Hey EV Alums! Have a good story to share about life after CC? Send a message to firstname.lastname@example.org about your latest experiences, and any recent/fun pictures are greatly appreciated. Thanks!
Current Students: If you're interested in connecting with alums and finding out more about internships and jobs, drop by Tutt Science 116 to see results from the alumni survey!
Some highlights from our 2015 alumni survey:
- 75% of alums work in jobs related to environmental issues
- 68% have received advanced degrees
- more than 30% stay in Colorado
From Arica Crootof I recently accepted a tenure-track position as an Assistant Professor of Environmental Sustainability at the University of Montana Western. My first class - block!!- will be teaching Intro to Environmental Sustainability, very much like the first block I took at CC. Since we parted ways I've gotten a MS in hydrology, took Aaron Wolf's Water Conflict course at OSU, worked as a water resources consultant and am now completing my PhD in human-environment geography at the University of Arizona.
From Brendan Shea (5/17) I've enrolled at Northeastern for Fall of 2017. It's a pretty unique, condensed program that seems like a great opportunity to be exposed to a couple different aspects of the field of marine biology before settling into a career, or heading back for a doctorate after graduation (a lot of student use it as a springboard in that sense). I'll spend the fall taking classes at Northeastern's ocean laboratory in the Boston area, before a spring semester split between Bocas del Toro, Panama, and Friday Harbor, Washington. After the spring semester there's an internship component which will last through Fall 2018, at which time I'll present my research. Very excited for the chance to actively learn in the field in so many cool locations, continuing on one of the themes of CC that I loved so much. Lots of class time is actually under water! I ended up being admitted there as well as URI, but after interviewing at Northeastern this winter, it had jumped to #2 on my list behind MIT, so I'm thrilled to have been admitted.
From Holly Moynahan '15 (7/16) I recently accepted an offer to work as a corporate sustainability consultant at Sustainserv GmbH/Inc., an international sustainability consulting firm based out of Boston and Zurich. I joined the Boston office, and so far have enjoyed my work immensely. We work with an array of companies and universities from all over the world that want to strengthen their sustainability strategies, establish a sustainability strategy, and/or communicate their sustainability initiatives with key stakeholders (among a variety of other projects). It is a really exciting space and I am required to stay up to date with all that is happening in the sustainability world. We work with a lot of sustainability metrics and methods as well, so I was also able to fly out to our office in Zurich for about a week to do some training and to receive a Global Reporting Initiative (GRI) certification! It is very stimulating work overall and I am very grateful I have landed such an interesting job that allows me to utilize some of the knowledge I gained through CC's EV program. Although it may seem like a paradox to want to work with companies on their sustainability, it actually is an incredible way to make a big difference because many companies have the resources to reduce their impact and influence other companies to do the same - ultimately causing a cultural shift (which I have witnessed in various industries myself). For any prospective CC students or alumni, I highly recommend entering the corporate sustainability space! It's pretty great :) www.sustainserv.com
From Sam Williams '14 (1/16) As an Environmental Policy major at CC, what I was looking for most was an interdisciplinary skill-set that would help me navigate the complex world of nature conservation. Not knowing exactly what that world looked like, or how I might fit in, I was lucky enough to be selected as a student researcher for the State of the Rockies Project. Over that summer, I developed several case studies about Large Landscape Conservation initiatives across the Rocky Mountains.
Soon after graduation, I started working with the Center for Large Landscape Conservation in Bozeman, MT, as a result of connections I made through State of the Rockies. It has been almost a year and a half, and I couldn't be happier! I've been involved in numerous projects, from tribal climate change adaptation planning to a regional ecological connectivity project with the Great Northern Landscape Conservation Cooperative. Working at a desk all day isn't easy, but making a tangible difference at these large scales is pretty incredible!
If anyone has any questions, or would like to learn more about large landscape conservation, I would love to hear from you at email@example.com.
From Alex Kahnweiler (3/15) I wanted to check in and give you a quick update on medical school. Starting in August, I will be attending Midwestern University in Downers Grove, IL, an osteopathic program located about 30 minutes west of Chicago. I was hoping that I would be able to stay in Colorado but it will be ncie to be close to my parents and not have the mountains distracting me when I am trying to study. It is definitely going to be a big change from working on a ski mountain but I am excited to be back in a classroom and take the first steps towards becoming a physician.
From Nicole Gillett (2/14) Since receiving my degree at CC and striking out into the world, I have been truly fortunate in the opportunities which have appeared along my path (no thanks to the depressing state of the job market).
Fresh out of graduation, I traveled the long road up to Boulder where I was to intern over the 2013 summer at the Getches-Wilkinson Center for Natural Resources, Energy, and the Environment through CU Law. I cannot stress enough here what a remarkable chance this was, and how grateful I am to both the CC internship fund and CU Law. I was able to work with a motivated team on tribal water rights issues and climate change in the Southwest resulting in a co-authorship on a paper and a website resource for tribes. I also was able to meet influential actors in the sweeping issues of water in the Southwest at the Clyde Martz Summer Water Conference; many of which inspired me to return one day to the Southwest to tackle some of these critical water concerns.
At the end of the summer I had three days to drive out east to begin my stint as a graduate student at University of Massachusetts. This was another lucky opportunity to continue my education in the applicable field of Geography. While working towards my MS, I am researching with an amazing interdisciplinary team on flooding risk and mitigation in the Northeast. Besides the nice benefit of funding my master's program, this research project has allowed me to travel and meet people all through the Northeast and learn about their communities and the ways they live in cohesion with their (increasingly) unpredictable rivers. Five months in, and I am still plowing (literally, as a Northwest girl, these Northeast winters are slightly frightening) my way through the academic world and thoroughly enjoying it.
After I complete my two years here at UMass, I plan to continue my education, but move somewhere back out West! I hope to continue working on community natural resources, especially water related ones, and further our society towards a more sustainable future.
From Sally Hardin (10/13) I’m greatly enjoying my internship experience with CEQ (despite the delay from the shutdown), and really think it’s a wonderful opportunity for someone who is really interested in, and serious about, environmental policy. I’ve gotten a chance to work on environmental issues at the Federal level, work with people from a lot of different agencies and backgrounds, and work on a broad range of land and water issues (everything from NEPA streamlining and updating, to Endangered Species Act consultation, to the Clean Water Act). CEQ is again looking for interns for the Spring, and so I was wondering if you have any interested students or recent graduates who you think would be good candidates for a CEQ internship.
Here is the link; if you wouldn’t mind circulating this to appropriate people, I would greatly appreciate it! I know it’s kind of weird timing for students as it’s a Spring internship, but I think it’s really worth the time and effort.
