Villanova, Pa – Villanova University’s College of Liberal Arts and Sciences welcomed the inaugural class of its Master of Science in Environmental Science program last fall. On Jan. 26, the students were recognized at a special on-campus gathering to celebrate the launch of the program.
The event featured opening remarks from University President the Rev. Peter M. Donohue, OSA, PhD, ’75 CLAS and Dean of the College of Liberal Arts and Sciences Adele Lindenmeyr, PhD. The keynote speaker was Christine Knapp ’01 CLAS, currently Director of the Office of Sustainability, City of Philadelphia, and a leader in the city’s sustainability community for more than a decade.
“This new graduate program reflects Villanova University’s strong commitment to educating students in rigorous scientific research methods. Students will work with our outstanding faculty to seek solutions to the complex environmental problems of today and tomorrow,” said Adele Lindenmeyr, PhD, Dean, Villanova University College of Liberal Arts and Sciences. “As a College we are proud to welcome the program’s first fourteen students, who will benefit from Villanova’s teacher-scholar model and the program’s multidisciplinary perspective.”
Villanova’s MS in Environmental Science offers advanced coursework and technical training in a broad range of environmental sciences to produce highly educated graduates who can respond effectively to the uncertainties of a changing natural environment given the necessary constraints of public policy, economic reality and human considerations. Students in the program will develop an enhanced understanding of environmental systems and their nexus with society.
The 11 students of the inaugural class are both academically and professionally accomplished. They hail from diverse backgrounds and have a wide range of research interests.
Scott Bronsdon received a BS in Environmental Science from Drexel University. He is interested in understanding how peatland ecosystems respond to anthropogenic stressors. In his spare time, Scott enjoys surfing, snowboarding and running with his dog.
Amber Carter is a Villanova Presidential Scholar and graduate of Franklin & Marshall College where she received a BA in Geoscience. Her interests include environmental chemistry, biogeochemistry and soil science. Amber plays the piano and was in an a cappella group at F&M.
Alec Davis hails from Hockessin, Delaware and received a BS in Environmental Science from the University of Delaware. His research models the effects of rising sea level on wetlands and coastal communities. Alec lived in Tahara, Japan for two years teaching English to elementary, junior high and high school students.
Wendy Huang received a BS from State University of New York, College of Environmental Science and Forestry. She studies peatland biogeochemistry and wetland ecology because they are beautiful environments and at the same time provide important ecosystem services to humans and wildlife.
Teresa Jarvis is a graduate of the University of Pittsburgh with a BS in biology and is currently a biology teacher at Wissahickon High School, with research interests in the environmental security of Southeast Asia. Teresa has travelled extensively, including three years in Africa as a Peace Corps volunteer.
Laura Korman is from Denver, CO where she received a BA in Environmental Studies from the University of Colorado at Boulder. She is interested in understanding how humans interact with and alter marine ecosystems. She has lived in seven states and enjoys being outdoors, hiking, skiing and being near the ocean.
Matthew Ortynsky ’05 CLAS is employed by KCI Technologies and is interested in the impacts of stormwater runoff on water quality. In his spare time, Matt is an avid aquarium hobbyist and maintains a 180-gallon reef aquarium with various tropical fish and corals.
Michael Pego is a graduate of Towson University and is currently employed by PSEG Nuclear. He is interested in studying wetland restoration and management. Mike grew up fishing on Barnegat Bay, where he developed his interest in animals and the outdoors.
Elise Rodriguez is from Saratoga Springs, NY. She received a BA in Environmental Studies from Dickinson College. Her thesis work involves understanding how land use change influences rates of accretion in tidal marshes.
Connor Sullivan is a graduate of Cornell University and is currently employed by Lotus Environmental Consulting, LLC. His research interests include the impact of invasive species in wetland environments. Connor enjoys snowboarding and standing hip-deep in swamps.
Mary Zawatski is from Greenwich, CT and is a graduate of the University of Connecticut. Her research interests are in the field of wetland biogeochemistry, specifically the response of wetlands to climate change. Mary likes to spend her time outdoors, hiking and kayaking.
About Villanova University’s College of Liberal Arts and Sciences: Since its founding in 1842, Villanova University’s College of Liberal Arts and Sciences has cultivated knowledge, understanding and intellectual courage for a purposeful life in a challenged and changing world. With 39 majors across the humanities, social sciences and natural sciences, it is the oldest and largest of Villanova’s colleges, serving more than 4,500 undergraduate and graduate students each year. The College is committed to a teacher-scholar model, offering outstanding undergraduate and graduate research opportunities and a rigorous core curriculum that prepares students to become critical thinkers, strong communicators and ethical leaders with a truly global perspective.