Kathy Halvorsen

Kathy Halvorsen

Professor of Natural Policy

Michigan Technological University


My road in life took a while to figure out.
First, I realized I cared about environmental problems.
Went for a degree that could get me into environmental law school.
Found I loved environmental policy.
Had professors who told me I was very talented.
Got a Phd.
Launched a 20 year career as a natural resource policy scientist.


High School
Gilbertsville Central School, NYS
Natural Resource Economics
University of California-Berkeley
Environmental Science
SUNY College of Environmental Science and Forestry
Forest Management/Forest Resources Management
University of Washington-Seattle Campus


Professor of Natural Policy

I study and teach about human relationships to their environment and solving environmental problems.

Career Roadmap

My work combines:
My work combines:
Environment & Nature
Upholding a Cause and Belief

Day to Day

I lead, manage, and work in big, international, interdisciplinary scientific teams studying climate change mitigation and adaptation. My days are a mix of lots of international conference calls, writing, mentoring, leading, and dealing with team crises. I travel a lot and spend a lot of time managing people, relationships, scientific work, and crises.

Skills & Qualities Beyond School

Ability to write well, lead, learn, communicate, inspire, be impartial, be gentle at times but forceful when needed, nurture people and relationships, listen and guide, grow, get comfortable with being uncomfortable, polish, go all out sometimes, but know how to get away and turn it off. Be self-driven.

Advice for Getting Started

Here's the first step for college students

You will pick a major, but it might not fit, be open to changing it, dropping out for awhile - I had 4 undergrad majors and four universities before completing my BS and took four years off school. But I worked my way back in, found the area of natural resource policy that I loved, worked hard, had great mentors, and have been very successful (I just won my university's 2014 research award). Your path may not be straight or efficient, but if you go after what you love and work hard, you can succeed.

Recommended Education

My career is not related to what I studied. I'd recommend this path instead:

Public Policy Analysis, General
Environmental Science
Environmental policy


The Noise I Shed

From Parents:

"You should become a diplomat because you are great at languages."

Challenges I Overcame