Maddie Sit, #CaliforniansForAll College Corps Alum ‘23
Join us in celebrating Maddie Sit, a College Corps alum from the inaugural 2022-23 fellowship at the University of San Diego. Maddie now applies her learning from College Corps to her studies in public health at UC Berkeley. While in College Corps, Maddie served at the Port of San Diego where she took climate action by analyzing tree canopies at all parks around the San Diego Bay. A round of applause for Maddie, her achievements, and her dedication to serving California communities!
What are you up to now after service?
My Master of Public Health program is within the Division of Environmental Health Sciences, which examines how environmental hazards impact population health. I am also concentrating on Industrial Hygiene, which focuses on reducing and preventing workplace exposures, such as air pollution, noise, and toxic chemicals. I’m currently a research assistant at Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory co-authoring a report on near-roadway indoor air pollution for the California State Legislature, so I’m particularly excited to learn about air quality and ventilation in the workplace in my classes.
What are your long-term career/educational goals (“dream” job)?
My dream job is working as an industrial hygienist at an environmental consulting firm where I can work with various clients on exposure assessment and reducing their workplace exposures. I would love to focus on improving indoor air quality and ventilation in the workplace. Clients could range from construction companies to factory workers creating batteries or food products. I hope to collaborate directly with workers to improve their safety and health.
How has College Corps inspired your next steps in your career or education?
My College Corps fellowship was with the Port of San Diego, where I digitized their tree inventory of almost 4,000 trees across 280 acres of parks and tidelands using ArcGIS. Based on the data I collected, I analyzed how much carbon dioxide was reduced by each species of tree and the overall inventory, which I then had the opportunity to present to the Port’s CEO and leadership. College Corps taught me how public health is intertwined with our daily lives because the Port’s tree inventory impacts the health of its park visitors. Parks with high tree densities have overall greater environmental and public health benefits than parks with low tree densities, and certain tree species are more effective than others in sequestering carbon.
What advice would you give to a current College Corps Fellow?
Embrace the opportunity to learn from your mentors during your fellowship. I worked closely with the director of guest experiences and the program manager at the Port, who not only provided guidance and instruction for my projects, but they also were immense resources for me. I learned about how their careers brought them to the Port, the type of work they do as part of a public agency, and so much more. They are truly accomplished, humble, and empathetic leaders to me, and I hope everyone in College Corps can learn from their leaders in the same way.
How has your experience in service benefited you and your community?
My experience in service provided evidence-based recommendations to the Port’s leadership on how to improve the Port’s tree inventory moving forward. My team suggested which parks with low tree densities would benefit from more tree plantings, the types and species of trees that are most beneficial based on their environmental benefits, what percentage of the inventory they currently make up, and aesthetic beauty. These recommendations will benefit the health, well-being, and overall enjoyment of future park visitors.
What would you say to someone thinking about applying to College Corps?
Apply to College Corps because the experience of serving is highly valuable for your career, the organization you serve, and your overall community. For me, College Corps was my longest in-person experience related to my academic and professional interests. Working on projects for the community, learning from your team in a safe environment, and bonding with other College Corps fellows … it’s the perfect opportunity. Community sites also aim to tailor the projects you work on to your interests, so it is very self-driven but you are still supported by your site team and the College Corps team.