Sophie Brown: one month at Paths for All

Sophie, one of our new Graduate Trainees, reflects on her first month with Paths for All, what brought her here and where she sees herself in the future.

Sophie Brown is one of our Graduate Trainees.

My name is Sophie, and I am an Environmental Trainee for Paths for All (PfA). I am from the US, Kansas City to be exact, but I just finished my master’s in Global Health Policy at Edinburgh University. In my role at Paths For All, I essentially get to work on a couple of different teams to better understand how this organisation functions within this sector. I am currently situated on the Policy Team, which is centred around influencing the development and implementation of Scottish national policy relating to PfA objectives. This team also heads the research and statistics aspect of PfA. After a good three months here, I will then get the chance to join a different team to contribute to within the organisation. Really, I get to do and see everything I can in this organisation! 

My drive to work within the sustainability sector was my primary factor in seeking out an organisation such as Paths for All. I learned about this sector during my master’s degree, which inspired me to want to start my career in this line of work. My degree taught me about the intertwined relationship between climate change and public health, and PfA’s focus on behaviour change and active travel seemed to combine all of my previous studies and passions. Paths for All exists at an insanely cool intersection between community engagement, public health, carbon emission reductions, active travel and policy work—I feel very lucky to have stumbled into it.  

There is a lot to enjoy about this role. First and foremost, the people who work here are so clearly passionate about the work they do that it creates such an infectious atmosphere. I was already excited to participate in this organisation in any way that I could, but to be surrounded by such positive attitudes and such friendly people is something I’ve not experienced in my past jobs. Everyone is not only generous with their time but seems perfectly happy to have me nose around what they do. Beyond that, the work itself is rewarding, and it is a great opportunity to learn as much as I can about such an important sector of work. This role really lets me see the organisation from many different angles, something that is very helpful to me as I am starting out in my career and looking to get as much as I can from every opportunity that comes my way.   

As I am based in Edinburgh, I tend to gravitate towards some of my favourite walks nearer to me here. I of course love Arthur’s Seat and Calton Hill, even considering the barrage of activity these paths get daily, as they still impart an overwhelming sense of serenity despite their proximity to the city. I also very much enjoy walking along the canal, as it is closer to me, and I get a lot of peace from walking there after work to unwind. 

In the next five years, I hope to be continuing my work within the third sector, be that in Scotland or back home in the US. Since I came over here for my education in public health, it has been lovely learning about all the different ways I could be part of that sector. Continuing my work in that arena would be ideal for my future aspirations, especially if I could incorporate active travel into my future in any way.