Below are first person stories of life after HWS from recent graduates. Check back each Friday for a new profile.

Kaitlyn Van Nostrand '09

Kaitlyn Van Nostrand '09

Major: Environmental Studies
Current Position: Recycling Representative, Transpacific Waste Management
Current City: Auckland, New Zealand
Age: 26

I chose to study at HWS for several reasons-the small size and reputation of the Colleges, the environmental studies program and the nationally ranked sailing team. HWS turned out to be the perfect place for me, as I was able to thrive in the small community working with professors and campus staff through my jobs on campus as resident assistant, admissions tour guide and geoscience teaching fellow. The environmental studies program fit perfectly with my broad approach to solving environmental issues. My time at HWS was highlighted by serving as captain of the sailing team my last two years, leading the team, and growing as an athlete under Head Coach Scott Ikle '84. I will always be proud to be a William Smith Heron.

I am currently the first recycling representative Transpacific Waste Management has ever hired. I started in January 2013, after finishing my master's degree in international business at the University of Auckland. My role is to find solutions for our clients to reduce the contamination in their recycling streams. This is done through assessing the client's needs and tailoring the solution to fit their business. Once collected, the recycling commodities are either reused in New Zealand or sold and shipped to overseas buyers. The long-term goal of my role is to reduce the current contamination levels in order to save the company money. I really enjoy visiting all of our clients in Auckland and assisting them to make positive changes. It's the perfect job for me.

I did not start at my dream job overnight and worked very hard to get where I am today. The best decision I made was to complete my master's degree abroad, here in New Zealand. Being one of two Americans in the program of 30 students, it broadened my view of international markets and makes me more employable worldwide. I also worked two days a week at a sailing shop to gain New Zealand work experience, which my employer valued.

My idea for studying abroad stemmed from my junior year at HWS. Since I could not afford to miss a season of sailing, I applied for the Salisbury International Summer Internship stipend to conduct ecotourism research on a dive boat in Cairns, Australia. I didn't receive one of the three placements, but that didn't stop me from going. Bob Murphy, then the director of Career Services, was amazing and found funding for my trip from a generous HWS alum. My internship gave me the first taste of living abroad and I realized how it could benefit my career. I chose to study in New Zealand because of its reputation for being forward in sustainable business and having an environmentally conscious population. These ideals were instilled to me at HWS by my amazing professors including Betty Bayer, Tara Curtin, Paul Kehle, Scott McKinney and many others. The environmental studies program has an outstanding group of professors from all disciplines and I am realizing now how beneficial the liberal arts degree, combined with my business degree, has been to help me become a creative problem solver in my industry.

I am just starting my career and I am excited to learn about the vast complexities in the waste and recycling industry in my current role. I just received notification that I was approved for New Zealand residency. Once accepted, I plan to stay for the next two years until I gain permanent residency. Then I will be free to come and go in this beautiful country for the rest of my life. After that, we will see what opportunities unfold. For now I am happy right where I am. Many thanks to everyone at HWS for helping me get where I am today.


Preparing Students to Lead Lives of Consequence.