Education News

Environmental Science Students Present Thesis Work

2009-05-04

Professor Martin Stute with student Erin McMahon

On Thursday, April 23, the Barnard Department of Environmental Science and the Earth Institute hosted the 6th Annual Senior Thesis Poster Session, where environmental majors in this year’s graduating class were given a forum to present their thesis research. The session featured majors from Barnard’s Environmental Science Department, the Columbia College Department of Earth and Environmental Sciences (DEES), the Columbia College Department of Ecology, Evolution, and Environmental Biology (E3B), and the Fu Foundation School of Engineering & Applied Science. 

After an introduction by Matt Palmer, Director of Undergraduate studies in the Department of Ecology, Evolution and Environmental Biology, students gave one-minute presentations of their thesis work. "Every year, we are impressed by the professionalism of the students, the quality of their research, and the tremendous investment by the research mentors," Palmer explained. The students further demonstrated their knowledge as they stood by their posters and responded to questions from fellow classmates and visitors.

Their research covered a wide range of topics including carbon sequestration, arctic haze, and the role of indigenous knowledge in managing fish resources, Amazon River turtles, and the identification of inefficiencies in Barnard’s toilet system. The audience that gathered to view the students’ work in the James Room on the 4th floor of Barnard Hall included their research mentors, Barnard and Columbia faculty and research staff, friends, family and fellow students.

Student Yvonne Colebank displays her poster.

All students in programs of environmental study at Columbia are required to complete a senior thesis that involves at least two semesters of in-depth research, including field, laboratory, and/or data analysis components.  A Columbia faculty member oversees and reviews each senior thesis, and research mentors from the greater Columbia and New York communities advise the projects.  Weekly meetings of the Senior Seminar allow Barnard, DEES, and E3B students to discuss the progress of their thesis projects and hone their writing and presentation skills.

“I was lucky to work with Dr. Cynthia Rosenzweig at NASA GISS on a research project exploring economic incentives for climate change mitigation on farms in the Hudson Valley, “ explained graduating senior and presenter Alison Powell. “Everyone who came to the poster session seemed genuinely interested and excited about our research and its potential for real-world application.”

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Student Presenters

Erin McMahon: Mapping Arsenic Plumes and Determining Arsenic Budgets: Superfund Site, Vineland, NJ
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Sarah Bartges: From Carbon Emitter to Carbon Sink: Calculating the Carbon Sequestration Potential of Agricultural Soils
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Alison Powell: Reducing Emissions on Agricultural Lands in the Hudson Valley
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Caroline Silver: Prioritizing Environmental Concerns in Thailand and Cambodia: A Look at Objective, National and Transnational Factors
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Robin Broder: The Future of Electric Vehicles and Challenges for Infrastructure
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Larhonde Sealey: Identifying Inefficiencies in Barnard’s Toilet System and Offering a Solution
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Mason McElroy: Green Energy Potential of Coal River Mountain, West Virginia
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Yvonne Colebank: Using Surveys to Identify Misunderstood Weather Concepts and Creating Educational videos to Effectively Teach these concepts
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Gary Mesko: Origin of Texcal Basalt Lava Flow in the Central Mexican Volcanic Belt: Implications for arc magma formation
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Stephen Cox: Double-dating of Detrital Apatites from Prydz Bay, East Antarctica
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Ilana Somasunderam: Early Miocene Sedimentation and Strontium Isotope Geochronology in the Gulf of Suez, Egypt
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Alexandrina Tzanova: Molybdenum and Cadmium measurements from Laminated Sediments from Soledad Basin, Baja, California: Climate Paleoproxies
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Priya Murthy: Arctic Haze: Trends and Spatial Variability throughout Alaska
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Yasemin Erboy: Temporal Variability of SF6 and SF5CF3 Concentrations in the atmosphere
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Elizabeth Logan: Tracking Mesoscale Eddies in an Ocean Model
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Ekaterina Alexandrova: Unifrom Microbial populations across an Arsenic Gradient in Bangladesh Aquifers
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Simon Lax: Characterization of Microbial Diversity in a Methane Hydrate Rich Deep Subseafloor Environment
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Rebecca Hersch: Gene Flow in the Philippines: Genetic Diversity in Two Scleractinian corals
Sarracina Littlebird: The Role of Indigenous Knowledge of managing fish resources in the Peruvian Amazon
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Teonilda Cruz: The Impact of Urbanization on Red Oak along an Urban to Rural Gradient
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Bradley Marshall: Snow Cover and Changes in the Distribution of New Zealand Alpine Plants
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Meredith Martin: Effect of Management and Habitat on Population structure and density of Agave cupreata in Guerrero, Mexico
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Jason Patinkn: Effects of Gastrointestinal Parasitism on threatened Amazon River Turtles, Podocnemis spp,. In Peru
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Olivia Tandon: Using video to stimulate social behavior in captive lesser birds of paradise, Paradisaea minor
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Andrew Booms: Prey Species, Remote-Sensing Habitat Classifications Best Predictors of Bobcat, Lynx rufus, Trap Success
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Maya Choy-Sutton: River Summer: The importance of place-based and field-based interdisciplinary faculty development
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Rebecca Kelly: Scale-dependent variability of Infauna in a New Hampshire Mudflat
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