From Karen Ritland (10/13) After a crazy few last months of school (summer classes are block plan style, and of course I had to take the public lands management class that went to Montana) I successfully finished my program and was looking for the next step when I came across the Bay Area Climate Corps! So, I applied to their one remotely located position (Truckee, California, 15 minutes north of Lake Tahoe) and got a fellowship working for the Sierra Business Council helping with their Sierra Nevada Energy Watch program that does energy auditing and retrofits, and their Green Communities program, which helps communities in the region come up with plans to comply with California's emissions standards. I've been out here two weeks now and I am having a blast and loving it! I am making friends and hiking a lot, I even biked around Lake Tahoe yesterday! Anyways, it was a very last minute decision to move out here, and life has been such a whirlwind, but I am finally getting settled, and really excited to explore all Tahoe has to offer! My time at Vermont Law School was great, I had a blast living with Sally, and I learned so much with really awesome professors. I had to work really hard though, and I am excited for a change in pace :-) I also am so happy I chose the MELP and not the JD, I believe Sally feels the same. Anyways, all is well and I just wanted to touch base with you! I hope you're doing well!! How is school going this fall? I can't believe how time flies! How is the rest of the EV department doing? I'll have to reach out to them soon as well, now that I'm starting to get settled here. I miss you guys!
From Kyle Hemes (01/13) As for me, things are good, and changing quickly. I ended up deciding not to go ahead with the PhD in Toronto. Basically, I decided it is not the program or department that is really right for my interests now. It is a small forestry faculty with limited resources, and I feel like I am less interested in classical forestry and forest/soil biology, and more interested in ecosystem ecology and land atmosphere interactions at a larger scale. Although I am really fascinated by the field of land/atmosphere interactions...I am a bit uncertain as to what specific topic within the field that I want to spend 5 years on yet (remote sensing? climate models? phenology? markets? canopy dynamics?) I would like to go to graduate school to develop a specific niche within this interest in the next few years, but I want to be confident that the program fits me perfectly.
Lately I have been working on jurisdictional (province-wide) forest carbon projects for a small technical consulting company called Forest Carbon. I have been gaining some skills in GIS and Remote Sensing, and just got back from a few weeks in the field in central Vietnam. I do like the work, but after 2 years in Laos, it is time to move on, and come back to the West. I can't miss another ski season!
So, I have this new opportunity that I am quite excited about with the American Carbon Registry (ACR) a part of Winrock International. They are working to develop scientific methodologies for carbon offset projects around the world, and now especially for the new California carbon market. This job would be a program associate, focusing on developing carbon offset methodologies for forestry, agriculture, GHG emitting industry and other capped sectors in California. I will visit ACR in Sacramento in August for a final interview meeting in person. I think this would be a really great opportunity to bring my skills in carbon dynamics and offset protocols and carbon forestry to the US west, and I would also be quite excited about working in California's new and evolving market.
UPDATE: I was offered the job with ACR and I'm just now hammering out the contract. Will likely start in October.
From Julia Ela (07/08) I currently have a year-long AmeriCorps position working for The Nature Conservancy in Wisconsin as the Assistant Land Steward. So, I am basically doing a lot of land management work around the Southern part of the state. I have been able to do a lot of work outside on the different properties working with contractors and volunteers removing invasive species and doing a lot of good restoration. As the position continues I have begun to have more of a part in easement monitoring, developing land management plans, working with researchers on a wide array of studies, planning stream restorations, along with an assortment of other odd jobs. The most exciting part of this position has been the fall (and will also be the spring) because that is when we perform our prescribed burns. So, I've become a certified burn crew member and get to participate in that aspect of land management, which has been really exciting. It's something I never thought I would do, but I really love it and hope that I can continue to do it in the future. I have really loved working for The Nature Conservancy; everyone here has been so helpful and thoughtful, nd I am amazed at how much I am learning about the prairies of my home state. I do miss the mountains, though.
From Maggie Mangan '04 (9/04) I am living and working at Willow Lake Farm in Windom, Minnesota. It is a fairly large farm growing corn, soybeans, prairie grass seed, and a small organic patch. We will begin harvesting native grass seed this week (September 2004) followed by soybeans. The head farmer, Tony Thompson, has a lifetime of experience as an ecologically conscious farmer and progressive ideas about the agricultural landscape. In the last decade he has restored many wetlands on his land and is instrumental in the restoration of much of the local prairie. I look forward to a Fall of hard work and beautiful scenery – so many migratory birds!
UPDATE (1/05): I am living in Minneapolis for an urban reprieve between seasons at the Willow Lake Farm. I worked and lived there this fall; I drove a tractor and all! The experience really complimented my EV education. It provided the hands-on component, the reality of agricultural production. The farm is fairly big, environmentally conscious while producing conventional corn and soybeans. I am deconstructing some preconceived notions and embracing what it takes to stay alive as a family farm. This experience has directed my next academic step. I have been meeting with some professors at the University of Minnesota and am planning on applying to the Agronomy/Agroecology program in the department of Applied Plant Science. I am looking to interface this degree with a number of economics courses or possibly a sustainable agriculture major.
From Jason Kreitler ’01 (9/04) I am currently at the Bren School of Environmental Science and Management at UCSB. I gave a talk to Jim Ebersole’s Advanced Ecology class while I was back (in the Springs) and would do the same for EV if I find myself in the Springs. I am very impressed with the new building and will be following the progress of the EV department.
From Peter Erb ’04 (9/04) My summer research on grizzly bears went very well. I didn’t see any grizzly bears (not a bad thing!), but saw 17 black bears while bushwacking through the mountains. I learned a lot from the project, which is the biggest large animal study in the country, so I am very grateful to have been a part of it, even though it fully tested me physically and mentally. Now I’m off and rolling on this sustainability project of mine and my parents. The planning has been crazy and it should be an exciting learning experience if I can pull it off, and it already has been. I’ll try and keep you updated on the project as it starts to come along. I’ll also be working part-time for an environmental consulting firm if I can fit it in with everything else, so things are working out well so far up here in Montana!
Update 11/06 It's been awhile but I thought I'd say hello and give you an update on how things were going. After the grizzly bear project I began working on developing this non-profit based in rural northwestern Montana that addresses issues of rural sustainability and ecological design. I worked exclusively on the project for over a year until I decided it was time to switch gears and start working my way towards graduate school. After leaving the non-profit in good hands I took an internship at the Smithsonian Institute's Conservation and Research Center. Over the last year I've been working at the CRC's Conservation GIS Lab on a project to reintroduce the Przewalski's wild horse back into China. Along with making all the maps and tracking released horses by satellite I've been able to gain some great experience in international conservation. The majority of the work, which took me to China over the summer, involves working with the local Kazak nomads to develop conservation strategies that don't involve destroying their nomadic lifestyle. The experience has been amazing, but my time here at the Smithsonian is almost up and I'm ready to head back to school before too long. I'll be sure to let you know where I end up from here!
