Connie Patterson: Doing What She Loves Everyday

Name: Connie Patterson

Year: Senior

Hometown: Jacksonville, Florida

Major: Environmental Studies

Relationship Status: Single

Courtesy: Connie Patterson

Her Campus (HC): What are you currently involved in at FSU?

Connie Patterson (CP): I am the vice president of a community service based organization at FSU called Helping Every Little Person (H.E.L.P.). This is my second year with the organization and I love that I get to interact with children in the Tallahassee community. I am also an intern at the Florida Division of Emergency Management (FDEM). I am a part of the Bureau of Mitigation in the Planning Unit.

HC: How did you find out about your current internship?

CP: I found out about the internship through the FSU Jobs & Internships page on Facebook. The internship program coordinator at FDEM posted about the position and after reading more about FDEM I decided to apply.

HC: What exactly do you do?

CP: I guess I can start off by explaining what mitigation is. Mitigation is the process of eliminating or reducing the effects of harmful disasters either manmade or natural. The Planning Unit within the Bureau of Mitigation is in charge of reading the Mitigation Plans for all 67 counties of Florida that are updated every five years. I have been learning how to read these plans and make sure they follow Florida and Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) guidelines and regulations. My fellow interns and I have also been working on the Florida Local Mitigation Strategy Update Manual, which is a simple explanation for the counties on how to update their manuals to meet current criteria.

HC: What made you decide to do environmental studies?

CP: I was an exploratory student when I first started at FSU. I thought about doing accounting or something in business, but quickly realized that math was no longer my friend and that I didn’t want to be trapped in a cube all day for the rest of my life. My advisor, Eric Crosier had me take a bunch of personality tests to figure out what kind of career I would enjoy and to find my strengths academically. Eric is one of those advisors that takes a personal interest in you and gets you to really think about what you are passionate about and turning that into a career. I’ve always been pretty good at science and geography, so Environmental Studies seemed like a good fit. I get to learn about policies and human interactions within our environment and how we affect it. I also have a minor in Urban & Regional Planning, which has really influenced what I want to do in the future.

HC: After this semester, what do you have planned?

CP: I will be graduating this December and am currently on the job hunt. I want to go to graduate school for either Urban & Regional Planning or Geographic Information Systems eventually, but I feel like working in the real world for a little bit will help me make that decision.

Courtesy: Connie Patterson

HC: What do you ideally want to do career wise?

CP: In a perfect world, I would want to work for a city, preferable somewhere in the south, because I don’t like the cold. I would like to get into community development and planning, because I think that housing, along with education, is essential for everyone. One day I would like to be a part of the United States Department of Housing and Urban Development in order to help people throughout our nation.

HC: What are you going to miss most about your time here at FSU?

CP: I will miss friends, football and the food. It will definitely be hard saying goodbye to my friends since most of them don’t graduate until next semester. Who doesn’t love going to football games and cheering on the Noles? And all the great food places like Midtown Caboose, The Hobbit, Mr. Robotos and Canopy Road Café. This is the longest I’ve ever stayed at one school, so it will be sad leaving somewhere that now feels like my second home.

HC: What advice would you give to underclassmen, here at FSU?

CP: Don’t be afraid to explore. I met several people throughout my college career who were set in what they wanted to be when we started freshmen year and by the time we were juniors they were questioning everything and weren’t sure they made the right decision. I definitely believe in the saying, “Do what you love, and you will never have to work a day in your life.” If you find no interest in your field of study, why do it?

HC: Is there something you want to accomplish before graduating?

CP: I have been slowly checking things off my bucket list before I leave. I finally saw the Gulf of Mexico this year, got thrown into Westcott fountain, been to the top of the Capitol Building, completed the Challenge Course at the Reservation. But I still have a few places I want to explore in the area, such as Maclay Gardens and the Caverns. I want to learn to paddle board at some point, but that might have to wait until summer.

HC: Lastly, what is your favorite show at the moment?

CP: I’m obsessed with Blood & Oil on ABC. Some of the main characters include Chace Crawford from Gossip Girl and Scott Michael Foster from Greek