UDC is preparing students to be more competitive through the two-year Professional Science Master’s Program. Students with bachelor’s degrees from varying backgrounds including business, economics, planning, math, science or engineering benefit from a curriculum that blends scientific studies with hands-on technical skills, offering a more comprehensive training ground.
“We train them to be a great asset,” said Dr. Todessa Deksissa, director of the Water Resources Research and the Professional Science Master’s Program in Water Resources Management. “All of our students are required to do internships. We get extremely good compliments from companies about how well our students are prepared because they do such an excellent job.”
The Professional Science Master’s in Water Resources Management began in 2010 and offers students the opportunity to learn workplace skills valued by top employers in the green jobs market, which is growing at a rapid pace.
“This is different from the traditional master’s program,” Deksissa said. “It is designed for the working student who will be trained to work in innovative industries that requires multi-skill preparation such as effective communications, entrepreneurship, and project management.”
The three concentrations include water resources management, urban sustainability, and urban agriculture.
The interdisciplinary program is based in UDC’s College of Agriculture, Urban Sustainability and Environmental Sciences (CAUSES). It provides knowledge of the physical, chemical and biological sciences applicable to urban systems management, assessment, and monitoring, as well as building on skills in environmental policy, communication, business management, project management, ethics and leadership.
Students obtain a diverse toolkit that prepares them to tackle the challenges of building the sustainable urban communities of the future through a strong focus on food security, food and water safety, resource management, and energy efficiency.
Students are given the opportunity to work with UDC’s land-grant centers and research facilities including the nationally recognized Environmental Quality Testing Laboratory, the UDC Research Farm in Beltsville, Md., the Urban Food Hubs including the 20,000 sq. ft. green roof and East Capitol Urban Farm, the largest urban farm in the District of Columbia.
In addition to the employer-site internships, students are also given the opportunity to participate in University-based internships offered through five land-grant centers for Urban Agriculture; Urban Sustainability, Nutrition, Diet and Health; Architectural Research; and 4-H and Youth Development.
Through these practical learning experiences, students can gain experience in data collection, analysis and interpretation; working in the field and/or laboratory; interacting with diverse clients; and improving their academic study skills.
“The way we train is different, the way we care is different,” Deksissa said. “Getting financial assistance is very important to help students succeed since the sky is the limit for students in this program.”