College alumni share common bond at the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service
May 15, 2015
Three of the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service’s state field offices are now led by college alumni, who were recently promoted to field supervisor positions. They credit a Virginia Tech education and the strong connection between Hokies as a driving force in their success.
Eric Schrading (’91 M.S. wildlife management) heads up the New Jersey Field Office. “My education at Virginia Tech helped significantly with understanding wildlife ecology and management, and policy-level decision making,” he said. “Working on a research thesis helped build skills in field-level research and working with the public and stakeholders — a foundation I continue to rely on.”
In the West Virginia Field Office, John Schmidt (’79 B.S. fisheries management) and his staff work primarily on endangered species consultation and recovery actions. “My education in fisheries and wildlife biology and aquatic biology laid an excellent foundation for my current position,” he said. “My experience as a varsity swimmer at Virginia Tech also helped instill a strong work ethic and time management skills.”
Lora Zimmerman (’97 B.S. environmental science and ’03 M.S. fisheries and wildlife sciences) of the Pennsylvania Field Office started her career with the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service through the Pathways Program in the agency’s Abingdon, Virginia, office. “Hokie alumni are everywhere!” she said. “This connection creates a bond that often facilitates conversation and helps solve problems.”
“It is great to work with John and Lora on resource and administration issues that we share among our state responsibilities,” Schrading said. “It is extra nice to share that collaboration with fellow Hokies.”