Highlight on Students

Students in the Environmental Sciences and Policy come from a diversity of backgrounds and career paths. Here is a small sampling of our accomplished students.

Lisa Schindler Murray, Class of 2018, International Climate Change Policy Advisor, The Nature Conservancy

Lisa Schindler MurrayWhere do you currently work/intern? I am an International Climate Change Policy Advisor at The Nature Conservancy. I have been working on climate change policy at TNC for 6 years.

What was your undergraduate major? B.S. in Environmental Studies & Applications at Michigan State University

Are you or have you participated in or completed any compelling research related to your degree? Not yet, but I intend to do an independent research project as part of this degree and am looking forward to determining what the topic of my research will be over the next year.

Do you take classes online or on-ground? I prefer meeting in person with my classmates and professors. The hands-on experience and personal connections are rewarding. At the same time, I find the online class option really useful during semesters with a lot of work travel.

What year to you intend to graduate? 2018.

What is your favorite part of the Environmental Sciences and Policy program? My classes so far have been engaging and build practical skills that I can apply in my international climate policy work. The professors and guest speakers are recognized professionals working in this area. They illustrate the opportunities this degree offers and provide concrete advice for how they advanced in their careers.

Why did you choose to get your master’s degree from Johns Hopkins? At The Nature Conservancy, I see firsthand how science-based arguments are the most influential in effecting policy changes. The Advanced Academic Program at Johns Hopkins, specifically the Environmental Science and Policy program, is a unique opportunity to gain scientific understanding while bolstering environmental policies.

What is your most memorable experience in the program so far? My most memorable experience with the program thus far has been in this summer’s Field Methods in Ecology class with Professor David Curson. While all of the field-oriented trips have been informative and enjoyable, the one that sticks out was a recent trip to Jug Bay Wetlands Sanctuary where we worked with the other volunteers from the MAPS (Monitoring Avian Productivity and Survivorship) program. We caught birds in mist nets, banded them, and released them. The feeling of releasing a bird after it has been banded is incredibly special.

What do you plan to do once you have finished the program?  I intend to build on these experiences and further my career by using science to motivate others as well as inform policy and decision making for conservation.

What would you like prospective students to know about the program? As someone who travels often for work to international conferences, having the option to be a remote student through online classes is a definite draw for this program. However, the connections you make with the other students and professors by taking classes in person are extremely rewarding, and offers more learning opportunities by hearing how this program is being used by others.

Would you be willing to be contacted by prospective students?  If so, please indicate your preferred email.  Sure! My email is lschind3@jhu.edu.

Amanda Rosenblum, Class of 2018, National Marine Fisheries Service

Where do you currently work/intern? National Marine Fisheries Service, West Coast Regional Office in Long Beach, California

What was your undergraduate major? Marine biology

Are you or have you participated in or completed any compelling research related to your degree? As an undergraduate, I wrote a paper on behavioral ecology of a tropical damselfish based on observations in Little Cayman. I also assisted in researching nudibranch ecology and diversity in southern Mozambique.

Do you take classes online or on-ground? On-line only.

What year to you intend to graduate? 2018. I only have a few classes left.

What is your favorite part of the Environmental Sciences and Policy program? I have really enjoyed getting to virtually meet my peers, who all come from such different backgrounds. We get to share resources and information from the various projects we have worked on.  The same can be said from the professors. Instead of pure research, they have real-world experience that is very useful.

Why did you choose to get your master’s degree from Johns Hopkins? I wanted a master of science degree, not a master’s of advanced studies or equivalent from other schools. I needed a flexible schedule that was compatible with working full time, as I cannot attend classes during the day. Of course, there’s also the name recognition. I’ve turned a few heads when I say I am studying at JHU.

What is your most memorable experience in the program so far? I really loved taking a weeklong course in the Bahamas for my residency requirement. It was beautiful, but more than that, I enjoyed meeting my classmates face to face for the first time. It can be tough to feel like part of a community when you’re only interacting with names on a discussion board. Getting to know them and talk with them about being in school was a great experience.

What do you plan to do once you have finished the program? I’d like to advance in my field, or move horizontally into environmental consulting.

What would you like prospective students to know about the program? You need an incredible amount of discipline to finish this program, especially if your courses are all online. That can create a disconnect with your peers that leaves you wondering why you’re even taking these classes. In my experience, online courses require more work. Instead of spending 5 hours in lecture or lab, you might reading independently on your own. Every class is different, much more so than in-person classes. Some professors might record a lecture every week, while some assign a lot of reading and interact less with students.

Loribeth Tanner, Class of 2018, EPA Research Associate

Loribeth TannerWhere do you currently work/intern? I currently work as a Research Associate for the EPA Region 6 Wetland Section through the Oak Ridge Institute for Science and Education. This is one of the coolest professional opportunities that I’ve had. I get to spend my days conducting research on regulatory assessments for streams and wetlands that fit well with the needs of large water supply projects! I’m attaching a picture of me on a waterfall at Lake Tahoe recently where I was visiting for training on California’s rapid wetland assessment method! As you can see in the picture, I was very excited to be there! I’ll be in East Texas later this week for field work and New Mexico at the end of the month, so if any good pictures of me doing field work happen then I’ll gladly send those along if you want them!

