Since July 2010 Lindsey Sexton has been a Program Associate at the US
Institute for Environmental Conflict Resolution (USIECR) in Tucson, AZ. The institute's mission is to help resolve environmental disputes that involve federal government, by providing mediation, training and related services. They assist any federal agency with environmental conflicts and conflict prevention. USIECR often
convenes multiple agencies to discuss environmental issues all over the nation.
As a Program Associate Lindsey assists program managers who facilitate
meetings between agencies. Lindsey takes meeting notes, summaries, organizes
meetings. She has found that the skills she has learned at CRI have
been essential for her work. In order to provide accurate summaries she has
to know how to look behind participants' positions to get to their interests.
In fact, she says that she is constantly reminded of classes that she has taken
with CRI, especially Bob Melvin's negotiation class. She is reminded
of the life lessons and techniques for communication that Professor Melvin
taught. She often finds herself practicing those very skills that she learned
in his class and thinking, "Oh, Bob taught me that!"
Next summer (2012) USIECR is putting on a conference in which Lindsey
will be a part of the conference committee. She was placed on the
committee because of her experience putting together CRI's Environmental
Conflict Resolution conference in June of 2009, done in partnership with
ACR's Environment and Public Policy (EPP) section. She contends that
the opportunity to help plan the EPP conference was a valuable experience,
which she will now have the opportunity to use in her current position.
This is one example of the experience and knowledge that she has gained
from CRI that has been vital for her success in her position at USIECR.
In fact, she was told by one of her interviewers that it seemed as if she
had done exactly all the right things she needed to do to get to where she
wanted to be. She was told that she studied the right things, had the right
internships, and the right experiences. Lindsey believes that she is doing
exactly what she had been planning to do all along and it feels great. She
believes that her time was well spent at DU.
Lindsey hopes that everyone who graduates from CRI can have the same
experience as her and end up exactly where they want to end up. There are
several tips that she believes will be helpful for getting you to where you
want to go. First, she recommends that students take advantage of the
opportunities for experience in the conflict resolution field while attending
DU, as she did. She is very glad that she took every opportunity she
could to do informational interviews, two internships ¬– one with the
Department of Transportation and one with the Environmental Protection
Agency in Washington D.C. – (see CRI Winter 2010 Newsletter), volunteering with the Keystone Center and other agencies and government organizations. She believes that these experiences made her seem desirable to potential employers because
it showed that she had initiative and had great interest in the field. She also
recommends that students attend career fairs, go to the career center to do
practice interviews and work on your résumé, do more than one internship,
conduct informational interviews, and network with other people in the field
of your interest. When doing informational interviews and networking,
she recommends always following up with a thank you note or email.
One final piece of advice is an idea that was recommended by her mentor
when she was interning at the Conflict Prevention and Resolution Center,
a department of the Environmental Protection Agency. Write down your
objectives at the beginning of your internship and then create a working
document in which you list all of your accomplishments during your internship.
This document can then be used to strengthen your résumé and provide
concrete examples of experiences that can be shared during your interviews.
Lindsey also wants students at CRI to know that she would love to give back,
after receiving so much help from others, by providing any information or
advice that students are seeking.
-- Fernando Ospina