From Samantha Less ’02 (8/04) Just thought I’d let you know what an EV alum is up to these days. I just accepted a naturalist position (without “intern” behind it, finally) to start this Fall at KEEP Cambria Pines-Kern County’s version of Outdoor Science School for their 5th and 6th graders. I’ll be located right by Cambria on the central coast of California (halfway between San Fran and LA). Very exciting. My passion for environmental ed is staying strong.
From Emily Marisa Scherer ’98 (9/04) I don’t remember exactly what I was up to last time I saw you at the CC reunion (and grand opening of the new building) but, as of a month ago, I am back at Cornell in the Waste Management Institute as research support. I mainly support the compost projects and the more involved I get, the more I realize how relevant it is to my goals and values. For example, many of our projects center on farm sustainability. Many farms are now required to have very detailed nutrient management plans and often have excess nutrients to dispose of. One option is to compost manure and export it off of the farm. Our projects help farmers make more consumer-friendly and higher-quality compost products and find markets for these products. One market is playing fields. An added bonus is that by using compost, groundskeepers can reduce the amount of chemical fertilizers and fungicides.
From Dave Chalmers '03 (10/04) I have been glad to hear that the EV program is growing and doing really well. Life has been quite an adventure since graduation. The summer of '03 I was in British Columbia on a Ritt Kellog Grant funded backpacking trip and then only two weeks after coming home to Michigan from that adventure left for Nepal with the Peace Corps. I loved being in Nepal and learned a lot I think, including Nepali, which was challenging but ultimately fun and very useful. I lived in a really great village a couple hours from Kathmandu working primarily on developing and implementing soil conservation projects as well as environmental education programs at local schools. Unfortunately the civil war going on has been intensifying which eventually resulted in the entire Peace Corps program being suspended and all volunteers evacuated in late September. I did not feel in danger and wanted to stay, as did many of the other volunteers, but I also can understand why the embassy and Peace Corps folk in Washington had to make the call they did. Anyway, that's a brief summary of what I've been up to since graduating. Now I am home in Michigan for a few weeks applying for graduate school. I am applying to a collaborative Peace Corps Fellows/USA, Michigan Tech University, and USDA Forest Service program which will result in a Masters of Science in Forestry Degree. In brief, the program entails a year of forestry and resource policy focused coursework at Michigan Tech followed by a year of working for the Forest Service Content Analysis Team which receives, analyzes, organizes, and oversees public comment on a variety of natural resource management and policy questions. If you wanted to know more about the program you can find a detailed description at http://peacecorps.mtu.edu/fellows.htm.
From Micah Lang '02 (5/04) I recently arrived back in Seattle after three months with the Bank Information Center in Washington, DC. The 9-5 office and computer work was not my cup of tea, but overall it was a valuable experience and I made some connections with a variety of environmental NGOs around the world, which I'm sure will prove useful down the road. I ended up spending most of my time working on a user's guide for the World Bank's Environmental and Social Safeguard Policies, targeted at the average person in Southern countries who are trying to understand their rights and role in World Bank financed projects. I also worked on a database of transparency indicators at international financial institutions - IFIs. Both of these projects involved lots of arcane details and IFI policy work lingo...something which I will hopefully be able to put to use in the future.
I am heading up to Alaska for a three-month internship with the Anchorage Waterways Council, an organization that is affiliated with the Alaska Conservation Foundation internship program that I applied for back in February. I will be assisting with a watershed assessment, doing a bit of community education on watershed ecology, and helping prepare for the removal of a dam at the end of the summer.
And the most exciting news...this fall I will be starting graduate study at UC-Berkeley in the Energy and Resources Group on a MA/PhD track! There must have been several things about my application that caught Berkeley's eye, because they are providing me with guaranteed full funding and a living stipend for five years. I was also accepted at the University of Bergen and was awarded a Fulbright Fellowship for one year of Study in Norway. It was a hard decision between the Fulbright and Berkeley, but I ended up turning down the Fulbright because Berkeley's offer seems much more like a "once in a lifetime opportunity."
Update 4/05: Like the CC Environmental Science Program, ERG is really interdisciplinary, which has facilitated my dabbling in different disciplines. As tempting as it is to return to Colorado to do field work, I've decided to move more towards the social sciences. This summer I will be going to Baja California Sur (the southern-most state of the peninsula) to work on a project that I will most likely use for my Masters thesis. Me and three other students will be conducting in-home trials of an ultraviolet water disinfection unit in rural communities. My role is to look at the social-cultural aspects of water use in the communities and how the disinfection unit fits into the lives of the trial families. Here is a link to a description of the project: http://bridge.berkeley.edu/research_uv.html. I'm also involved in a project that might take me to Sri Lanka during August to conduct water assessments in several Tsunami affected communities and to disseminate information about simple water technologies like rainwater harvesting and the ultraviolet disinfection unit that I'm working with in Mexico.
From Samantha Lampert '03 (11/04) I have just started a new position in Atlanta at the Georgia Conservancy, a statewide non-profit environmental organization. Our mission statement is: The Georgia Conservancy is dedicated to responsible stewardship and protection of Georgia's natural resources. Through environmental education, principled advocacy, and inclusive decision-making we strive to make Georgia a better place to live.
I am working as the Grants and Membership Coordinator, which means lots of grants applications and research, as well as being involved in most of our events geared towards increasing our membership. It's great to be working with an environmental organization after a long search since returning from Brazil in January.
From Daniel "Max" Christiansen '04 (11/04) Greetings from El Salvador! My Peace Corps experience has proven to be wonderful thus far. I am in the process of completing my ten-week pre-service training, and I will be officially swearing in as Volunteer on December 2nd, whereupon I will be beginning my two years of service (yikes!). El Salvador is hot, seedy, and great. I am going to be living on the side of the Volcano Conchagua in the province of La Union in a small town. I am going to be 3 hours from the summit and a half hour from the beach. Incredible! I am in the Agroforestry and Environmental Education program here, and my job there will be teaching at the local K-9 school as an environmental educator (I'm thinking non-formal education will be best, like taking kids up the volcano and such, but that could just be my interests coming out), and I will be working with local farmers and fishermen on improving their techniques in the way of sustainability.
I have found a house in the community that, by luck of the draw, has terraces in the backyard filled with phosphorus-rich volcanic soil, leading down to a dry creek bed. I have running water at the house for potential irrigation, but not all of the time. I was thinking that I could turn that area into an experimental agriculture area, with organic compost fertilizer, but also with a sort of trickle-down terraced irrigation system, as many of the environmental issues that I am working with here stem from run-off and soil erosion problems on agricultural hillsides (yeah Water class!). I know that in EV we addressed the topic of terrace-irrigation, where each level is sequentially flooded and the crops are arranged from highest water demand on top to lowest on the bottom, but I'm having trouble finding resources here. I have found my EV background very helpful here, as it causes me to think ecologically and systematically. Excellent. You all are doing a good thing there.
