Middlebury Institute of International Studies at Monterey

Oil Worker to Conservationist

December 15, 2011

Just a few years ago, Alfhild Aspelin (MAIEP '12) had no interest in environmental work. So the fact that she is now at the Monterey Institute pursuing a MA in International Environmental Policy is quite amazing.

Alfhild was working in Norway as an oil surveyor. Her job was to make sure operations were carried out as planned for the installation of equipment used in offshore oil production.

Eventually, Alfhild took another position with her employer that worked with ship recycling initiatives. Ship recycling happens mostly in poor counties and involves the dismantling of ships that are no longer useable for scrap metal. The problem with this practice is that it releases toxic chemicals that are harmful to people and the environment. After seeing the negative impacts of ship recycling, Alfhild realized how important it was to conserve and preserve the environment.

She decided that she wanted to go to a school where the coursework would allow her to combine her maritime background with environmental policy. The Monterey Institute gave her that opportunity and now, when she graduates, Alfhild is hoping to work with large corporations helping them to correlate money savings with environmental initiatives.

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