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Programs Broad Interest and Environmental Focus

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Hello! I am returning to school but have, unfortunately, not decided what my end goal is. I originally enrolled in mechanical engineering, and dropped out to pursue a marijuana pipe dream that was unfulfilling. Now, at 19 YO going on 20, I am re-enrolled in community college to fix my GPA and continue studies.

My primary interest is in environmental issues, but this is a broad subject. I want a career that allows me to directly contribute somehow to the "good", which in my definition means helping society and future society by not destroying the environment. The more I learn about the various issues we face collectively, the more it seems that I have potential to contribute in a vast array of ways depending on my area of focus. For example, computer science could have just as much impact as a chemical engineer, and so on, just in different ways.

So my question is mainly what kinds of fields a degree in physics for undergraduate would be able to lead me into? I feel like it is a great start, but may be too theoretical in some ways (less tangible to "real world" problems) as opposed to a more chemical/chemical engineering approach.

This ends up being a very personal dilemma, as I want a fulfilling life as well as an impactful career. Throughout my high school experience, I was enthralled by physics, math, chemistry, and biology classes because I was so naturally curious about the world. Upon entering the real world, I quickly got "distracted" by the broad amount of things you can do and fell victim to a disillusioning of my previous scientific values.

I have been trying to reach out to people actually in the fields I'm considering, those who have been active practitioners of applied science/engineering, to find where I would like to proceed to. Any advice on how to further connect with people involved in various aspects of sustainable technologies/sciences would be greatly appreciated!


Welcome to the PF. :smile:

Careers that involve the topics of the Smart Grid, Renewable Energy (sources and management), Low-Impact Transportation, etc. come to mind. EE and ME and Civil and Computer Science and Chemistry are all involved in that broad set of work to be done. As for which specialties to aim for within that set, you might look more into the topic areas I mentioned to see what kinds of careers within them look the most interesting to you.

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