From Cheryl Van Dyke '97 (3/05) I run a non-profit natural history research organization in Alaska. We are currently focused on detailed GIS mapping of brown bear habitat and patterns of use. Be well!
From Shea Pickelner '99 (3/05) I am currently working in Utah at the City Academy teaching Chemistry to high schoolers. Here's a bit about what I'm up to: Cruising on Cooking Oil: Students at City Academy have found a way to motor from Point A to Point B pollution-free -- all they need is a little cooking grease. FULL STORY: http://deseretnews.com/dn/view/l%2C1249%2C600115329%2C00.html.
From Trisha Thoms '04 (3/05) Contrary to popular belief, one can actually graduate from a liberal arts college and find a job that requires recollection of previous course work, therefore utilizing their degree! Although I don't feel very far removed from the last 20 or so years of my student lifestyle considering that I'm still in a university setting. I spent the summer in western Tanzania as an REU student through the Nyanza Project. My individual research project focused on nutrient limitation and spatial variation of benthic algae in Lake Tanganyika. The rest of my limnology "team" covered other trophic levels, with the goal of combining our efforts to create a larger-scale nutrient cycle story of the littoral zone. Anyway, lots of hard work mixed with the benefits of snorkeling and diving in tropical waters on the NSF nickel and overall a wonderful experience. Mid-summer I received an email from Steve Perakis, an ecosystem ecologist at Oregon State University, inviting me to work in his lab. I gladly accepted, thereby blowing my ski bumming in Bozeman plans with Jamie Shinn. So here I am, in lovely Corvallis, working as a Research Technician for a year. My primary duty is to act as the care-taker of the Ion Chromatograph. As glamorous as that sounds, it's actually been quite challenging because it is a new addition to the lab and no one else has a clue how to run it. I've troubleshot my way through the installation of the instrument and customization methods for the various graduate projects, and I'm currently in the process of developing a new method for measuring calcium oxalate in soils. I've also become the primary field assistant for a couple of projects--we all know field work is the ultimate goal of every EV student. I can't complain about getting paid to hike around Olympic National Park for a study investigating how climate change will effect carbon sequestration in forests. Graduate school is definitely in the future, but not for a few years. I would like to test out a few other fields of research aside from forest ecology (such as snow hydrology - living in Oregon has made me realize how much I miss the winter), before I commit to a graduate program. Plus, I still need to fit in that season of skiing!
From Alison Samter '04 (3/05) Hello all! Well, I've done it. I've finally left Paradise. It was a difficult choice but I figure there are more adventures to be had. I was also getting a bit worried that my muscles and my brain may start to atrophy. It was pretty sad. My little island had definitely started to feel like home. People didn't believe me when I said I was going to leave. I almost cried a few times saying goodbye to people, especially the kids who work at where I was staying. Anyway, I'm in Ranong, a city on the west coast, aka where the boat from paradise brings you. I'm going tomorrow to talk with a scuba diving shop. I think I'll go on their next trip to the Similan Islands. Supposed to be one of the best dive spots in the world. If I do go I am going to get my advanced certification and begin working my way towards master diver. That way I can work on marine biology research projects, and take my environmental science degree out of the mountains and into the water. I am really excited. It will be a four day trip where I'll live on the boat. There are manta rays (can be up to 24 ft. across) and frog fish and sea horses, oh my! Not sure what I'll do until then. I am thinking of going to a national park near here (Kow Sok) where I can stay in a tree house in the jungle. There are wild elephants and tigers and lotuses and waterfalls there. I think I'll go even if just for a few days. It will be good for me to be off the beach for a little bit. Maybe go for a few hikes. The guidebook assured me that the leeches aren't too bad this time of year! After diving I have to go to Burma for a visa run -- take a boat to Burma and come back so I can get another month in Thailand. Well, I think I am going to go take advantage of my night in the city and get some pizza. I haven't had any since I left New York. Love you all. Hope all is well. I'll be in touch when I can.
From Trevor McLeod '04 (7/05) I've been doing great and enjoying living here in my hometown, Nevada City. I was lucky enough to land a job with a local non-profit (Friends of Deer Creek) last summer. I'm working as one of their environmental consultants. I've been doing a lot of research into alternative tertiary treatment for our local wastewater treatment plant, and assessing the operations of a large, private reservoir on the creek. That work has led to similar consultations for other groups (national heritage institute, American rivers, sierra connections, south yuba river citizens league). So I've kept busy and managed to learn a lot along the way. I've realized that my passion lies with rivers and their health, management and protection.
I'm thinking about going to grad school next year. I'd like to get a masters in hydrology or water resource management. Right now UC Davis, U Nevada Reno, Cal, UCSB, and U New Mexico are the hydrology departments I've looked into
From Jamie Pinto '04 (7/05) I am starting grad school this summer at the University of Maine, am a little nervous but also excited. It will be good to get back in the swing of things. Currently I am enrolled in their Ecology and Environmental Science MS program and hope to be moved to the PhD program before the end of my second semester. I have had a couple meetings but am still a bit unsure exactly what I will be doing here. I am hoping I'll start to get into a rhythm and have a definite schedule. All in all I think that I will really like it here.
From Tony DeLois '04 (8/05) Doesn't seem like that long ago that I graduated, but the time sure has flown. I spent some time after graduation in Spain working and traveling through WWOOF. It was a great experience from many aspects. The last farm I stayed on was probably the most beneficial, because the man was heavily involved in politics in Spain. It was interesting to see how different Spanish and US policy are in regards to the environment and agriculture, especially the organic revolution. I spent a good amount of time in rural Spain living off the grid at almost all the farms. I returned and spent the winter skiing in Utah. It's what I wanted to do, so I went for it. I have now moved out to California and am living in San Francisco. I currently am working the details out for an internship with the Pacific Forest Trust, and I am also looking into graduate schools.
From Danica Lombardozzi 04 (10/05) I'm still here working the same job (Scientist in Residence at a small private school). It's definitely better the second year! I'm working on some really great projects with the kids, like leaf decomposition rates, bug communities in the local ponds, and beach profile changes. We've been having lots of fun! I never took your Energy class, but I remember people (mainly Emily) doing ecological footprints. I'd really like to do that with some kids here this winter, but I'm not sure how to start.
I'm working on putting together an NSF application to study urban biogeochemistry in cities with different amounts of rainfall. Right now, people have figured out that urban areas have changed nitrogen cycling but do not know exactly where the nitrogen goes. I would like to see how precipitation might affect the fate of nitrogen and its retention in the ecosystems surrounding urban areas. I'm working with a professor from Cornell, Jed Sparks, as well as Sharon Hall to put this together.
