Marla Korpar

  • EMS Degrees: B.S., Environmental Systems Engineering (2013)
  • My Job: Independent Contractor and Environmental Engineer, AmeriCorps VISTA
  • Hometown: Paonia, Colorado
  • Fun Fact About Me: I conducted wetlands research at over 15,000 feet elevation in Peru as an undergraduate.

More About Me

My profession today aligns with my career aspirations that I had as a Penn State undergraduate. My first job upon graduation was not what I had pictured myself doing, but through the experience I gained valuable skill-sets that now allow me to be self-employed.

What do I do in my job today? As an AmeriCorps Volunteer in Service to America (VISTA), I work regionally to drive economic development in a rural, historically coal-mining community through the introduction of solar photovoltaic (PV) energy. As an independent environmental engineering contractor, I acquire federal, state, and local permits for projects ranging from large-scale solar PV installation to lighted pedestrian sidewalk construction.

I chose Penn State because of the College of Earth and Mineral Sciences! During my college visit as a high school junior, I received a tour from Dr. Jeffrey Brownson, met my future adviser, Dr. Thaddeus Ityokumbul, and received a lab tour from Dr. Mark Klima. In two hours I had already met three professors. The small college feel of EMS married to the large University feel offered by Penn State totally hooked me!

On the weekends, you can find me outside! Hiking, biking, being an amateur gardener, and more...

My favorite quote is “Fear is a manipulative emotion that can trick us into living a boring life” (Donald Miller).

My advice for undergraduates: Big risks really do result in big rewards. If you have the opportunity to move to a new place and experience a new culture, do it! Acknowledge that every role you take on (even if it's not your dream job) builds valuable experience that will enhance your career.

Marla Korpar