Water science, policy program launched

August 1, 2011 under CANR News

Students in the water science and policy program will have ample opportunities to conduct field research. Here graduate student Justin Bower, undergraduate Tara Harrell and graduate student Martha Corrozi (left to right) use an Australian turbidity tube to measure the clarity of water in Fairfield Run, a tributary of White Clay Creek

The world’s human population is expected to top seven billion by April 2012. Of all the burdens this growing population places on the planet’s resources, none is more critical than the pressure on the world’s fresh water supplies. Just 2.5 percent of Earth’s water is fresh water, and much of that is frozen and unavailable to terrestrial life.

Developing solutions to the problem of meeting the growing need for clean water that are socially acceptable, economically viable and environmentally sustainable is the focus of the new interdisciplinary graduate program in water science and policy at the University of Delaware, which welcomes its first students this fall.

The new program will offer a master of science degree and doctoral degrees with either a water science or a water policy concentration. The curriculum draws on courses from four colleges at UD: the College of Agriculture and Natural Resources, the College of Earth, Ocean, and Environment, the College of Engineering, and the College of Arts and Sciences.

Students in the University-wide program will be advised by any of the 30 or so faculty affiliated with the program. The program will be housed in College of Agriculture and Natural Resources and will be directed by Shreeram Inamdar, associate professor of watershed hydrology.

“We have a really top-notch cadre of faculty representing many disciplines, including hydrology, geology, geography, ecology, climatology, microbiology, plant and soil sciences, environmental chemistry, engineering, resource economics and public policy,” Inamdar said. “We may approach the problem of water from different perspectives, but we share a common goal of better understanding, protecting and managing our precious water resources. The beauty of this program is it provides students greater flexibility in shaping their curriculum and greater opportunities to collaborate with faculty from diverse disciplines and departments.”

The new program was initiated under the auspices of the Delaware Environmental Institute (DENIN), where staff members Jeanette Miller and Amy Broadhurst helped to coordinate the diverse group of interested faculty and the necessary paperwork and approval process to launch the program.

new website has been created to provide prospective students with information about the program. According to Inamdar, there are two new research assistantships available immediately to students in the program whose adviser has a primary appointment in the College of Agriculture and Natural Resources.

“Students who graduate from this program will be able to pursue exciting career opportunities in academia, governmental and nongovernmental agencies, close to home or around the world,” said Inamdar. “The demand for clean, healthy water is going to be very high in the coming century, and so will the demand for our graduates’ expertise.”

Article by Beth Chajes

Photo by Jerry Kauffman

The original article can be viewed online on UDaily.

Share

Faculty Senate approves new major in ecology

December 15, 2010 under CANR News

A new provisional major and honors major in ecology were among the items approved by the University of Delaware Faculty Senate during its regularly scheduled meeting, held Monday, Dec. 6, in Gore Hall.

The new five-year provisional ecology and honors ecology majors will be interdisciplinary, with the Department of Biological Sciences supplying the training in the basic tenets of biology and the Department of Entomology and Wildlife Ecology offering courses related to diversity, behavior and ecological interactions among organisms.

The five-year provisional establishment of the major is effective Feb. 7, 2011.

Academic degrees approved on a provisional basis are subject to approval by the UD Board of Trustees after the provisional time period has passed and the Faculty Senate has reviewed the degree program and recommended permanent status for the degree.

For the full article about the December 6 Faculty Senate meeting, please visit UDaily.

Share

Natural resource management internships sprout successful alumni

September 16, 2010 under CANR News

For students with an interest in the environment, the natural resource management (NRM) major, introduced in the University of Delaware’s College of Agriculture and Natural Resources in 1997, opened up a cutting-edge program that combined science, economics, and public policy.

Now, current students and graduates in the NRM major are relaying their skills into successful internships and employment with companies such as the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), U.S. Bureau of Land Management, Delaware Water Resources Center, IFC International and the Peace Corps.

“At that time (in 1997), the college didn’t have an interdisciplinary major, where you learned a little economics, a little plant science, a little entomology and wildlife ecology, and then took that background into the job market,” said Steven Hastings, professor of food and resource economics.

“The students in NRM are very good students, they’re very motivated students, and they have a passion for the environment,” he added. “They’ve got a lot of initiative. I think that’s what employers look for in potential interns today.”

NRM students have also continued their education in graduate programs all over the country, studying urban planning, zoology, environmental law, coastal zone management and more. The diverse and demanding major, which also includes courses on communications and ethics, gives students a foundation for advanced degrees in a variety of subjects, Hastings said.

“It’s a fairly rigorous major,” he said. “We had a student this past semester who applied to six very good graduate programs and was accepted at all six.”

Jennifer Popkin, a former NRM major, interned with the United Nations as the climate change coordinator after she graduated from the University in 2009. She served as the project manager of their global climate change project for six months.

Popkin said the intimate nature of the NRM program allowed her to interact closely with professors and other students, which led to numerous opportunities including an intensive research project.

“I spent the fall of my senior year studying how the trade and economic policy of India affect watershed development,” she said. “There were four students in total on this research project, and we each studied a different aspect of development. Part of the research included a trip to India.”

Kristen Loughery, also a graduate of the program, completed internships at the Delaware Department of Natural Resources and Environmental Control (DNREC), AmeriCorps, and a private environmental consulting firm while at the university.

“NRM provided me with a broad education, which prepared me to work towards my goals as an environmentalist,” Loughery said.

After receiving a master’s degree in natural resource economics, Loughery was hired by the EPA, where she said “it is extremely important to apply my education in policy, human behavior as it relates to incentives, and general scientific knowledge, all of which I attained through NRM.”

Hastings said internships are vital in helping students to explore career paths and see the real world implications of the issues they study at UD.

“Two interns that were working for me this summer, I found them out in the marsh one day, covered in mud, swatting mosquitoes,” Hastings said. “I think it’s very good for them to get out and get their hands dirty.”

Article by Chelsea Caltuna

This article can also be viewed on UDaily by clicking here.

Share