Update 04/06 Thanks so much for all your help in getting my recommendations complete for my grad school applications. I wanted to let you know that I've decided to attend Cornell. They awarded me an IGERT fellowship, which will be paying me for my first 2 years there. I'm very excited to be starting next fall.
From Emily Wright '04 (11/05) I've been steadily skipping through all sorts of environments since graduation. A year ago I was working on the Olympic Peninsula outside of Port Angeles. I hitch-hiked up Highway I to get there from Santa Barbara, after stepping off a Greyhound bus and immediately realizing my mistake. Toting my yellow suitcase, I found a farm called Salt Creek; its waters intermingle with those from the Strait of Juan de Fuca. It was a well-established CSA in the community, so I got to learn the intricacies of harvest schedules, delivery routes, pick-up spots and creating colorful crates of vegetables.
Once the season slowed, farmer Doug dragged a little Toyota out of the weeds and sent me on my way. I stopped over for a stint back in Colorado, where Howard introduced me to Teresa Cohn. Teresa is a graduate of the program in holistic science at Schumacher College, into which I hope I will someday be accepted. She's a brilliant teacher. We spent time with the students exploring stories of water, including hydrology, wastewater treatment, water management, water in poetry and native american relations with water. We also contemplated our own stories by the banks of the Snake River in Wyoming.
I left CC for the second time and over-wintered in Missouri, happily being a part of communities I had fled as a teenager. Then to New York, with a desk in an office in midtown Manhattan, working for an organization called Earth Pledge. Of their three initiatives: green roofs, farm to table, and anaerobic digestion (AD), I worked on the third, applying a whole lot of chemistry and systems thinking to figure out the feasibility of using AD to process urban organic waste streams (feeding would-be compost to methanogenic bacteria and collecting the methane as a local fuel source while using the digested material as soil enrichment).
Alas, I left those projects and the city behind for the Tuscan countryside, where I am now working as an intern at a place called Tenuta di Spannocchia, an organic farm with vegetable gardens, vineyards, olive trees, chestnut groves, and pigs, sheep, cows and horses that are native species to the agricultural landscape of Tuscany. I've just come in from pitch-forking straw in their stalls and calling them in from the forests and fields. And tomorrow, chi lo sa?
From Tony DeLois '04 (12/05) Just a few weeks ago I got together with Brooks, Matt Lee, and Trevor. It was great to see those guys again, and it seems that everyone is doing great work out here in California. I just started a great internship with the Center for Urban Education and Sustainable Agriculture. It's a great non-profit that promotes sustainable food systems. I will be creating programs in their educational department once that gets underway early next year. For now I am calling and meeting with farmers to make profiles for their stalls at markets and for the website. There is a good deal of competition out here in the Bay Area for non-profit work. It seems that these organizations ask first for your time before offering any sort of job. Unfortunately, some places ask for 30-40 hrs/wk and it's hard to fulfill their requests because of my own financial needs. But I think I found a good one. I really enjoy the work that I am doing, and promoting sustainable agriculture is something that I care about.
I am still thinking about going back to school. This time I am focused on education. I am still unsure whether to receive my masters in another subject other than education, and then go for my teaching credentials. Anyway, I have a number of applications to start looking at and filling out as well as other job opportunities. That's all that is new in the world of Tony. Hope things are going well.
From Brooks Mason '04 (3/06) I moved down the hill from Truckee, CA to Reno, NV in January to pursue a Masters in Atmospheric Science. School has been great so far. I'm taking classes in physical climatology, atmospheric-biospheric exchanges, and differential equations. It's kind of refreshing to be out of the block plan arrangement in some ways, not in others. I miss field trips but like the schedule. As an arrangement with UNR, I also work for the Desert Research Institute where I am working on an environmental justice air quality study in a low income area of Los Angeles. The field study has not begun yet so I have been busy testing the accuracy and precision of passive air monitors in a large atmospheric chamber that we built. Shahryar Samy is working on his doctorate there as well and his cubicle is next to mine. Samy showed me his masters thesis a little while back and there is a picture of Max Crisbins donning his blue lab coat taking canister samples at CC! I got a real kick out of it.
I get to see Tony Delois, Trevor McProud (Trevor actually just took off to teach in Argentina) and Matt Lee pretty frequently these days as well as the occasional Crisbins...always a pleasure! Also saw Anne Havemann and Chris Jenkins recently in NYC. Everyone seems to be doing well. For play, I've been climbing and boating whenever I get the chance. Hopefully I'll make it back to Colorado Springs one of these days to say hello to all and snag an extra grumpy grump from the king's chef. My email is firstname.lastname@example.org now in case anyone's passing through.
UPDATE (02/09): (note to Howard) I wanted to let you know that I completed my Masters in Atmospheric Science this Spring at the Desert Research Institute in Reno. All in all, working and studying there was a great experience, and I really owe Shahryar Samy a big thanks for helping me get my foot in the door. Nonetheless, my girlfriend, Ashley, also a CC grad, and I decided that we really missed Colorado and so I put the prospect of a doctoral degree on hold for awhile and we moved sight unseen to Boulder because of its location and all of the atmospheric research going on here. I am now employed by the Institute of Arctic and Alpine Research up here in Boulder as a professional research assistant. I work under a PI by the name of Detlev Helmig who does some very interesting research on biogenic emissions. He'd like me to do my PHD research there, but I'm undecided on whether or not I want to stay in the atmospheric sciences or switch to an engineering track. Ultimately, I think I'd prefer to teach like you but I've heard the job market for professors is very competitive, so I'm considering the engineering degree because of its versatility as a backup plan.
From Rob Lamb '99 04/06 Greetings to my former professors and advisors. I hope life and work have found you all well since I left Colorado College many years ago. Life has certainly been going well for me. I received a Masters from Yale last year in Forestry and am currently working in the southern Appalachian region. For the past nine months I've worked for a land trust just south of Asheville, but will soon be moving on to a university position where I will be doing more active forest management while teaching forestry to undergraduates. The impetus for this career in forest conservation and management certainly began for me back at CC with my work in fire ecology research. The opportunities and education you provided for me at that time were invaluable experiences for me that I look back on with fond memories.
Thanks again for everything you do and I hope our paths cross again someday. Please let me know if you ever come through western North Carolina. It is a nice place to visit if you have not considered it before. My wife and I would be happy to host you.
From Michael Foley '05 (12/06) I am back to living in Hawaii; but rather than rural Haiku, Maui, I am now in the middle of Honolulu. This city is crazy! It is like no place I have ever been. At first it seemed really big and wild, but now I am used to it I guess and it doesn't seem that unmanageable. I figure that living in any city with beaches and good waves is fine by me.
