ENRP's Spring 2015 Newsletter

March 09, 2015

 

ENRP Spring 2015 NewsletterBelow is a sampling of updates from the Spring 2015 ENRP Newsletter. To read the full newsletter, click on the thumbnail to the right.

ENRP expands options for NPS employees and GW undergraduates

Spring 2015 Capstone Projects Underway

ENRP Students Combine Job and Classroom Experiences

University Illustrates Commitment to Sciences and Sustainability

Faculty Highlights

News From You

 


ENRP expands options for NPS employees and GW undergraduates

NPS FellowsThe ENRP program has created two new academic programs, targeted to specific groups of students.

In fall 2013, ENRP began the Certificate in Contexts of Environmental Policy for National Park Service (NPS) employees. The certificate was created for emerging leaders at NPS to strengthen their knowledge of the natural, cultural and historic resources that drive the mission of the Park Service. The graduate certificate is inspired by a gift from Roger and Frances Kennedy and made possible by the Friends of Roger Kennedy to establish a fellowship named for the late Roger Kennedy, a former director at the National Park Service and part-time professor of American studies at George Washington. The Roger Kennedy National Parks Fellowship provides tuition support for NPS employees participating in the certificate program. Students select four graduate-level courses from options in public policy and public administration, museum studies, history and American studies.

Starting in fall 2015, ENRP will offer a joint five-year BA/MA program for undergraduates majoring in environmental studies. Students will be able to apply to the program in their junior year and then “double-count” up to 12 credits towards both their bachelor’s and master’s degrees. A survey conducted in fall 2013 revealed that many environmental studies undergraduates were interested in a joint program, including more than 80 percent of graduating seniors. The program was developed jointly with David Rain, the director of the undergraduate Environmental Studies program, and received the endorsement of the Geography Department (home of the undergraduate environmental studies program). As noted in a recent article in the GW Hatchet, we hope this initiative will simultaneously grow the program and expand opportunities for GW students.

ENRP is excited to continue to grow in a variety of ways to continue providing students the tools they need to be effective leaders in the environmental policy arena.

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Spring 2015 Capstone Projects Underway

ENRP Spring 2015 Capstone ProjectsThis spring, 10 students are working on three different capstone projects. During the capstone, students engage in research and apply the multidisciplinary knowledge they have acquired during their program of study to a real-world environmental or resource policy question. Students work in small teams on a project sponsored and mentored by an external client, such as a government agency or not-for-profit group. These projects result in a written report and a formal presentation of research results to both the external client and GW faculty.

Client—National Park Service: These four students are assessing issues related to erosion control in Rock Creek Park in Washington, D.C., and will provide site-specific recommendations.

Client—Southeastern Wind Coalition: The group of three students is examining various offshore wind development models across several Southeastern states to determine the ability of the models to encourage offshore wind development.

Client—Conservation International: The group is completing a climate vulnerability assessment for coastal areas in the Philippines and provide recommendations for the development of mangrove restoration and rehabilitation projects for climate change adaptation.

If you work for an organization that might serve as a client for a capstone project in the future, please let Dr. Peter Linquiti, the capstone instructor, know. The capstone course is taught only in the spring semester, so students will next be looking for clients in November and December of 2014.

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ENRP Students Combine Job and Classroom Experiences

TalkingMany ENRP students work or intern while enrolled in the program. And many of these jobs and internships are within the environmental policy arena. This allows students to supplement their classroom education with "real world" work experiences. Students are also able to bring their work experiences into the classroom to inform discussions of the practical application of concepts, methodologies and laws. Below is a list of organizations where students have or are currently working or interning while enrolled in the program:

  • American Council for an Energy-Efficient Economy
  • City Parks Alliance
  • Conservation International
  • Council on Environmental Quality, White House
  • Environment America
  • Environmental and Energy Study Institute
  • Environmental Defense Fund
  • Environmental Protection Agency
  • Federal Energy Regulatory Commission
  • House of Representatives, Member Offices
  • International Fund for China’s Environment
  • National Council for Science and the Environment
  • Solar Institute, George Washington University
  • Wildlife Conservation Society

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University Illustrates Commitment to Sciences and Sustainability

GW Science & Engineering HallThis semester, demonstrating GW’s commitment to the sciences, the new Science and Engineering Hall opened on the Foggy Bottom campus. Several ENRP-affiliated professors, like Houston Miller of the Chemistry Department, have already moved into new labs and offices in the building. The Science and Engineering Hall will provide new research facilities, such as a greenhouse and nanotechnology fabrication facility, flexible space for research and teaching and numerous laboratories.

In early 2014, former deputy secretary of the U.S. Department of Agriculture Kathleen Merrigan joined GW to lead the Sustainability Collaborative. The Sustainability Collaborative aims to ensure GW remains an academic leader in multidisciplinary sustainability education and research. Dr. Merrigan brings more than 30 years of experience to GW and was named one of Time magazine’s “Most Influential People in the World” in 2010. Prior to being nominated to serve in the USDA by President Obama, Dr. Merrigan was the director of the Agriculture, Food and Environment Program at Tufts University. She has also worked for the U.S. Senate Committee on Agriculture, Nutrition and Forestry—where she authored the 1990 Organic Foods Production Act—and for the Henry A. Wallace Institute for Alternative Agriculture. ENRP is excited to have Dr. Merrigan as a resource here at GW and to continue working with her to advance sustainability goals.

Together, the new Science and Engineering Hall and the creation of the Sustainability Collaborative illustrate the university’s commitment to environmental initiatives and ideas.

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Faculty Highlights

ENRP students work with faculty from several departments here at GW. ENRP-affiliated faculty are actively engaging in research related to environmental policy, demonstrating their commitment to the field and the range of expertise available to our students.

