OSM/VISTA Outreach Coordinator, OSM/VISTA Appalachian Coal Country Team and Western Hardrock Watershed Team Support Office, Beckley, West Virginia
Office of Surface Mining, Reclamation and Enforcement
 
How Caitlin Coleman got involved with Office of Surface Mining, Reclamation and Enforcement
I found out about the OSM/VISTA Teams through the AmeriCorps website. The mission and description of the Appalachian Coal Country Team and Western Hardrock Watershed Teams both appealed to me-- I was particularly interested in Western water quality/quantity issues and thought that a year of service with the OSM/VISTA Teams would be a great way to learn more, gain experience and put my skills to use.
 
Experience
This job has been an incredible experience. In my position I coordinate the outreach efforts of two teams of watershed/community improvement groups spread throughout nine states. This has allowed me the opportunity to visit nearly all of the rural communities we work with, to learn about the work they've doing to improve their environments, engage volunteers and revitalize their communities. I've met wonderful and interesting people and continuously get the incorporate their unique stories into my work.
 
Caitlin Coleman's accomplishments
I've become confident in my abilities to create any and all types of outreach materials. These include posters, demonstration boards, newsletters, annual reports, announcements, invitations, brochures, books etc. Through this experience I've become better at working as a member of a team, meeting deadlines, teaching/speaking in public, managing and training others, coming up with projects and ideas that interest me and will benefit my organization and seeing those projects through from start to finish. I've also gained experience interviewing and selecting candidates to fill a position, coordinating events, scheduling speakers and more. I feel like I accomplish something every day, and almost always have something tangible to show for my work. It has been a fantastic learning experience and a great way to build my portfolio.
 
Caitlin Coleman's next steps
I hope to find a similar position doing outreach/communications/public information/writing work for an organization or agency with a science/environment focus.
 
Hometown: Yorktown, New York
School: University of Colorado Boulder (MA), University of Vermont (BA)
Major: MA Journalism, Graduate Certificate in Environment, Society and Policy; BA Environmental Studies and French