Tag: Masters Environmental Science

UW-Green Bay alumna earns Kellogg Foundation teaching fellowship

Kathryn McDonald of Bloomfield Hills, Mich., a 1989 graduate of UW-Green Bay’s master’s degree program in Environmental Science and Policy, was one of several dozen teacher candidates honored last week with selection to the Woodrow Wilson Michigan Teaching Fellows program funded by the W.K. Kellogg Foundation. The program supports outstanding, second-career professionals who declare their intention to enter the teaching profession and teach STEM subjects to students in Michigan’s highest-need secondary school. Each recipient receives a $30,000 stipend while completing an intensive master’s-level teacher education program at a participating Michigan university. McDonald will attend Wayne State University. She formerly worked as a naturalist, for 12 years, often leading field trips for K-12 students; as a regulatory and wetlands biologist with the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, for seven years; and as a research assistant in water quality and wetland studies before that. See the full news release on the program.

Facts and figures: Commencement, May 2011


•  About 850 eligible to participate in Commencement exercises on Saturday

•  About 675 have signed up to actually participate, to “march” in cap and gown

•  Breaking down those numbers… as of May 2, the 848 “eligible” breaks down as follows: 715 students had registered to complete their degree requirements by the end of spring semester; another 133 intend to complete requirements this summer. (Projected graduates of both May and August are eligible to participate in the May 14 ceremony.)

•  Of the 848 students, 94 % (or 793) are undergraduate degree candidates. The remaining 55 are master’s degree candidates.

•  The number of undergraduate degree candidates (793) is an all-time record, up 8 % from last year.

•  The number of master’s degree graduates is up 31% from last year.


•  Undergraduate candidates range in age from 19 to 73, with a mean average of 26 years old. 30% of the undergraduate candidates are 25 or older.

•  For master’s degree candidates, 53 of 55, or 96% are 25 or older.  The master’s candidates range in age from 24 to 58, with a mean average of 33.


Over two-thirds (68% or n=537) of the undergraduate degree candidates are women and a larger proportion (87% or n=48) of the graduate degree candidates are women.


•  The master’s candidates include 3 Native Americans, 1 Asian American and 1 Hispanic American, with a total of 9% of master’s candidates representing minority backgrounds.  The undergraduate candidates include 68 students of color (9% of the total) from a range of backgrounds: 24 Asian American, 15 Native American, 9 Mexican or Hispanic American, 9 African American, and 11 from multiple racial or ethnic categories.

•  Graduates represent various nations of origin including Cameroon, Canada, Germany, India, Japan, Kenya, Mexico, the Philippines, Thailand, United Kingdom, Zambia and the United States.

•  Sovereign American Indian nations represented among the graduates include the Chippewa Cree (Bad River Tribe); Menominee, Oneida and Stockbridge-Munsee Mohican.

•  Graduates come from 27 U.S. states


•  Majors with the largest number of eligible candidates listed in the printed Commencement booklet are: Business Administration, 122;  Psychology, 94;  Human Biology, 86;  Interdisciplinary Studies, 77; Human Development, 65; Nursing, 47;  Communication, 45; and Elementary Education, 38; Accounting, 30.

Among the 55 master’s degree candidates, the breakdown is as follows: Applied Leadership for Teaching and Learning (a master’s for educators), 23;  Social Work, 19;  Management, 9; Environmental Science and Policy, 4


•  Area high schools are well-represented among potential graduates.  Almost a quarter (24% or n=192) of the undergraduate degree applicants completed high school in Brown County, WI.

