Meet an Alum: Nathan Cogswell, World Resources Institute

Nathan Cogswell

We asked alum Nathan Cogswell (Class of 2015) some questions about his career and time at ENRP. See what he had to say below...





Current job position: Research Assistant at the World Resources Institute

Hometown: Hickory, N.C.

Undergraduate School: American University; Political Science; 2013

Why Nathan chose ENRP: Having completed my undergraduate degree in Washington, D.C., I knew I wanted to remain in the D.C. area for graduate school. That, alone, narrowed my choice of graduate programs. ENRP really stood out to me though because of the multi- and interdisciplinary curriculum and approach to environmental policy. Successfully formulating and understanding environmental policy requires an intense understanding of economics, law, and science. ENRP stood out as the only program that would shape and strengthen my ability to see environmental policy issues through a panoptic lens. 

How ENRP prepared Nathan for his professional career: As I mentioned immediately above, ENRP enhanced my multi- and interdisciplinary understanding of environmental policy and gave me a strong foundation to build a career researching and working on these issues. In addition, the capstone project gave me a great 'real-world' experience and helped strengthen my interest in working in the climate adaptation and resilience space. 

Why Nathan enjoys his current job: I enjoy the 'wonky' aspects of environmental policy. My current position allows me to explore and research the wonky details! 

Nathan's capstone project: For my capstone project, I worked with Conservation International to assess and map coastal vulnerability in the Philippines in order to help CI scale their ecosystem-based adaptation projects in the country. The capstone project was intensely and thoroughly rewarding. My teammates and I dove headfirst into the project and shaped the project to reflect our interests and skills.

How Nathan's capstone project helped his career:  Being able to demonstrate successful completion of a large-scale research project to employers is an invaluable asset. For me, the capstone project enhanced my knowledge and interest in working on climate adaptation and resilience issues and showed employers that I was able to take a real-world project in this space from start to finish. 

Nathan's favorite aspect of ENRP: There are a lot of great aspects of ENRP - the city, the curriculum, and your classmates! The people of ENRP - your classmates and professors - make your graduate studies enjoyable. You'll form friendships and develop great resources and connections across the environmental policy world. 

Nathan's tips for living, studying, and working in DC: There is so much to do in the Washington, D.C. area!! From events in the city to outdoor opportunities in the Shenandoah mountains, there is a lot to keep you busy! Plus, D.C. is home to a great mix of people and cultures. Take advantage of the city and make friends with lots of awesome people!


Nathan's career tips for those interested in environmental policy: The environmental policy field can be tough to break into so take advantage of internships and networking opportunities. Find your "unique value-add" - whether that is a certain skill, background, or expertise. Once you get your foot in the door, make yourself invaluable by showing interest, initiative, and that you can be trusted to deliver high-quality results.