Headshot of Sarah AftergoodAlumni Profile

Sarah Aftergood ’06

As the director of environmental permitting for Texas-based Orsted Onshore North America, Sarah Aftergood ’06 is truly in her happy place.

“I was not made to be in a lab,” says the Calgary native.

“I knew I had to go out there and build stuff. I can’t say I’m ever bored. You’re always problem solving. You’re always thinking strategically. If you want a job that’s going to challenge you, this is an exciting place to be.”

Working closely with state and federal agencies, Ms. Aftergood’s focus is on mitigating any potential damage to the environment that may result from her company’s development of onshore wind, offshore wind and solar farm projects.     

Aftergood graduated from Trent with her BSc in biology before attaining a Masters of Science degree at the University of Newcastle in England. 

After filling a number of environment-related positions with various enterprises on both sides of the border, she began her current role with Orsted Onshore in October 2019. Looking back, she says there wasn’t a plan to work in her current field.

“All I was concerned about was finding my passion, which was in sciences, and hope that I would eventually find something I could apply that to that was rewarding,” she says.

“I started at Trent in a Bachelor of Arts undeclared major because I was nervous to pursue sciences. But I took the first-year environmental science course and loved it so much that I couldn’t fathom not being in sciences.”

“My true passion was marine biology and marine sciences. I took the opportunity to go study in Europe. Offshore wind was the up-and-coming industry at the time. Marine biologists were needed to go out and do the surveys, so I took a job opportunity to get my foot in the door with an industry I really didn’t know much about. I fell in love with it - how quickly it moves, how the technology is changing, how the people involved are so passionate about it.”

Ms. Aftergood says her experience has taught her one undeniable truth.

“Don’t doubt yourself. At one point, I doubted my ability to be in sciences. But easier is not what builds passion. If you know you’re good at something, if you live and breathe something, you should pursue that. You will find what you’re looking for if you pursue the things you love. I listened to my gut and I haven’t looked back since.” 

Ms. Aftergood was a featured Trent alumna panelist at the recent FemSTEAM Fall Summit. Visit the FemSTEAM website for more information.