I started school in the fall at University of Hawaii Manoa. I am working toward my Master's degree in Civil Engineering with a concentration in Environmental Engineering. The classes are pretty neat, but the main perk is the Hawaii Natural Energy Institute located right next door. I got myself a research assistantship with them working on developing biofuels/biomass energy production in Hawaii. I'm trying to focus the majority of my degree around renewable energy engineering and it seems like good timing now that more and more politicians are throwing the renewable energy word around. We'll see where this leads me.
I also have a job smack in the middle of downtown Honolulu. I work as a "civil engineer" for an engineering/scientific development firm called Oceanit Labs. I am the modeler for the engineering department. (I'm working my way up to Vogue or maybe Victoria Secret...Hehe). But seriously, the majority of the models I build are to predict the hydrological and hydraulic characteristics of watersheds. I use geographical information systems (GIS) and other information to construct several computer models of a watershed area. With these models, I predict exactly where water will flow in a given flood event and the volume of the flow over time. We just got a contract to do several dam break analyses for the state, so I will be doing the modeling to determine the threat these major dams pose to people downstream.
All in all, life is good. As you could probably tell, I am keeping myself busy. I am doing what I want to be doing, so I can't complain at all! I really like my job with Oceanit and my graduate work looks promising as long as I can find a specific research topic within renewable energy that will provide an interesting and progressive thesis.
From Ali Samter '04 (1/07) We are having a snow day here in Portland, so I thought I would take the opportunity to say "hi".
When I first moved to Portland I decided it would be a good idea to learn a bit about business, most likely pre-empted by my EV internship at Wisdom Works. I met a man who owns several restaurants, saw my opportunity, and in a few months had been promoted from his assistant to the business manager for all of his endeavors. I learned a ton, but ultimately decided that the restaurant business involved too much stress without enough gratification.
The day I gave my notice there was a job posted for Friends of Forest Park (5,000 acre urban forest bordering downtown Portland, if you are unfamiliar). Ironically, the position they were looking to fill (office manager/membership coordinator) required all of the skills that I had learned in the position I was leaving. Anyway I am now back in the environmental arena, and very happy about it. Gail Snyder, who was a founder of Friends of (Pikes) Peak, is the ED, I am the membership coordinator and we have a program director, who handles trail work, education, hike series, etc.
Gail is great. She is ensuring that I attend meetings, conferences and workshops so I learn different aspects of NW ecology, land management, and keeping a non-profit going. I work closely with our Treasurer, who is the CEO of Sequential Biofuels, and he recently told the board that he would like me to take over the preparation of the financials for the organization. Our other board members and members of the organization are all amazing, inspiring people. It's a pretty exciting time, as later this year we are planning some major steps in the development of the organization. Hope all is well with everyone.
From David Chalmers (4/07) Upon graduating from CC David Chalmers worked for Peace Corps Nepal as a Soil Conservation Extension Volunteer. His experience there, though often challenging, was ultimately deeply satisfying, rewarding, and formative. The program was sadly, and suddenly, evacuated due to civil war after he had been in-country for a year. After working as an outdoor educator in California he re-enrolled in the Peace Corps in Nicaragua where he worked as an Environmental Extension Volunteer, which proved to be another phenomenal and life shaping experience. He currently works as an outdoor at the Cal-Wood Education Center, located near Boulder, Colorado. Beginning in the fall of 2007 he will be studying in a dual-degree masters program at American University and the UN-mandated University for Peace in Costa Rica. He will graduate with MAs in Natural Resources and Sustainable Development from both institutions.
From Sarah Cashman '06 I thought I would update you on what I'm up to, as I am working on some exciting research in Colorado. I am currently a grad student at the University of Michigan in the School for Natural Resources and Environment specializing in Sustainable Systems. My research work here is in industrial ecology and life cycle design. I am involved in a life cycle analysis and carbon footprint research project for Aurora Organic Dairy, a Boulder-based company, and the largest US provider of private label organic milk. I have been developing a model for the project since November, and will be spending the summer out in Colorado and parts of Texas collecting more primary data. This is the site for the press release for the project: http://eon.businesswire.com/releases/organic/aurora/prweb610031.htm
From Sarah Lydon '03 First I want to say it was great visiting CC in March. We really enjoyed seeing everyone and spending some time catching up. So, I guess I will share a little of what I have done since my time at CC. After graduation I moved out to Seattle. I lived there for about 10 months, coaching gymnastics, nannying for two very sweet boys and teaching science with the parks department. That was a great experience - they still have salmon in one of the city streams! It was a beautiful city buy very expensive (hence the 3 jobs!). From there I moved to Fort Worth to work as a naturalist at a YMCA camp. I taught science outdoors to local school children, mostly 4-5 grade. I met some wonderful people there and enjoyed living and working on almost 400 acres of forest. I spent a semester in Fort Worth and then decided to move on since there was little opportunity for advancement. I then moved to Albuquerque and started my masters in Secondary Education at UNM. I did not finish my masters but did obtain my teaching certificate. I have been teaching middle school science since then. I am enjoying it and trying not to burn out from a generation of unmotivated children. I took another shot at my masters with NM tech this past year, but to no avail. I figure 3rd time is a charm. I am still looking for the perfect program and the time to finish it while holding down a full time teaching job. Mitch and I are moving to Austin this summer after a vacation to France and Switzerland. We both need a change. We will be getting married some time next spring after things have settled down from the move and we both have jobs. He has been busy too since graduation, but I will talk him into writing his own little note to share what he has been up to. I am trying to sign up with the Alumni group to keep in touch, but have run into a minor snag. I will include my personal email if anyone wants to say hi. It's great to read how well former classmates are doing. Good luck to everyone! I will not wait so long next time to write. My email is: email@example.com
From Meg Daly: Phew! It's been a busy couple of weeks trying to figure out where I will be heading to school in the fall. While all of the programs were good, they were very different from each other, which made it hard. I went to visit both BU and Columbia, which was really helpful. The program at BU was good, but it was pretty clear that the program at Columbia was a much better fit for my longterm goals and interests - so New York City it is! It's nice that it will be a one year program - BU and UW would have been at least 2 1/2 years - but it's going to be busy!!!
UPDATE (02/09): I just wanted to say hi and that I am truly enjoying Columbia. I think it is the perfect program for me. It's really exciting to be somewhere where there is so much climate research going on! While the program is intensive, I have frequently appreciated how well the EV program at CC has prepared me. In talking with my other classmates, I have realized how valuable it was to have an in-depth understanding of the science, as well as the policy, economics, law, and ethics that shape the environment. The EV curriculum really taught me how to think critically from a systems perspective, which has been invaluable. It is clear that not everyone here was so lucky! I want to thank you (Howard) and the rest of the EV faculty, for your hard work in helping us to appreciate the complexity of environmental issues on many different levels. It really makes a difference! So, despite the initial shock, I think I am finally getting used to living in New York (the bagels really are delicious and I can walk to 3 farmers' markets from my apartment!) I will be finishing up with coursework in May and will complete an internship over the summer, to graduate in August. Phew! Seems like I just started!
