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Environmental Science | Selected Student Profiles

Nick Connor

What is your academic/professional background prior to coming to AU?
I completed undergraduate training at UW-Milwaukee in biological sciences, then spent five years working as a wildlife and marine biologist for the NPS, USFS, and NOAA. I transitioned to the healthcare industry and worked as a surgical sales consultant for five years.

Why did you choose AU, and the MS in environmental science in particular?
Dr. Stephen Macavoy's research on the nutrient dynamics and organic material sources in the Anacostia River.

Have you worked on any specific research projects that you would like to highlight?
I currently work with Dr. Macavoy looking into the source of nutrients and minerals in the Anacostia River. We are trying to identify what controls the geochemistry in the river and what the sources of organic nitrogen and carbon might be.

Can you describe what you are working on at your current internship/job?
I’m currently working with the District Department of the Environment in the Remedial and Site Response Division. Duties include working within an interdisciplinary team to identify, evaluate, and implement remedial actions in the Anacostia River.

Nicole Holstein

What is your academic/professional background prior to coming to AU?
I have an undergraduate degree in environmental studies and political science from Marietta College. I also completed a Spanish minor and a leadership certificate.

Why did you choose AU, and the MS in environmental science in particular?
I chose AU's MS environmental science program for its well-roundedness and flexibility to focus on what I want to focus on.

Can you describe what you are working on at your current internship/job?
I am looking for a full time job, but in the meantime, I've a volunteer coordinator for the D.C. Environmental Film Festival.

 

Jenna Keany

Jenna Keany

What is your academic/professional background prior to coming to AU?
I have a BA in Biology, a BA in Environmental Studies, and a minor in Religious Studies from Eckerd College in St. Petersburg, Florida. After graduating college, I worked as an environmental educator for the North Carolina Aquarium, a land conservationist in Arizona, and as research technician for a non-profit in South Africa and for Cornell University.

Why did you choose AU, and the MS in environmental science in particular?
I chose AU because it offered the MS in environmental science, which is hard to find. Many environmental graduate programs are policy based or education based, but I was interested in doing environmental science research (specifically wildlife conservation). This led me to find AU, and once I saw the multitude of classes offered, I knew it was the perfect program. I have been able to take science classes, policy classes, environmental regulation classes, and research credits here at AU, all of which count towards my degree. 

Have you worked on any specific research projects that you would like to highlight?
I am currently doing my thesis research on endangered amphipods in the DC area. I also do some research on related subjects for the National Park Service and another private grant. 

Can you describe what you are working on at your current internship/job?
As stated in the previous answer, I am being paid through a grant that I work through on endangered amphipod research in the DC metropolitan area. This research is in Rock Creek Park and some other parks throughout the district. Most often I am in the field, but I also have some lab work through for one of the projects. In the field, we are mainly looking for new habitats of the endangered species, Stygobromus hayi. There are threats to this species' conservation by a new metro light-rail system that is proposed to be built in DC and Maryland. This research is relevant to so many aspects of environmental science: conservation biology, urban planning, environmental policy, environmental advocacy, hydrology, etc. It has been a privilege to be a part of it, and to add to the scientific community through my own thesis research. 

MinJung "Min” Kwon

Min Kwon

What is your academic/professional background prior to coming to AU?
I received a bachelor’s degree in chemistry from University of California Riverside and conducted research in both the analytical chemistry and the environmental toxicology laboratories. I also took some environmental science courses.

Why did you choose AU, and the MS in environmental science in particular?
I chose MS in environmental science at AU because the program not only focuses on science, but also offers competitive environmental courses in film, communications, and politics. We have faculty members with diverse background, and because we are located in DC, we have guest lecturers from different affiliations, such as EPA and NOAA.

Have you worked on any specific research projects that you would like to highlight?
My masters thesis identifies a pattern of the change in C and N nutrient sources in the Caribbean and the Gulf of Mexico from mid-1800’s to early 2000’s using stable isotope signatures of Smithsonian Institution’s historical collections of species that are part of mangrove communities, Balanus eburneus and Alpheus heterochaelis.

In 2014, I investigated hypoxia-induced predation and indirect sources of hypoxia mortality in the Eastern Oyster, Crassostrea virginica. Assessed if Crassostrea virginica exposed to hypoxia exhibit an increased risk of crab predation after return to normoxic condition.

Can you describe what you are working on at your current internship/job?
I am currently looking for a full time job and I am particularly interested in working with the international organizations to promote foreign investment in developing countries to resolve the complex challenges of reducing greenhouse gas emissions and assisting environmentally sustainable economic development. 

Lisa Toy

What is your academic/professional background prior to coming to AU?
I received a bachelor of arts degree in broadcast communications and psychology with a specialization in physiological psychology from Flagler College in St. Augustine, Florida. Before coming to AU, I spent two years working for the National Cancer Institute as a Cancer Information Specialist.

Why did you choose AU, and the MS in environmental science in particular?
I chose AU because of its international impact in the environmental field. The ENVS program was particularly appealing because it focuses on melding science and policy. This was of interest to me because I am pursuing a career in environmental policy-making and I feel having a science background will best support this goal.

Have you worked on any specific research projects that you would like to highlight?
One especially interesting project I worked on was through my internship with Pesticide Action Network North America. There, I researched the impact of 2,4-Dichlorophenoxyacetic acid (2,4-D) and its metabolite 2,4-Dichlorophenolon (DCP) on pollinators. DCP is toxic to bees and with the imminent deregulation of 2,4-D resistant crops, has great potential to interfere with ecosystem processes.

Can you describe what you are working on at your current internship/job?
Currently I am researching and developing implementation plans for various environmental protection programs and public health interventions.