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School of Environment and Natural Resources


Alumni Career Spotlight: Alexis Sakas

Alexis Sakas
Environment & Natural Resources ‘06
Natural Infrastructure Director, The Nature Conservancy

Headshot of Alexis Sakas where she is wearing a green shirt and smiling in front of a dark blue background
Alexis completed her undergraduate degree in SENR in 2006 after majoring in Environment & Natural Resources. During her time in SENR, she interned at the Ohio Department of Natural Resources’ (ODNR) Wildlife District 1. After graduation, Alexis joined AmeriCorps, obtained a graduate degree in Conservation Ecology at the University of Michigan, and is now the Natural Infrastructure Director for The Nature Conservancy in Toledo, Ohio.

Read the full interview with Alexis:

A Glance at Alexis’ Current Work

I am currently the Natural Infrastructure Director for The Nature Conservancy in Ohio, based in Toledo, but the work is statewide. My work entails managing massive wetland restoration projects, coordinating grants, contracts, requests for proposals, permits, budgets, GIS, coordination with partners, construction contractor oversight, and more! Therefore, it varies considerably day to day. The most rewarding part of my job is restoring wetlands that will have a positive impact for water quality in Ohio.Alexis in yellow equipment in the woods

Professional Development

What were you involved in during college?
For the first two years, I had been studying art with a minor in Spanish, so I volunteered in
 Costa Rica for a Spanish immersion. During this experience, I worked on a turtle conservation project, which inspired me to transition from art to environment and natural resources. However, by the time I switched, there wasn’t time for extracurricular activities! Nonetheless, I was fortunate enough to intern at the ODNR’s Wildlife District 1. Interning with ODNR during the summer of 2005 was an excellent experience, and by far the best I had during my undergraduate tenure! I had opportunities to work with the various biologists on a variety of projects - a goose roundup for tagging, electroshocking with the fisheries folks, an independent project surveying ODNR lands, working the Ohio State Fair, etc.

Alexis wearing a orange jacket and orange pants holding a tube that goes into a wooden box on a boat in a body of waterWhat advice would you give to someone who is still in college and hoping to do what you do?
 Try new things - I like Pattie Seller's quote, “Careers are a jungle gym, not a ladder.”

What experience do you feel was most valuable in your professional development?
Working with the Peace Corps in the Dominican Republic was an unforgettable, life-changing experience that I would recommend to everyone, regardless of your stage of life. Spending a
 significant amount of time in another part of the world expanded my horizons and taught me that there are many ways to live a content life. I also continue to gain incredible experience and opportunities in my role with TNC.


What did you do immediately post-graduation?Alexis and a colleague working in a body of water
I joined AmeriCorps, where I worked on a chainsaw trail crew for a year travelling throughout Arizona. Then I joined the Peace Corps, followed by grad school at the University of Michigan.

What was most important to you in your job search?
I just sought a job that would provide me with good experience and growth opportunities. It's unlikely to land your dream job straight out of college.

How to connect with Alexis:
419-867-1521 x 3240
Post created August 2021