From Chris Crowley (2/09) Hello Howard and Phil: It's been a few months since I asked for your letters of recommendation for employment at AECOM Environment and I just wanted to let you both know how and what I've been doing. I am working in the Ambient and Source Measurement Division which has thus far been a healthy mix of travel and office work. Most of the work we have done thus far is with various industries measuring for such emissions as particulate matter, acid gases, dioxins and furans, VOC's, PCB's and PAH's, and metals. This often requires us to climb stacks up to 300 feet tall in all types of weather which can make for long rewarding days. We just recently got back from a two-week trip to Trinidad where we were testing the emissions of one of the world's largest Nitrogen/Urea plants. It was a perfect time to visit Trinidad given the winter we are experiencing here in New England. It's looking like they are going to be training me to become their next Continuous Emissions Monitoring (CEM) Technician, where I will be helping to design, install, and maintain various plant's CEM systems. These systems are required by the EPA's Acid Rain Program as well as other State and Federal Emissions programs. Facilities are required to implement these systems to continuously record their emissions of hydrocarbons, SO2, NoX, CO, CO2, O2, opacity and moisture. Lots of our work there is auditing a facilities CEM system with our own CEM analyzers. When not on the road, I have been either prepping for the next job or assisting with proposals, data entry, and reports. Some upcoming trips will bring me to Ohio, Philadelphia, Memphis, and Puerto Rico. I can't say enough about the group of coworkers I get to work with. Many have been in the field for 20 years or more and are a great wealth of information. They know how to complete every job efficiently, professionally and safely and they know how to have a good time when the day is over. We just got back from a ski trip up in Killington, VT this past week and had a blast together. It's a perfect fit for me right now and I thank you for all you've taught me and helped me with over the years.
From Arica Crootof In the end my choices were Oregon State with Aaron Wolf (MS Water Management and Policy with a TA position), UN-Reno with Laurel Saito (MS Hydrological Sciences with RA position), and UN-Las Vegas (MS water resources). The fact that I had choices and funding was huge, and I owe a big thank you for what must have been some nice recommendations :-). I ended up deciding to attend UNR, they flew me down for a weekend and I was very impressed with the school and program. Also, the project that I'll be joining is researching water resources in Uzbekistan and is taking a very holistic approach to the water resources problems in the Aral sea region. I was hoping to do international research and so this component was a big factor in the decision making process. I spoke with Aaron Wolf and when I told him my situation he basically said that I should attend UNR. I am sad that I won't have the opportunity to work with him, but I figure if I end up pursing a doctorate degree in management that he will be a great advisor. Also, I spoke with Scott Yee the other day and he will be attending University of Minnesota in the fall for natural resources economics.
From Aubrey Urban '08 (9/09) Since graduation, I took a year off to apply to law school. I was hoping to find a job also, but didn't end up finding anything. I ended up taking and teaching dance at a local studio in Swink, where I spent my year off with my parents. I'm so glad I took a year off. I got to dance and rest and now I am ready to go back to school. I am no longer burned out! In the fall, I will attend CU Boulder Law School and plan to get a certificate in Environmental Law. I will also look into getting some kind of environmental masters, possibly in management. I'm not sure about that part yet. I don't have any plans for after law school yet, but I'm sure with all the clinics at CU I will have plenty of ideas and options by the time I graduate.
From Megan Vasquez '08 (9/09) Its been a long time! I ran into Howard this summer at an Indian food restaurant and he encouraged me to write an update and let you all know what I've been up to. This was my second season working as a Range Technician for the Bureau of Land Management in the windy town of Rawlins, Wyoming. I've loved it so far, I didn't have any idea what I was in for because when I applied for the job the posting was "Biological Technician," and mentioned plant monitoring. So far I've been more of a laborer, but I'm learning a lot about Range land Management as we create water developments for stock animals, protect riparian areas, and provide fence conversions for more wildlife-friendly land boundaries. Seasonal work is tough to make a living off, but I balanced my winter working for my dad in his custom cabinet, and being a ski school instructor for kids at Telluride. Grad School keeps moving to the front of my mind as each new school year begins, but I'm still looking around for the program that fits me best. Not a whole lot of big or exciting news one year after graduation, but I miss CC, and I hope to keep in touch.
UPDATE (4/10): Good news! Permanent employment with benefits! I got a job in December at the Natural Resource Conservation Service as a Soil Conservation Technician in Saratoga, WY. It's awesome! I am a Soil Conservation Technician and I work on conservation plans with local ranchers and farmers implementing high efficiency irrigation measures, wind breaks, wildlife habitat improvements, and fences for rotational grazing. I'm excited that Spring is finally upon us because I can get out and do some field work. I'm learning about making engineering plans/designs, calculating the hydraulics for pipelines, and how to do field surveys. It's a good amount of engineering work balanced with conservation work.
From Sarah Mitnick '08 (9/09) After graduating in 2008, I took a job as a Campus Organizer with USPIRG (Public Interest Research Group). I spent the previous academic year working with college students in Western Massachusetts. We ran campaigns on campus that included stopping global warming, ending hunger and homelessness, registering students to vote and decreasing the high costs of textbooks. Some of our greatest accomplishments included registering hundreds of students to vote, working with the school to go "trayless" in the dining commons and organizing call-in days and petition collecting in support of global warming legislation. It was also just incredible to work with college students, form relationships and develop them into leaders and activists. This past summer I ran a campaign office in Boston, MA to raise money, recruit members and build grassroots support for Environment Massachusetts and MASSPIRG. We ended up raising over $500,000 in our office. It was an incredible experience to learn how campaign work and fundraising has a huge impact on environmental issues. Currently I am still working for the same organization (USPIRG) my job description has just changed (for the 3rd time, haha). I am now the director of NJPIRG's Energy Service Corps. It is a joint project between NJPIRG and AmeriCorps. We work with college students to reach out to communities through education and service around energy efficiency. I have loved taking on more responsibility and having the potential to make an even bigger impact on environmental issues. So for now I am continuing to use my education and skills I learned at CC to be an organizer and activist around the environment.
From Scott Wozencraft '09 (10/09) I worked with the City of Colorado Springs this summer as an engineering tech. (Howard, I landed the job solely on your recommendation, thank you!) It was a great experience; the people I worked with were wonderful, I became much more comfortable with GIS, and crawled around in sewers. I hope in the near future to find some way to keep my newfound GIS skills sharp. Currently, I am working as a legislative aide for State Senator Gail Schwartz. It is a great job, and although I end up reading emails and answering the phones for a couple of hours each day, I also have been able to attend several very interesting conferences and meetings, sit in on the caucus's policy discussions, and do a LOT of writing. I am really happy with the experiences I have had since graduation, both the technical experience I gained from the GIS work I did with the City of Colorado Springs and the policy experience I am gaining with Senator Schwartz. My CC education is proving invaluable and her constituents (all from the western slope) are always impressed by the experience that I had with CC. I look forward to coming back to CC for some of the environmental science department's big events and seeing everyone.