Professor Nancy Augustine (ENRP’s director of graduate studies) recently worked with ENRP alumnus Bill Ostrum, MA ’12 (environmental protection specialist for the U.S. Department of Transportation's Federal Highway Administration), to deliver a course on Planning for Sustainable Transportation. It explored how transportation planning operates within the framework of the National Environmental Policy Act to find context-sensitive solutions—an approach that considers the environmental, economic, cultural and other contexts in which facilities are planned. Throughout the semester, subject matter experts from FHWA shared their practical knowledge through in-class discussions and lectures.

Catherine Forster, ENRP’s former Director of Graduate Studies, is on sabbatical for the 2014-2015 academic year and is living and working in the U.K. She is a Distinguished Visiting Scholar at Christ's College, Cambridge, where she is working on manuscripts on dinosaurs from South Africa, Madagascar and China. Dr. Forster is enjoying her time in England and is planning to travel around the U.K. and to France, Italy, Spain and Portugal.

ENRP Director Peter Linquiti has authored a book that will be published by Palgrave Macmillan this summer. Entitled The Public Sector R&D Enterprise: A New Approach to Portfolio Valuation, its focus is on U.S. government programs to support applied research and development in fields like energy, transportation and the environment. The book combines a primer on how government R&D programs work with a method for prospectively putting a dollar figure on the value of R&D investments before they are made. Dr. Linquiti is also working with ENRP second-year student Nathan Cogswell on an analysis of the extent of oil, natural gas and coal resources that lie below the earth’s surface.

Arun Malik, in GW’s Department of Economics, and Aaron Elrod, PhD ’12, of Sewanee are examining the effects of environmental regulations on the mix of products produced by plants in the U.S. pulp, paper and paperboard industries. They have found evidence that more stringent environmental regulations induce plants to drop “dirty” (or pollution-intensive) products and add “clean” products to their product mix. This is the first study to examine the relationship between environmental regulation and the product mix of U.S. plants.

Houston Miller from the Chemistry Department is among a group of researchers working to study thawing permafrost emissions in Alaska on a project entitled, "Characterizing Thawing Permafrost Carbon Emissions: An Integrated Pilot Study in Support of Satellite Evaluation/Design and Earth System Modeling Capabilities." Dr. Miller's group is developing and deploying a sensor to perform open-path, laser absorption measurements of carbon dioxide and methane at field sites in each of the next two years. Read more about this project in the article “A Race to the North.

ENRP professor Ben Simon, who teaches our core environmental economics course, is also the director of the Economics Staff in the Office of Policy Analysis at the Department of the Interior. Dr. Simon is involved in a variety of projects related to cultural resource valuation; improving the collection of socio-economic data for Native Americans; and the analysis of critical habitat consultations.

Henry Teng of GW’s Chemistry Department is a geochemist specializing in water-rock interactions, i.e., the behavior of earth materials in natural aqueous environments. His research makes contributions to a number of scientific and applied fields, including geoscience, environmental science and materials science and is currently focused on mineral carbonation in the context of the current global effort in carbon sequestration.

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News From You

Catherine Callahan, MA ’12, is current an epidemiology PhD candidate in Epidemiology and Environmental Health Department at the University of Buffalo. Her research is focusing on pesticides and particulate matter, with an emphasis on molecular epidemiology.

Rachel Dawson, MA ’06, manages the Delaware River Program at the National Fish and Wildlife Foundation in DC.  She directs a $7 million fund for on-the-ground restoration and conservation projects to improve water quality and habitat in the watershed.

Nabil Haque, MA ’11, recently presented a paper at the 3rd Annual Green Growth Knowledge Platform conference held in Ca' Foscari University of Venice January 29, 2015. The paper evaluated recently enacted environmental surcharges to control pollution in Bangladesh.

Megan Healy, MA ’09, is currently a NEPA Specialist with the U.S. Forest Service in the Washington, DC office. Her current projects focus on promoting learning around NEPA efficiencies across the agency, researching NEPA best practices for landscape-scale projects, and providing oversight and guidance to our regional offices and field units.

Patricia (Trisha) Hutchins, MA ’10, is currently working at the U.S. Energy Information Administration, the analytical and statistical agency of the U.S. Department of Energy. She is an Operations Research Analyst for the Transportation Energy Consumption and Efficiency group, where she explores and analyzes transportation energy markets in order to update and manage transportation energy modeling and projections.

Theresa Kerrigan, MA ’11, just returned from the DRIVE conference in Seattle (both of which she highly recommends) and is currently employed at GW as a business analyst working on new business intelligence metrics and data feed projects. Spring finds her hiking and volunteering with Casey Trees and Rock Creek Conservancy.

Justin Pryor, MA ’14, is currently working for the Office of Pipeline Safety at the Pipeline and Hazardous Materials Safety Administration and leading the onshore oil spill response plan review program.

Kristin Quam, MA ’12, completed a graduate certificate in Accounting from the University of Washington and began working full time as an auditor, earning her CPA license.  She hopes to one day bridge together her interests in environmental policy and auditing by specializing in sustainability audits.

Emily (Wasley) Seyller, MA ’09, is a senior climate preparedness and resilience specialist with the U.S. Global Change Research Program (USGCRP). Through her role at USGCRP, Emily coordinates the Federal research needed to enhance resilience at multiple scales. Through her capacity at USGCRP, Emily recently won an Outstanding Collaborative Planning Project award for her support to the Building a Climate Resilient National Capital Region project.

Ben Walsh, MA ’12, is a Project Coordinator at Green Seal, Inc.  Green Seal is a non-profit organization that uses science-based programs to empower consumers, purchasers, and companies to create a more sustainable world through our standards and certification programs.  Recently, we launched a Green Office Partnership to provide guidance on sustainable office operations.

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