Alumni in Action

Sierra Voss

"Eckerd is training leaders for the future."

Sierra Voss
Class of 2013
Major: Environmental Studies
Minor: Biology/Coastal Management
Where are you now and what are you doing?

I am currently the Outreach Coordinator/Assistant Tour Manager for the production company that directed the award-winning documentary Chasing Ice. The film is the story of one man’s mission to change the tide of history by gathering undeniable evidence of our changing planet by capturing time-lapse photos of glacier melt. As Outreach Coordinator, I have been helping to develop, and will launch, an Ohio Tour in the spring of 2014. This pilot tour is an initiative to inspire climate awareness and ignite a political and innovative call to action through the use of the highly acclaimed documentary film Chasing Ice.

What does your job entail and how has your Eckerd experience impacted your career?

Chasing Ice was featured during Eckerd College's Environmental Film Festival my senior year. I was able to speak with the Director, Jeff Orlowski, after the screening. I remember thinking to myself, What harm could come from asking him a few questions? I ended up interning for the company 10 hours a week during my final semester in school. It was a little complicated with the long distance, but I managed. After graduation I decided to move to Boulder, Colorado, to continue my internship. One month after I moved and began interning the company hired me as a full time employee!

My job entails developing new creative outreach tours to reach audiences around the world. I learn something new everyday, whether it's designing a website page, developing tour and outreach materials, or networking with hundreds of organizations and communities to partner with and screen the film.

What unique or special opportunities did your Eckerd education provide and how have they impacted your life?

Every moment during my time at Eckerd was special. I was able to immerse myself in academia and world experiences throughout my entire education. I traveled, studied and did research in Suriname, Costa Rica, Japan and Sierra Leone.

I was fortunate enough to be accepted into Eckerd's Ford Scholar program which allowed me to work alongside Professor Alison Ormsby as a junior and senior. This was by far the most amazing opportunity I had at Eckerd. Through this experience I was able to develop a two-month-long summer research trip in Sierra Leone with Professor Ormsby. Our research, and support from the Ford Scholars Program, also allowed me to spend my last Winter Term in Japan, where I presented at an international sustainability conference.

Describe some of your best memories or favorite traditions from your time at Eckerd.

I have met many people in Boulder who tell me about their crazy football game stories or huge parties and epic ski days during college. When I think back to my best memories of Eckerd I think about random days. The days I went to class and then slacklined on Kappa Field until sunset. I think about the mornings I went to the Waterfront before class and paddleboarded next to a pod of dolphins. There are too many amazing memories to count.

What makes Eckerd so special or why does it stand out to you as a great college? What does it mean to you now that you have been away for awhile?

Eckerd is a real community. A community where educators give and the students give back. A community that is surrounded by nature. It is a community where people are not only accepted but supported. Now that I am no longer a student I understand the foundation, the elements and the need to create communities like Eckerd College in order to create a sustainable world.

Describe some of the people who had a profound impact on your Eckerd experience.

Professor Ormsby had a profound impact on my experience at Eckerd. Sophomore Winter Term I traveled with her on a two-month long research project to Suriname and shortly after applied to be her Ford Scholar. I took numerous classes with her, all of which shaped me as the academic I am today. We are currently working to submit our article to a peer-reviewed journal. I don't think my college experience would have been the same without her excellent teaching skills and her passion to work alongside students.

Are there core Eckerd values you see in most Eckerd students and graduates?

Eckerd students are one of a kind. They are motivated, creative, compassionate, adventure seekers. I know our graduates will be the individuals leading a new sustainable future.

What activities were you involved in while at Eckerd and did they influence what you are involved in now?

I was able to be an academic, photographer, volunteer, traveling, rugby player! I am not sure I could have been able to pursue so many hobbies at another college. My experience at Eckerd has made me the dynamic person I am today. I believe the skills I was able to refine at Eckerd will shape every day of my future.

Why did you choose Eckerd? What advice would you give students who are considering Eckerd?

I don't think there is any other place in the world like Eckerd. A place where you can receive a world-class education with a loving community and a beach to sit on at the end of every day. What else is there to say really.

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