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Maya Canaztuj ’17: “Just Keep Pushing!”

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Finding employment after college is a common challenge. But Antioch College students have a leg up, gaining valuable real-world experience through Co-op starting in the first year. Antiochians graduate not just with a degree, but also with a resume.

Maya Canaztuj ’17—who graduated with a Bachelor of Science in Environmental Science—explains that it was her Co-ops that helped solidify her career path. Maya began working in Microbiology for Advanced Testing Laboratory (ATL), a Fortune 500 company, before moving to a new opportunity as Hydro-Tech at Miami Conservancy District (MCD). Maya said her current job aligns with both her interests and her Co-op experiences. “It has been a dream come true. I knew I wanted to work outside. I wanted to do something meaningful and water had continued to be a theme in my education and work background!

“Working at ATL as a contracting Microbiologist was my first post-graduation job, and I was extremely grateful for the opportunity and the experience, but it wasn’t where I wanted to be. I didn’t even take Microbiology in college! I was looking for my next move and when the position at MCD became available, I jumped on it. My time as an intern at the City of Dayton [on Co-op] really got me ready for this interview and I was picked for the job. I have been here for a year and some months, and I am excited every day I go to work,” she added.

Stopping to enjoy the flowers while out collecting well levels.

Maya said that she chose Antioch College because of the Science department. She wasn’t entirely sure what she wanted to focus on when she began her studies, but Maya knew that she wanted to be on Antioch’s beautiful campus near the beautiful Glen Helen. “The classes were engaging and the professors helpful, but I think the thing that really solidified my path was my Co-ops,” she explained.

With some help, Maya found and picked out her own Co-ops, “I worked as a seasonal hydrologist for the Cleveland Metroparks, I worked for an Environmental Center in Florida as a Naturalist, I worked on a grant from the EPA (alongside Rian Lawrence ’17, Lanique Dawson ’19, Associate Professor of Biology and Environmental Science Kim Landsbergen, and former Assistant Professor of Cooperative Education Jessive D’Ambrosio) that focused on using tree branches as water filters, and lastly, I worked as an intern for the City of Dayton in the division of Water Supply and Treatment.” All of the Co-ops helped her towards her current career path. She noted, “These experiences helped me decide what I wanted to learn about and gave me the background I needed to wow my now boss and manager in my interview! When I look back, the Co-ops are what I am most grateful for (besides the amazing friendships I made!). They really shaped me into the Hydro-Tech I am today.”

Taking a stream measurement with a flow tracker.

Touching on advice for current students pursuing her path, Maya answered, “I am a queer, POC woman in a field where that is kind of rare. Don’t let anyone tell you, you can’t do something! I would say, reach out to recent grads in your field. See if they can help you in any way. They may have leads for Co-ops or may be able to offer a shadow experience.” Maya added, “Also, just keep pushing. Things can feel hard but once you get through it, it’s a beautiful ride. I’m getting married in October to the woman of my dreams. We bought a house in Dayton; I work in Dayton, making things happen every day. Consider me a resource and feel free to reach out!”

Out on the Great Miami River with coworkers during the annual river clean-up day.