From Conner Hunihan (2/10) I finally heard from the Peace Corps regarding a placement and after passing a few last minute language and medical tests, found out that I will be serving in Ecuador from February 17, 2010 - April 17, 2012. My placement is in the Natural Resource Conservation branch of the Environmental program, and more specifically I will be involved in Environmental Education/Awareness. However, beyond that I have really no idea what to expect, other than abundant communication barriers and funny looks. The Environmental Science program shaped my academic career at CC and I really could not be happier with the overall education that I have received. Like I mentioned, I have very little specific information of where I will be and what I will be doing (I prefer to think that this is intentional so volunteers don't develop any preconceived notions of the program/country). That being said, I still feel confident in my ability to adapt, to learn, and to work hard, all things that I think were sharpened by courses like Water, Air, Energy, Environmental Policy, Environmental Ethics, Environmental Economics, and the entire Environmental curriculum. I want to thank everyone for a wonderful 4 years and wish me luck down south!
From Meg Daly (9/10) I wanted to let you know that I have recently found a home in Colorado again - this time at the University of Colorado. I am pursuing a PhD in the Environmental Studies Program, in the Policy track. I'm working on integrating various aspects of climate science within policy and decision-making frameworks (for the moment focusing on work with international humanitarian organizations, such as the Red Cross).
From Jessica Walton '08 (11/10) Greetings from West Africa! I'm just finishing up my service as a Peace Corps Agroforestry Volunteer in The Gambia. This world is far different from anything I experienced back home and at CC, but it is amazing how much of what I learned in my environmental science degree is still applicable. If not applicable in the technical sense of the word, I can say the knowledge I gained there continues to inspire and motivate me to search for the scientific meaning behind much of what I may have otherwise just taken at face value.
I have spent the last two years working with women in their peanut fields and rice paddies. Listening to their stories about decreasing crop yields and the climate changes seen in their generation, I can't help but think back to days in the lab doing soil analyses with Howard and Miro. When introducing improved crop species or battling sustainability issues in my village. I can't help but wonder what Phil or Walt would think of all this? And, even when I'm just out planting seedlings with the school in my village, I can't help but feel thankful for my life in Colorado that played such a large part in helping me appreciate and value the world around me.
My Peace Corps experience included months of training on the practical applications of what I learned at CC. Now, I'm in charge of planning, organizing and facilitating the next ten week training for an incoming group of volunteers. This work demands an entirely different set of skills, but I like to think that a lot of the writing intensive EV classes have given me a strong base with which to tackle the policy and bureaucracy that comes with this final assignment of my service.
With coming home to Colorado looming in the near future, I look forward to melding my longtime interests in environment work and my newfound love of international development. I've started looking at graduate programs, but can't decide if my future lies in something technical, like hydrology, or something more focused on international environment. I'm hoping to find an interdisciplinary program to meet all my needs, but I have much research and soul searching to do over the course of this next year. I can't wait for my mountains and snow and a high altitude garden and a little relaxation after being away so long. If anyone has questions about the Peace Corps, let me know--I'm more than happy to help.
From Liza Mitchell '08 (1/13) I am currently pursuing a MS in Water Resources through the interdisciplinary Waters of the West program at the University of Idaho in Moscow. Since graduating from CC in 2008, I have worked with watershed conservation non-profits in Colorado and Alaska doing fieldwork, education and outreach, monitoring and writing. I also worked in the Alaskan wilderness as a field guide and instructor on canoeing and mountaineering expeditions for at-risk youth.
Last fall semester I took a heady load of classes, including physical hydrology, stream ecology, a water resources seminar series, and an interdisciplinary methods course. I explored the current literature and research in the field of stream ecology and began formulating personal research questions. During the spring semester I further developed and refined my research questions and presented these at an international conference for interdisciplinary graduate students in Canmore, Alberta. In the spring I continued coursework in statistics, stable isotope ecology, environmental education, methods for teaching science and began preparations for the summer field season. After the early summer floods and high flows subsided I traveled back into the wilderness for an extended stay (2 months) to complete my fieldwork, collecting water samples for nutrient analysis, physical stream condition data (discharge, riparian vegetation, percent cover, temperature, etc.), macrovinvertebrate samples, and perhiphyton (algae) samples. This year I am working as an NSF fellow with the GK-12 program that puts graduate students in local high school classrooms to work in conjunction with the resident science teachers to improve science communications skills for both parties. I am currently taking courses in statistics, current hydrologic research, and science communication. I am thoroughly enjoying the combination of being a student, teacher and researcher though it keeps me quite busy!
My thesis project is focused on the relationship between salmon spawning density and stream productivity, and how stable isotope may or may not be effective tools for tracing nutrient dynamics at the regional watershed scale. I am now also exploring regional drivers of isotopic variation including geology, riparian vegetation, water chemistry and physical stream parameters. This data has important applications for informing nutrient restoration projects that are being employed throughout the Pacific Northwest to mitigate the effects of diminished salmon runs.
Recently I have developed a great interest in floodplain connectivity and surface-subsurface water interactions, particularly in the role of the hyporheic zone below streams as a buffer in nutrient cycling processes and as an underappreciated refugia for aquatic life. I imagine this would be a neat component to include in an undergraduate course as it brings together many different concepts from sediment size to aquatic invertebrates, flow regime to riparian vegetation and plant water use, and of course hydrologic connectivity can be expanded to the social/political level when considering floodplain zoning, climate change, ecosystem management or endangered species protection.
From Jack Siddoway (2/13) ISDSI in Thailand. Right now I am 5 weeks into my fourth, and last semester, here at ISDSI. I have taken over the ecology curriculum here, and have found myself learning quite a bit of new information through teaching (information I probably could have used while working on my thesis). I am grateful for this opportunity to work in such a great environment and to have a job that allows me to continue learning new subjects.
As I near the end of my time here, I am looking to the future with an open mind and my eyes wide open. ISDSI helped me hone down my interests to a few different fields of study, but I think I will require a few internships before I decide where to apply for graduate school (also it doesn't hurt to pad my resume a bit). Whatever field I go into, I plan on integrating sustainable development with a research based program, either in fisheries, agriculture, or forest soil sciences. There is an organization here in Chiang Mai called the Forest Research and Restoration Unit (FORRU) that I will probably work with for a few months this summer, which should give me a better picture of the research involved in Forestry studies.
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