Degree: MS–STEP, 2002
Location: Minneapolis, Minnesota, USA
Like many people, Todd Reubold has not followed a linear career path. After graduating with an undergraduate degree in geography, he worked for a small company that makes travel maps, gaining experience in graphic design and advertizing, while also playing in and managing a touring rock band. Those seemingly unrelated experiences now come in handy as he leads communications efforts for an interdisciplinary, cross-University effort addressing today’s grand environmental challenges, including the need to provide energy, food, and fresh water to the world in sustainable and economically viable ways.
Where did your passion for the environment and environmental policy originate?
I’ve always loved being outdoors. Growing up in the Black Hills of South Dakota, my “backyard” was miles and miles of forests and fields. This early passion for being outside and enjoying nature influenced my interest in environmental policy to this day.
What’s the most important issue facing the environment today?
Climate change is a critical issue and one where good communication can help. There is a huge gap between what scientists are discovering about global warming and what the public understands. Being able to translate the science for general audiences can improve our understanding of the issue and help people make the small but important changes in their daily lives that would help reduce their carbon footprint.
How your Humphrey education got you to where you are today?
The time I spent at the Humphrey School was critical to getting where I am today. An early class on energy policy spurred my interest in renewable energy. Additional classes on the topic lead to a research assistantship at the University and eventually to my first real job after graduation. The professional relationships and networks that I developed while at the Institute continue to serve me to this day.
Do you have any advice for incoming and current students interested in a career like yours?
My first bit of advice would be to network, network, and network. Try to connect with faculty members, fellow students, and others at the Humphrey School and then expand out into the community. Second, once your required classes are finished, seek out classes you’re enthusiastic about and begin to build toward your new career. Finally, I believe it’s important to constantly strive to improve all of your communications skills, whether it’s writing, design, or public speaking. Those skills will come in handy no matter what path you choose.
What is the biggest lesson you have learned since graduating from the Humphrey School?
Don’t let the future you’re planning get in the way of the opportunities that are right in front of you. When I started at the Humphrey School I was certain I’d be working for an environmental nonprofit when I graduated. I ended up working in higher education and I love it!
March 15, 2012