•  Schools with 10 or more alumni applying to graduate this May or August:

  • Green Bay Preble, 48
  • Green Bay East, 26
  • Manitowoc Lincoln,  23
  • Green Bay Southwest, 19
  • Bay Port, 18
  • Ashwaubenon, 17
  • Green Bay West, 17
  • Pulaski, 17
  • Hortonville, 12
  • West De Pere, 12
  • Luxemburg Casco, 11
  • Sheboygan North, 10
  • De Pere, 10
  • Seymour, 10


‘Outstanding’ grad to receive graduate assistantship

There’s more to Jeff Cook, the summa cum laude triple major (Environmental Policy and Planning, Political Science, and Public Administration) than being the winner of the Alumni Association’s Outstanding Student Award for May 2011. In our news release yesterday, we could also have mentioned that Cook will receive one of the two Barbara Hauxhurst Cofrin Graduate Research Assistantships in the Environmental Science and Policy Graduate Program for the 2011-2012 academic year. The assistantship will support his thesis research on national climate-change policies and regulations.  His graduated research is being conducted with Profs. Sara Rinfret, Denise Scheberle and Scott Furlong of PEA and ES&P.

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The second student to be awarded a Hauxhurst Cofrin research assistantship is Adam von Haden, who will conduct his work with major professor Matt Dornbush.  Von Haden is also one of the first students to advance through the “integrated” program that facilitates the ability of outstanding UW-Green Bay undergrads to seamlessly complete a master’s in Environmental Science and Policy.

‘Slug Guy’ wins Outstanding Master’s Thesis Award

Philip G. Hahn, a 2010 graduate of the UW-Green Bay master’s program in Environmental Science and Policy, was honored April 30 at the annual alumni awards program. He won the Outstanding Master’s Thesis Award. Hahn was focusing his ecology research on an invasive woodland plant, garlic mustard, until something else caught his eye. From there, he followed the slime trails. “A lot of people don’t study slugs, for obvious reasons,” Hahn told the awards banquet audience, “but I think they’re actually kind of fun.” It’s an interesting story; read more.

Slimy work: UW-Green Bay graduate slugs way to research award

Graduate Philip Hahn with faculty adviser, Mathew DornbushPhilip G. Hahn, a 2010 graduate of the UW-Green Bay master’s program in Environmental Science and Policy, was honored April 30 at the annual alumni awards program.

Hahn, now a Ph.D. student in the zoology program at UW-Madison, posed (above, right) with faculty adviser Mathew Dornbush of Natural and Applied Sciences after receiving the Outstanding Master’s Thesis Award.

garden slugAs a master’s degree student, Hahn was focusing his ecology research on an invasive woodland plant, garlic mustard, until something else caught his eye.

From there, he followed the slime trails. They led to slugs.

“A lot of people don’t study slugs, for obvious reasons,” Hahn told the awards banquet audience, “but I think they’re actually kind of fun.”

When the chuckles subsided, the student researcher explained why his research paper is getting serious attention in the scientific community. It was published in a peer-reviewed professional journal, Restoration Ecology, before he had even defended his master’s thesis.

Garlic mustard has swept through Wisconsin woodlands, especially in normally rich and diverse river bottom ecosystems. It forms thick stands in the forest understory but has virtually no value for wildlife and very little value to humans (although some find it palatable as a cooking herb).

The conventional thinking was that garlic mustard grows quickly and “out-competes” native plants, but Hahn’s research makes a subtle distinction.

When he began to study areas where garlic mustard was gaining a toehold, he also found the slugs. And not just any slugs. They were a previously overlooked, non-native species, deroceras reticulatum (the gray garden slug).

The problem, he observed, was that the exotic slugs were decimating native plants and opening a niche for invasives. When no herbivores — not even the voracious slugs — would touch the aromatic garlic mustard, the browsers moved on to adjacent areas. Grazing heavily, the slugs and other creatures cleared fresh ground for the spread of still more garlic mustard.

Hahn proposes that ecologists should re-think the way they restore areas previously infested by garlic mustard.

“It’s important to plant herbivore-resistant native species,” he says. Do that, and next-generation native plants should hold their own against the invasives.

Hahn credits his UW-Green Bay experience — especially access to a diverse, interdisciplinary roster of faculty members working in a rich range of specialty areas — for landing a plum lab position in the Madison zoology program.

“I think it’s cool that I can be the first one to ask a particular question,” he says of science in general, and science at UW-Green Bay in particular. “The only thing better is that you can also be the first one to answer that question.”

