Dulanga Witharanage (BSc (Hons) in Environmental Science, 2017) shares her career journey with us today. She currently leads the Climate Change and Environment team in a multi-country development project known as the Marketing Development Facility (MDF). Her role revolves around creating sustainable jobs for the poor.
Initially joining the MDF as a Business Advisor, Dulanga later took on the role as their Environment Anchor before she landed her current position.
Currently, the most challenging aspect she faces in her career is helping the communities she works with understand the technicalities of climate change. However, she is determined to keep working to facilitate an understanding of the impact of climate change, and says the changes she sees in the vulnerable communities is one of the most rewarding aspects of her career.
Having been part of the NGO sector since 2016, Dulanga received funding from UNM to be a part of the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC) Conference of the Parties 22 (COP22) in 2016 that took place in in Marrakech, Morocco, where she represented the Malaysian Youth Delegation.
This experience gave her an advantage when she moved back to her home country of Sri Lanka and in her present line of work. The interdisciplinary approach of her degree was also helpful as it covered a spectrum of modules including core science, ecology, climate change, atmospheric science, conservation, society, economics, GIS, field work and research. This exposure granted her the opportunity to have an overview of several options for her career.
While Dulanga did not have to take any additional examinations or training in order to secure her job, she states that learning is a key part of her role and due to the ever-changing nature of science, she does her best to keep up with new research. Moreover, her career demands that she acquire the necessary training if the need arises, such as acquiring a certification for Environmental Impact Assessment (EIA) and Partnership Negotiation.
Her career plans for the future are to keep exploring the International Development sector and discovering pathways to address climate change while simultaneously eradicating poverty.
Having spent the best years of her life in UNM, Dulanga tells us she misses the home-like feel the campus always gave her. Finally, Dulanga has the following advice for students who want to pursue careers as environmental scientists:
"Don’t limit yourself. Keep your options open. Most people are surprised when they hear the kind of work I am engaged in because it doesn’t fit into the generic role of a scientist.”
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Posted on 1st June 2021