Isaac Maxwell, a Master’s in Community-Based Education and Leadership student, discovered his ideal job rather early in life. As a child, family vacations typically revolved around national parks, historical sites, and other federal lands, like Olympia, Zion, Gettysburg, and Acadia National Parks. Isaac states, “These vacations allowed me to realize my dream job is to become an NPS Ranger and I steered my education path towards this dream.”

Isaac completed his Bachelor’s in Environmental Science with Stevenson University in December of 2019, and he continued his education with the CBEL program through Stevenson’s Bachelor’s to Master’s program. As an undergrad, Isaac’s love of the environment was reflected in his role as President and co-founder of the Environmental Club and work with the Center for Environmental Stewardship. He was also a proud member of Stevenson’s drumline.

There were a number of factors Isaac weighed when selecting the CBEL program. Isaac says, “I knew I wanted to diversify my learning in order to be a well-rounded candidate for jobs, especially my dream one, and so I just had a feeling that the Community-Based Education and Leadership would be the best to pursue. I sat down with [Stevenson University Online’s] Dean Davis for a personal meeting and with her explanation of what the program offers, solidified my choice.”

In February 2020, Isaac presented at the Maryland Association for Environmental and Outdoor Educations Conference (MAEOE) with Dr. Lisa Moyer, CBEL Program Coordinator. Discussing “Living Rivers: Cultural and Ecological Interactions Throughout History,” Isaac was able to combine the skills and knowledge that he developed in both his undergraduate and graduate programs. Demonstrating a transdisciplinary approach to environmental education, the outcome of the presentation was to show their audience of over 60 educators that “Any river, and really any natural feature, can be studied along with the role humans play in on the environment.”

Isaac remarks, “The MAEOE conference was a great place to talk to informal and formal educators about the university’s grad programs and learn about their experiences as educators in Maryland . . . Facilitating my and Dr. Moyer’s program was also my first experience in implementing and practicing the informal learning from my first couple of CBEL courses with a group of like-minded and enthusiastic individuals.”

Isaac hopes to complete his master’s degree by Spring or Summer 2021. In the meantime, he plans to continue to grow professionally and personally so he will be prepared as he pursues the highly competitive job as National Park Service Ranger. He says, “Environmental education is important in today’s world when people are more connected to their phones than the outdoors and when nature has been rapidly changing in the past 20+ years.”

Stevenson University’s accredited online Master’s in Community-Based Education and Leadership degree is designed to meet the growing demand for highly-qualified professionals to teach, lead, and manage in non-formal and informal education settings. Practicing professionals will gain the knowledge and skills to become effective educators and change leaders in their organizations. The Community-Based Education and Leadership program is offered online in 8-week sessions, providing flexibility for working professionals who want to enhance their existing skills within their field.

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