After graduating from SU in 2014 with a B.A. in Environmental Studies and a minor in Biology, I began graduate school at the University of Oregon. As a doctoral student in the Environmental Science, Studies and Policy program I research carbon dynamics in estuarine wetlands of the Oregon coast. I study greenhouse gas emissions and microbial enzyme function in the context of wetland restoration. My research includes a combination of ecological field work and laboratory based experiments. I use techniques including radioisotope dating, catabolic enzyme profiles, chamber-based trace gas sampling and a variety of other soil biogeochemistry analyses. Upon completion of my degree I hope to work in wetland restoration and management.
The Environmental Studies program at SU certainly prepared me for graduate school. In addition to advanced coursework, I learned to think critically and examine complex environmental issues through an interdisciplinary lens. Nothing compares to the breadth of faculty knowledge and academic opportunities this program provides. Thank you ENVR!
In the spring of 2013 I took a semester long course with the National Outdoor Leadership School (NOLS). I spent nearly three months in the backcountry of New Zealand learning wilderness first aid, leadership techniques, and how to live simply. For the majority of the time we backpacked through New Zealand's amazing wilderness, but we also spent a month kayaking, and then the last 10 days on a 40 ft sailboat.
Once we set up our camp each day, we had classes learning about a range of things: weather, local biology, technical terms, safety precautions, "Leave No Trace" principles, and local cultural history. On this trip I learned what I am capable of accomplishing and also gained a great appreciation for the power and beauty of our natural world. For anyone who has a interest in outdoor leadership, can handle a physical challenge, and isn't afraid to get dirty, I recommend that you check out the courses that NOLS has to offer. I am sure that it will change your life!
During the 2013-3014 school year I received a unique opportunity that I couldn't afford to pass up: an internship working with sea turtles at Marine Corps Base Camp Lejeune in North Carolina, during which I gained more than 1,700 hours of experience. I enjoyed the things that I would have never gotten to experience without this internship: managing a beach full of loggerhead sea turtle nests, taking shorebird surveys, and learning from great people of the Marine Corps and different biologists around the area who specialize in turtle hatchlings and wounded birds.
I graduated in May 2011 with a dual degree in Biology and Environmental Studies. After taking a year to play in the woods at NorthBay Adventure, an environmental education center, I started an internship with the Parks & People Foundation in Baltimore City. I'm now part of the new Chesapeake Youth Corps Intern Team. The team is working together to improve and grow Chesapeake Bay Watershed youth green job programs. We will be providing promotional and communication support, helping the partners maintain connections with younger generations as technology rapidly changes – we’re really good at Facebook. Network partners include the Parks & People Foundation, Maryland Department of Natural Resources, National Park Service, James River Association and Virginia Department of Conservation and Recreation. The goal is to improve the existing youth job corps programs by making connections between the partners and give more support and resources to develop new programs. I'm not sure about what lies at the end of this internship, but I'm looking forward to the experiences this year will bring!
During the summer of 2014, as part of my EPA fellowship Undergraduate Greater Research Opportunity, I worked for the San Francisco-based EPA Western Office, where I wrote briefs and policies for Congress and organized evidence to pursue companies in violation of EPA regulations. My project, the Navajo Nation Abandoned Uranium Mine, Superfund Division, gave me field experience as well as office experience.
Working for the EPA opened up a whole new world of opportunities, completely different from my previous experiences working in the field on conservation crews. Living in the East Bay area, working in San Francisco, spending my work day pulling together evidence to hold mining companies responsible and producing outreach programs to send to Navajo Nation--and the opportunities to actually go to the Nation and test for uranium in people’s homes--has made me excited for the potential to one day work at the EPA. I could actually see environmentalism change people’s lives. To be a part of such a project and to be working with people who have experience and knowledge beyond anything I could imagine is almost quite literally mind blowing.
Juliana Humphreys, 2011 ENVR graduate, is pursuing an M.S. in public health at Johns Hopkins University’s Bloomberg School of Public Health. Her acceptance includes a scholarship.
While at SU, Juliana participated in several study abroad experiences, performing community service in Costa Rica and learning about the environment in India and Peru. She also engaged in volunteer service while in Peru.