Go Green: Manure happens, but alumnus keeps things clean

Kevin Erb, a 2000 Environmental Science and Policy graduate of UW-Green Bay, plays a major role (and an award-winning one, at that) in addressing one of the state’s leading environmental issues — proper management of livestock manure.

Erb is a professional development and training coordinator employed by UW Extension. He specializes in conservation issues.

Manure is a big issue in Wisconsin. UW Extension estimates that the dairy industry alone produces the equivalent of 12 billion gallons of liquid waste annually – enough to cover a college or NFL football field to a depth of five miles. Manure is a valuable fertilizer, but applied incorrectly, it can cause fish kills and drinking water contamination, and fertilize algae growth in lakes and streams. One-third of the state’s manure is applied by 116 for-hire application firms serving Wisconsin.

Erb chairs a work team that in recent years has worked to train manure applicators on proper procedures, and also encouraged those within the agriculture industry to work collaboratively with public officials and others to take a more active role in the larger public-policy issues. Most notably, Erb’s team created more than a dozen intentional (and small-scale) manure spills as an innovative approach to demonstrating the proper way to contain, clean up and restore a spill site.

All of this work earned Erb’s team — the UW-Extension Custom Manure Applicator Subcommittee — a major award earlier this fall. They received the UW-Extension/UW Colleges 2010 Chancellor’s Award for Excellence.

Kevin Erb and team(Kevin Erb is shown in the photo above, bottom row, second from right, holding the award with UW Extension Interim Chancellor Marv Van Kekerix.)

The award recognizes outstanding contributions by UW Colleges’ and UW-Extension’s partners, supporters and employees, to undergraduate education and university outreach around the state.

Colleagues at UW-Green Bay say Erb is also a “go-to-guy” for numerous research and watershed management projects involving undergraduates, grad students and faculty members, and a connection to UW-Extension in the soil, plant, water, and agricultural arenas.  He has hosted or facilitated  internships for UW-Green Bay students, served as a guest lecturer, volunteered to help supervise graduate-thesis projects in Environmental Sciences and Policy, and assisted in presenting workshops on conservation issues.

Kevin Erb is married to 1990 UW-Green Bay alumna Mary Jo (Janssen) Erb.

UW-Green Bay grad student helps with “Clean Marina”

Tony Rieth, a student in the Environmental Science and Policy graduate program at UW-Green Bay, has helped two Door County marinas earn “Clean Marina” status. Thanks to a grant awarded to the Solid and Hazardous Waste Education Center from the Environmental Protection Agency, Rieth worked on finding ways to make the marinas more environmentally friendly. He is also working on another project with UW-Green Bay Profs. Mathew Dornbush and Kevin Fermanich (Natural and Applied Sciences) and Prof. John Stoll (Public and Environmental Affairs.) Here’s more from the Door County Advocate.

Alumnus awarded Pew Fellowship

We’ve told you previously about Daniel Conley, who earned his master’s degree in Environmental Science and Policy at UW-Green Bay in 1983. He has been awarded a 2010 Pew Fellowship in Marine Conservation. Conley, who is a professor at Lund University in Sweden, will be looking for solutions to the decline in nutrients in the Baltic Sea. You can read more about Conley and his work in the Green Bay Press-Gazette, click here.

UW-Green Bay graduate wins Pew Fellowship

Daniel Conley, a professor in Biogeochemistry at the Department of Earth and Ecosystem Sciences at Lund University in Sweden, who earned his Master of Science degree in Environmental Science and Policy in 1983 at UW-Green Bay, has been awarded a 2010 Pew Fellowship in Marine Conservation. He will receive $150,000 to conduct a three-year study examining solutions for reducing nutrients levels in the  Baltic Sea. His work could have global implications, as excessive nutrients are a problem for the world’s oceans and lakes. Read what he says about his start at UW-Green Bay: click here.

