Last finals completed, final papers submitted and PhDs defended…what awaits UW Environment students? From continuing studies and field work to entering the job market, our graduates are using their degrees to solve today’s environmental problems. Congratulations to all 2021 graduates, we are all so proud of your accomplishments in and out of the classroom.

Hannah GloverHannah Glover – PhD student in the School of Oceanography

When I’m done defending my PhD, I am planning on going into the field of environmental consulting, specifically at smaller agencies in the Pacific Northwest that do ecosystem restoration. Right now, I’m networking and meeting with alumni to get my foot in the door.

I broadly study sediment dynamics and how coastlines are shaped by where rivers meet the ocean. Specifically, I’m looking at two sites where mangroves have been removed from a coastal area to see how that impacts erosion or sediment infilling in estuaries.

I really enjoy being challenged to learn new skills so I’m excited to go into an industry where I’m playing catch up. I miss field work and I want to go out into the field again. I’m excited about some upcoming opportunities to volunteer for field surveying.

Esaac MazengiaEsaac Mazengia – senior in the School of Environmental and Forest Sciences

I will be heading to Hawaii with Scientists in the Parks, specifically with the Pacific Island Inventory & Monitoring Network in Hawaii Volcanoes National Park. This will be a continuation of field work I did at UW: long-term ecosystem management. After this internship, I plan on eventually coming back for grad school studying resource management, likely environmental policy with a focus on environmental justice. It’ll be really nice to get outside and unplug for a little bit before I start the grad school application process, and reconnect with different people after a year plus on virtual events.

It’s been a really interesting process going through the hiring process for this position, because it’s a government position and a bonus is that when I’m done with this internship, I’ll have a competitive hiring advantage for a couple of months within the U.S. Government, if I decide to take a longer gap before grad school.

Carson TorresCarson Torres – senior in the Program on the Environment

I will be a forest technician for the summer with Resilient Forestry. After the summer, I will be attending the University of Auckland in New Zealand to get a teaching degree. I’ve studied abroad in New Zealand, so I’m excited to be going back again. I eventually want to be a high school science teacher, or something around outdoor or environmental education. I’m excited about my summer job because I’ll be able to utilize my degree.

Sean RohanSean Rohan – PhD candidate in the School of Aquatic and Fishery Sciences

I started a job as a research fisheries biologist at the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration’s Alaska Fisheries Science Center around a year ago, and I will continue to work in the position after graduation. I work in the Groundfish Assessment Program, where we do bottom trawl surveys in Alaska to collect information for assessment of groundfish and crab stocks.

My dissertation focused on characterizing water clarity during bottom trawl surveys, and I used that information to examine how light and water clarity affect visual foraging conditions for fish and interactions between fish and fishing gear in the Bering and Chukchi Seas. 

I’m excited about going back into the field this summer on the Alaska Fisheries Science Center’s eastern Bering Sea bottom trawl survey. Going on the survey feels like a return to normalcy.

Jenna TruongJenna Truong – senior in Program on the Environment

I’ll be starting a job with King County Public Health this summer to help with COVID-19 relief. We’ll be inspecting the ventilation inside different buildings in the county (such as restaurants and schools) and providing guidance to owners on how to create better airflow. This will be a really exciting opportunity to learn about indoor air quality and how overlapping issues like COVID, wildfires and air pollution impact our health while inside businesses. I’m really excited to get to work with local government! In undergrad I got to intern with the EPA so I’m really interested in learning about the similarities and differences in various levels of government and finding where I fit in. 

My undergrad was primarily focused on learning about community co-production, environmental justice, and science communication when it comes to issues like climate change. In my junior year I developed a great interest in conveying these issues through more of a health lens because of how much easier it is to quantify the impacts of climate change and how compelling arguments around health are, especially coming when our society is on high alert about our health. 

This opportunity is going to be my first big step into public health, but I’ll still be pursuing further education in environmental science. I’m deferring my acceptance into the Yale School of Public Health for this opportunity to learn more about the field and rest before my masters. I’ll also be using this time to apply for the joint program at Yale that merges environmental health sciences with environmental management.

Jackie KobalJackie Kobal – senior in Bioresource Science and Engineering

I landed a full-time job as a process engineer with Columbia Pulp, a wheat straw pulping facility in eastern Washington. They use wheat straw, which is otherwise burned or plowed in to get rid of, to make paper and work with local farmers to reduce pesticide/insecticide use too. My role will be to use my understanding of the process to suggest and implement improvements, with the goal of making the mill run as efficiently and sustainably as possible. 

I’m particularly excited to learn more about the process itself, especially knowing that it takes a waste product and turns it into a variety of useful things. I’m also just excited to move to a new place and start my career as a “full fledged adult.”

 I majored in Bioresource Science and Engineering, where we learn to apply chemical engineering principles to manufacture fiber products, such as paper, biofuels, and nanocellulose. It was through my program’s network that I heard about this job, so it’s very relevant to the position. I’ve also done two internships within the pulp and paper industry, so that also helped me decide what I wanted to do after graduation.

Nathan MockNathan Mock – senior in Program on the Environment

I am planning to go into environmental law. I will be starting law school next year, most likely at Lewis & Clark but possibly at UW or Victoria. Not entirely sure what sector of environmental law I want to go into yet, but I know that I want to pursue environmental justice work and promote community involvement in environmental restoration and mitigation work by combining what I have gotten from my Environmental Studies degree with a JD (and possibly Master of Laws in environmental law). For now, I hope to do some sort of work in land and water rights and permitting.

Yaamini VenkataramanYaamini Venkataraman – PhD candidate in the School of Aquatic and Fishery Sciences

I will be a Postdoctoral Scholar at Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution. Working with Neel Aluru, Ann Tarrant and Carolyn Tepolt, I will examine how marine invertebrates respond to climate stressors on a molecular level. Transitions are bittersweet, but I’m excited to continue growing as a scientist and person in my new position. I’m also excited to spend one last summer in Washington hiking and camping!

For my PhD, I used molecular techniques — “-omics” — to explore how Pacific oysters respond to changes in their environment, like ocean acidification. My work sheds some light on how marine invertebrates may be able to quickly react to climate stressors, and what “tools” they may have to be resilient.