“After grad school, I hope to practice public health in a way that will positively impact the health of marginalized populations,” says Juliana. “My dream job would be in the field of Latino health promotion, so I can use my Spanish language skills, too!”
In the summer of 2012 Zach began his internship with the Virginia Aquarium’s Marine Animal Care Center on October 4 and worked there for 10 weeks. On his first day, he worked with the submarine crew of the USS Boise to rescue a loggerhead sea turtle in bad shape. In mid October they released Big Boy 25, who had been found off the coast of St. Charles dragging a crabpot with a damaged flipper (the flipper had to be amputated) and had been fitted with a tracking device.
As Zach says, “I enjoy caring for the turtles we are rehabilitating and often get in the tank with them. All of my time is not as exciting as this, but is very educational. I have to pick up quite a few dead dolphins on Virginia coastlines. We take them back to our facility and perform necropsies to try to find the cause of death. This is tough to deal with, but vital to facilitate change.”
|Zach and crew taking Big Boy
out of the tank for release
In the summer of 2012 I had the opportunity to work as an intern in the Watershed Division for the Maryland Department of Environmental Protection in Montgomery County. With this internship, I was able to gain experience dealing with stream monitoring, including geomorphological surveying (measuring for erosion), electro-fishing (measuring for pollution tolerance and biodiversity), subsampling macroinvertebrates (measuring for pollution tolerance and biodiversity in bottom dwelling organisms), and data entry (seeing patterns of data from site to site). This internship opened my eyes to what is out there in the professional world of environmentalism. I intend to keep exposing myself to the different options out there as an Environmental Studies major at SU.
I'm presently working a seasonal position at the Audubon Society's Project Puffin Visitor Center in Rockland, Maine. Each day I share the story of Project Puffin with visitors from all over the world. This project was started in 1973 in response to the over harvesting of Atlantic Puffins from the coast of Maine by early colonists. The population of Atlantic Puffins has increased from just 2 in 1901 to over 2,000 today! This center provides educational opportunities for children and adults alike, from children's seabird programs to Friday night lecture series. Project Puffin also provides summer research positions for students and recent grads interested in wildlife biology and ornithology. The website is www.projectpuffin.org, be sure to check out the live cams!!
Last Fall I worked as the Environmental Campaign Coordinator for the Highlands Campaign – SCA, AmeriCorps, connecting 180 environmental groups to help focus their shared interest of protecting forest land in the highlands region of NY, NJ, CT and PA. This region is an important area in the northeast that provides drinking water for over 15 million people. Broad expanses of undeveloped forestland still exist in this area, and are critical for the filtration and protection of major water sources. The goal of the Highlands Campaign is to protect this forestland to ensure a clean and plentiful water source for future generations. My responsibilities included researching and distributing information about water quality in the highlands region, populating social media pages for the Highlands Campaign website, and networking with the 180 member groups of the Highlands Coalition. As an SCA intern, I participated regularly in service projects and trainings with other SCA Hudson Valley Corps interns on top of my duties as an Environmental Campaign Coordinator. These gatherings were always a lot of fun and sometimes attracted up to 100 other interns!
Also you can friend us on Facebook/follow us on Twitter – search “Highlands Campaign”
Since graduating from SU, I have worked as an environmental educator in both the Northeast and Northwest--for the NorthWoods Stewardship Center, the Sargent Center for Outdoor Education and Salish Sea Expeditions. I also spent a summer working on an organic farm/ homestead in northern Vermont. For the past year I have been living in Seattle doing organizing work for the Community Alliance for Global Justice as the co-chair of their Food Justice Project- doing work around sustainable agriculture, connecting people with local farms, and doing education and outreach work to address the problems created by our globalized, industrialized food system- including health, human rights and environmental problems. I am currently seeking support for a delegation that I am taking to Oaxaca with Witness for Peace, the Community Alliance for Global Justice and the WA Fair Trade Coalition--and a writing project that I will be doing about the experience. You can learn more here: http://www.kickstarter.com/projects/1909261482/food-farming-and-migration-in-Oaxaca-a-narrative