Interek.
I also read a position description posted on glassdoor for a junior environmental impact assessment consultant at Environmental Resource Management. FindingsThe types of technical writing being used in the environmental studies field will vary between positions. Across the field, environmental studies majors will most likely find themselves writing progress reports, project proposals, and program reviews. Environmental studies majors will use writing to communicate with their peers, subordinates, employers, and the public. Often positions may require written communication on environmental topics to people unfamiliar with the field.
The ability to explain environmental topics in a way that is easy for people of all backgrounds to understand will be necessary for the majority of positions. A position as an environmental educator could entail writing lesson plans, progress reports, program reviews, work plans, assignment prompts, and written explanations of environmental topics for varying grade levels. This position will often require written communication with parents, students, peers and administration. A habitat restoration coordinator may be required to write progress reports, project proposals, public outreach and informational documents, and volunteer training manuals. This position will most likely involve written communication with peers, subordinates, administration, and the public. An environmental impact assessment consultant position will rely heavily on the use of technical writing. EIA consultants are generally responsible for environmental impact statements, risk assessments, emergency and contingency plans, report writing, data and literature reviews, and project recommendations. This position can involve written communication, with peers, subordinates, and administration.
Since technical writing in this position is often produced for other companies, it will be necessary to have strong technical writing skills. ConclusionTechnical writing is an important aspect of many careers in the environmental studies field. The types of technical writing required will differ widely between positions in the field. Environmental impact assessment consultants and similar positions will involve a considerable amount of technical writing. Positions in environmental education and restoration will also require the use of technical writing, but likely to a lesser degree.
Consultants will produce technical writing mostly for audiences in companies outside their own, while educators and restoration coordinators will produce technical writing mainly for audiences directly related to their company or the public. Practice writing progress reports, program reviews, and project proposals will be essential to prepare for a job in this field. For those who are interested in being a consultant or specialist, it will be helpful to practice creating documents summarizing data and environmental research, along with practice writing environmental impact assessments and formal recommendations.
Having strong technical writing skills and the ability to communicate environmental topics to a variety of audiences will be necessary for those seeking a position in the environmental studies field.Please feel free to contact me if you have any questions regarding this topic.Sincerely,Peyton Priestman