Whitney Doss '06
Physical Geologist, Department of Energy, Energy Efficiency and Renewable Energy
BS Washington and Lee University
PhD University of Colorado, Boulder
I grew up in Charlottesville with a love of Blue Ridge landscapes and outdoor pursuits. I matriculated at W&L thinking I would become a Journalism major because I enjoyed how the process of writing enabled me to make sense of the world. While taking Geology 101, I realized that my interests in writing and the natural environment were not mutually exclusive. Through communicating science, I come to a deeper understanding of the landscapes I love! I found my niche during an independent study with Lisa Greer, using climate proxies to reconstruct past coral reef environments. After graduation, I spent two years doing entry-level GIS work for an oil and gas consulting firm. I never intended to remain in the fossil fuel industry because I wanted to attend graduate school for climate change research, I just needed to take a couple years off! I got my PhD in Geology (with a research focus in Paleoceanography) at the University of Colorado then completed a postdoc in France. After that I decided to follow my growing interest in working at the nexus between science and policy. I work for the Department of Energy's office of Energy Efficiency and Renewable Energy in Golden, Colorado, where I conduct environmental reviews of solar, wind, and other renewable energy resource projects around the U.S. Every day on the job I am learning about exciting new technologies to help facilitate sustainable energy development. I think, if anything, my path goes to show that a scientific background and writing skills are highly valued and can be applied to many "real-word" situations - academia is NOT the only option after a PhD. Follow your interests, and always keep an open mind!