Accepting the Call

Accepting the Call

Colbians choose government as the best route to public service

By Douglas Rooks '76 | Photos by Fred Field


 
Other public-sector contributions are measured differently.
With wildlife biology her specialty, government service was the best choice. "Private firms often write analyses and reports, but it's the government employees who do more of the field work," Dewey said.

Sarah Dewey '86 grew up in the Boston area but has spent much of her working career in national forests and parks in Utah, Idaho, and Wyoming. After five years teaching science, she realized she wanted "to be doing science and making a contribution to conservation.— With wildlife biology her specialty, government service was the best choice. Private firms often write analyses and reports, but it's the government employees who do more of the field work, she said.

Dewey recently moved from the U.S. Forest Service to the National Park Service, stationed in Grand Teton National Park, deciding she could make a contribution by joining an agency that embraces conservation. Amid some of the nation's most spectacular scenery, Dewey studies the park's ungulates: bison, elk, bighorn sheep, moose, mule deer, and pronghorn antelope. She speaks excitedly ("I haven't had a boring day yet!—) about the recently developed GPS collar, which can pinpoint wildlife location far more accurately than radio collars.

Dewey noted a recently completed study that established migration routes for pronghorn antelope from the Red Desert into the park—knowledge that should lead to better habitat conservation.

Soon found working for Boston Mayor Kevin White (who had just taken office as a reformer), to be so inspiring that she has remained in the public sector. Her choice was made easier, she said, by a Colby Jan Plan spent in Senator Edmund Muskie's office in Washington with his chief of staff and eventual successor, George Mitchell.

Other positions can require a more conscious choice to join government rather than the private sector. Cheryl Dineen Soon '70 has been involved in urban planning since her days in college. But Soon found working for Boston Mayor Kevin White (who had just taken office as a reformer), to be so inspiring that she has remained in the public sector. Her choice was made easier, she said, by a Colby Jan Plan spent in Senator Edmund Muskie's office in Washington with his chief of staff and eventual successor, George Mitchell.

Soon then married a native of Hawaii, and has spent most of her career in Honolulu—though she and her husband returned to Massachusetts to work in the administration of Governor Michael Dukakis. "I've met some very special and honorable people in government,— she said. "I have never regretted spending my career this way,— she said, having recently retired and taken a position with a private holding company.

Her last government post—transportation director for the City of Honolulu—wouldn't be possible outside of government. The city has a 525-vehicle bus system twice voted best in the country.

 
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