What was your undergraduate major? I majored in Environmental Science with a concentration and minor in Geology.

Are you or have you participated in or completed any compelling research related to your degree? I’ve really enjoyed the research components of each online class that I’ve taken during my time in the program. I’ve been able to tailor each smaller project to my larger interests which have benefitted me professionally and helped me to prepare for my independent research project.

Do you take classes online or on-ground? I have taken classes online while working professionally throughout the Gulf Coast as an environmental geoscientist and now a wetlands research associate. I had never taken online courses before the ESP program but I’ve found the writing intensive online format to be excellent for consistently demonstrating competency in the coursework. I learn so much from the perspectives of my peers that I don’t think I would get in a traditional classroom setting. Being able to pursue my graduate degree from an outstanding university while continuing to build my professional experience in environmental careers has been exactly what I was hoping for in this program. I’ll be flying to the DC campus on Saturdays this Fall to take the Wetlands course and complete my residency requirement!

What year to you intend to graduate? I am hoping to graduate in May 2018!

What is your favorite part of the Environmental Sciences and Policy program? My professors and fellow students have been a great asset to me as I grow as a scientist. I love the diverse professional and academic backgrounds that are represented in this program and have gained so much from my interactions with everyone.

Why did you choose to get your master’s degree from Johns Hopkins? I wanted to be able to work full time while pursuing a graduate degree, and many great programs at renowned universities are not structured for people like me. I also reserve hopes of pursuing a PhD one day and this program allows me to develop as a professional while maintaining my roots in academia! I also knew that I needed to increase my understanding of environmental policy to be a better scientist and this program offered an adaptable curriculum that would allow me to focus on areas where I felt I needed the most growth.

What is your most memorable experience in the program so far? Honestly, right now most of my memorable experiences are related to the sheer amounts of homework that I can pack into my evenings and weekends so you might not really want to share that with everyone. I completed my final exam for hydrology in a hotel room in West Texas around 2 AM after working 18 hours assessing soil contamination at an oil and gas site. I felt really proud of myself because I did well on the final even though I was completely exhausted and the timing wasn’t great. The whole situation just made me realize that how this program, which relies heavily on the ability to manage time and resources, is setting me up to succeed at whatever I set my mind to.

What do you plan to do once you have finished the program?  Being a Johns Hopkins student has opened so many doors for me that I previously never considered as options. So, my plan when I finish the program is just to continue taking advantage of the chances I get to work as an environmental geoscientist focusing on water and soil resource management, quality, and conservation. I hope that my future involves more research based work because I really enjoy it and I think JHU has helped me to assemble the tools I need to continue being successful in my field!

What would you like prospective students to know about the program?  Just like any good graduate program, you will get out of this what you put into it. Graduate school requires a lot of self-motivation but the payoff of really mastering concepts that are integral to the quickly evolving world of environmental science is a valuable part of succeeding in a competitive job market.  The professors and students in this program are some of the best resources you could possibly have for advancing your career, whatever you want that to be!

Would you be willing to be contacted by prospective students? If so, please indicate your preferred email. I would love to talk with prospective students more about this program and why I love it. My email is ltanner6@jhu.edu

Carmen Tull, Class of 2017, The Carnegie Institution for Science, Embryology Department

Where do you currently work/intern? I am currently working at The Carnegie Institution for Science in their Embryology Department. I work in the Zebrafish Department where I am responsible for husbandry and aiding in propagating specific genetic lines.

What was your undergraduate major? I received my Bachelor’s from Oregon State University in Fisheries and Wildlife Sciences where I focused on fisheries management and ecology.

Are you or have you participated in or completed any compelling research related to your degree? I have not been published or completed any compelling research relating to my program of study.

Do you take classes online or on-ground? I have taken classes both in person at the Homewood and D.C. locations and online.

What year to you intend to graduate? I will be graduating after this coming Fall term in 2017.

What is your favorite part of the Environmental Sciences and Policy program? I am particularly fond of the classes that have a hands on, field trip component. It allows students the opportunity to network with professionals in the field and get first-hand experience. Additionally, I found that all of my professors were exceptional and were well versed in the class material and had relatable real world experience.

Why did you choose to get your master’s degree from Johns Hopkins? I choose Hopkins primarily because of its reputation and proximity to my place of employment.

What is your most memorable experience in the program so far? I really enjoyed taking Principles of Ecology with Dr. Carson. I have taken many ecology classes, however, we had at least three field trips for this class all of which were memorable, informative, and appropriately catered to the course material.

What do you plan to do once you have finished the program? That is difficult to predict with Federal and State environmental jobs becoming rarer. I have aspirations to lead restorative and management projects in coastal and riparian fisheries that aid in achieving sustainability. At one point working for NOAA or state government seemed promising, however, with the current administration I will likely find work in the private sector or in academia.

Would you be willing to be contacted by prospective students? If so, please indicate your preferred email. Yes, that would be fine. My JHU email is fine, ctull1@jhu.edu.