Daniel Conley, UW-Green Bay alumnus wins Pew Fellowship

Daniel Conley, UW-Green Bay alumnusDaniel Conley, a professor at Lund University in Sweden, who credits UW-Green Bay for helping to shape his views about the role science can play in addressing major environmental problems, has been awarded a 2010 Pew Fellowship in Marine Conservation to examine solutions for reducing nutrients in the Baltic Sea. Conley earned his Master of Science degree in Environmental Science and Policy in 1983 at UW-Green Bay.

The award gives recipients $150,000 for a three-year scientific research or conservation project that will address critical challenges facing the world’s oceans. Excessive chemical nutrients, especially nitrogen and phosphorus from fertilizers, lead to hypoxia and so-called “dead zones” in the bottom waters of the Baltic Sea. These areas of low oxygen threaten the survival of marine life.

The Baltic Sea has more of these dead zones than any place in the world. They cover an area of 49,000 square kilometers, about the size of West Virginia, Conley said. In some years those zones become even larger.

However, hypoxia is not just a threat facing the world’s oceans. Excessive nutrients and low-oxygen zones are an issue for Green Bay and the Great Lakes, he said. So his research may have applications in Northeastern Wisconsin, too.

Conley will evaluate the effectiveness, cost and ecosystem impacts of several options for removing nutrients from the ocean and improving water quality. He will compare these options with traditional reduction methods for fertilizers on land, a portion of which reach the water through storm runoff.

“For me this (Pew Fellowship) is exciting because I like talking about my science and having it used in a management context,” Conley said. “When I was at UW-Green Bay, I was funded through a Sea Grant project and it was a fantastic time. I was so fortunate to learn from people like (emeriti professors of Natural and Applied Science) Jim Wiersma, Paul Sager and Bud Harris. The education at Green Bay helped me become the scientist that I am.”

Those lessons included a broadened understanding of environmental science and the need for researchers to step beyond the ivory tower and provide practical information to help decision-makers.

“I remember Dan well,” Sager said after learning about Conley’s award. “He was a young man whose aspirations grew as he grew as a student. You can’t help but feel a kick of pride when one of your students goes on to do well.”

A Fort Lauderdale, Fla. native who earned his undergraduate degree at Tulane University and his Ph.D. in Chemical Oceanography at the University of Michigan, Conley is also a visiting scientist at the Cary Institute of Ecosystem Studies in Millbrook, New York.

Following graduation from Michigan, Conley joined the University of Maryland Center for Environmental Studies, and from 1988-94 he worked on Chesapeake Bay. From there he moved to Denmark, where he worked at the National Environmental Research Institute, part of the Danish Ministry of the Environment, in Rosklide. In 2007 he joined the faculty of the GeoBiosphere Centre, Department of Earth and Ecosystem Sciences at Lund University.

One of the goals of Conley’s research will be to winnow through some of the proposals being floated to address the dead zones. These include massive oxygenation to chemical reduction to biomanipulation.

“We have already looked at large-scale engineering projects and concluded that those aren’t practical,” Conley said. “Something that you really have to be concerned about are the unintended consequences.”

There are 14 nations bordering the Baltic Sea, so any major project that would impact the environment must take into consideration international economics and treaties, Conley added.

“Dead zones in our oceans and seas are perhaps some of the most visible and tangible examples of human impact on marine environments,” said Joshua S. Reichert, managing director of the Pew Environment Group. “Dr. Conley’s project will apply the scientific scrutiny needed to help fix a global problem that is literally growing bigger each and every year.”

Each year the Pew Fellowship picks five recipients for a three-year fellowship in Marine Conservation. Other Fellows named Wednesday are conducting research in enhanced management of shellfish fisheries in Latin America, better understanding of biological diversity, identification and protection of coral reefs, and how to prevent the inadvertent catching and trapping of seabirds by open ocean longline and trawl fisheries.

The Pew Fellowships in Marine Conservation fund projects that address critical challenges in the conservation of the ocean, being led by outstanding professionals who are mid-career. The Pew Environment Group, based in Washington, D.C, manages the program.

More information about each of the 2010 Pew Fellows in Marine Conservation, including photographs and a Google Earth Tour of the recipients, is available at www.pewmarinefellows.org/2010.