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Washington State University

News From Our Graduates

We are excited to share news from our graduates! We would be delighted to hear from all of you!

Please send news of your “next steps” to Allyson Beall King or Alecia Hoene.

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School of the Environment

Nicolas Harris BS Earth and Environmental Sciences 2019

While finishing up both my major in Environmental and Ecosystem Sciences and a certificate in Water Resources Science & Management at WSU, I interned for the Palouse Conservation District through a WSU CAHNRS internship. After graduating, I took a full-time position as a technician for the PCD Research & Monitoring Program. As of now, I am still working for PCD as a Research & Monitoring Specialist, working on various projects that include watershed modeling and building online interactive tools for both water quality and soil health data. My experience at WSU helped me build my skillset and knowledge base, allowing me to smoothly transition from coursework into a career in natural resources conservation.

Suzanne Londeree BS Earth and Environmental Sciences 2019

I majored in environmental and ecosystem sciences. After I graduated, I spent a couple weeks in Boulder, CO getting my Wilderness First Responder certification, and then moved to Baraboo, WI to start my year as an Environmental Education and Communication Fellow at the Aldo Leopold Foundation.

Emily Griffith 2019 BS in Biology, Minor in Environmental Sciences

After completing my undergraduate degree, I worked for a year at a plant pathology lab at WSU and applied to graduate schools. In the fall, I will be attending Oregon State University pursuing a Master of Public Policy, concentrating in Environmental Policy. I will be shaping my degree to incorporate marine sciences as well, by also taking courses within the College of Earth, Ocean and Atmospheric Sciences. My research assistantship position will entail studying the social dimensions surrounding implementation of new wave energy “berths” off the coast of Newport, Oregon.

Katie Traub BS Earth and Environmental Sciences 2018

After graduating Katie did a summer/fall term with the Minnesota Conservation Corps at a soil and water conservation district just outside of Minneapolis, where she spent much of her time doing water monitoring and working with the county’s urban stormwater management plan. She is currently working on youth education programs at an energy non-profit in St. Paul and researching grad programs to pursue a master’s in the field of natural resources.

Mary Schneider BS in Earth and Environmental Science 2018

I am now working as a restoration scientist with The Nature Conservancy (TNC) in sagebrush ecosystems of Wyoming. This position includes multiple different projects that work to increase the success of native vegetation restoration in wildlands prone to invasion by exotic weeds. TNC is active in 72 different countries, and I hope to pursue conservation work abroad after this position. My time at WSU prepared me to be a strong candidate for many different positions in conservation, especially through the research and volunteer work that SOE helped me to pursue.

Sandra Spearman – BS Earth and Environmental Sciences 2018

After completing my BS Earth and Environmental Sciences degree in 2018 with a major in Environmental and Ecosystem Sciences I am now pursuing a master’s degree at the University of Idaho in Environmental Science, specializing in Toxicology. Currently, I am working for the Terragraphics International Foundation (TIFO), in Moscow, ID, which is a foundation that works with Doctors Without Borders (MSF) to identify and resolve environmental pollutants causing health problems in their local areas. For my master’s thesis, I will be working with TIFO on their Nigeria project, analyzing soil samples and determining the accuracy of the instrumentation. The Nigeria project was the largest lead poisoning outbreak in recorded history in 2010; TIFO was able to help with the identification of the lead source and remediation efforts in the area. As of now, I am working with TIFO on their Kyrgyzstan project, which consists of health concerns from a mercury mine and an antimony mine, in two separate cities.
Melanie Thornton

Melanie Thornton

Melanie Thornton PhD Environmental and Natural Resource Sciences 2017. Melanie served as a Geologic Society of America, US Geological Service Congressional Fellow in Washington D.C. for two years. After her Fellowship she transitioned to a job with Defenders of Wildlife in D.C. As of July 31st, 2019 she is working as a policy advisor to the US Senate Committee on Energy and Natural Resources for ranking Senator Manchin.

Laura Livingston

2017 MS Environmental Science. I work for the American Conservation Experience. We are surveying for aquatic invasive plants and animals. Right now, we are watching the spread of invasive rusty crayfish from the Columbia River up the Spokane River as the native crayfish decline. The invasive crayfish are voracious scavengers and predators, so I wish we had time to do stomach dissections on them! The other part of our job is educating the public about invasive species (or Skiff Transmitted Diseases as the state of Utah likes to call them), so that we can minimize hitchhiking among lakes. I love being out on the boat and learning about this lake!
Alex Iveson

Alex Iveson

Dr Alexander Iveson, PhD Geology 2017 Postdoctoral Research Associate in the Department of Earth Sciences, Durham University, United Kingdom

Alex Johnson

Fall 2017 I will be starting a PhD at UC-Santa Barbara working with Prof. John Cottle focusing on the petrochronology of metamorphic rocks.

Bridget Deemer

PhD Environmental and Natural Resource Science. Former advisor name: John Harrison Broadly, I am interested in how human activities are affecting the way that energy and nutrients cycle through ecosystems. My research aims to better characterize how reservoirs can affect the transport and transformation of carbon (C), nitrogen (N), phosphorus (P), and other biologically relevant elements.I am currently a postdoctoral ecologist with the U.S. Geological Survey’s Grand Canyon Monitoring and Research Center. Here, I am working to understand how changing nutrient concentrations in Glen Canyon Dam’s outflow are affecting rates of primary production in the river below.
Rebecka Bence

Rebecka Bence

2017 B.S. Environmental and Ecosystem Science. I am working at Pacific Northwest National Lab in Sequim, Washington researching how eel grass impacts harmful algal blooms. Next year, Graduate School!

Victor Alvarez BS in Earth and Environmental Science 2017

Victor majored in Environmental & Ecosystem Sciences, and is now working for Grant County PUD as their Fish & Wildlife Specialist. In his update, he included a special acknowledgement for his former SoE academic advisor, Alecia Hoene: “Because of you I landed my dream job close to home working to protect and restore sturgeon on the Columbia River!”

Riley Seeger, MS in Applied Economics 2017

Although technically not a graduate from the SOE, my peers and professors made me feel at home as I broadened my horizons in the environmental sciences. Many skills gained from classes taken at the SOE have greatly helped advance my career as a businessman in seafood wholesales. Fisheries Sciences allowed me to move beyond my narrow views of fishery policies I gained from my years of commercial fishing in order to better understand the broader environmental processes driving important management decisions. In systems dynamics I enjoyed investigating how different fishery policies affect fishery sustainability by building a bioeconomic model of a Chinook salmon fishery in the Tucannon River. Together, these courses really fueled my passion for fisheries and enhanced my ability to communicate effectively with members of the scientific and policy community. Now, I am following my dream job at a wonderful company, learning the seafood industry from the ground up.
shay workman

Shay Workman

Shay Workman- 2016 BS in Earth and Environmental Sciences “What I have learned through the SoE, through classes and internships, has allowed me to have enough background in various environmental-based fields that I was able to apply and qualify for several jobs after graduation.” “Transferring to WSU to major in environmental and ecosystem sciences in 2013 was one of the best life decisions I have made so far.”
River flow graph

Brad Luff

Brad Luff – Environmental and Ecosystem Sciences 2016. My name is Brad Luff and I would like to share with you some of things I have learned about conducting research as an undergraduate student in the School of the Environment here at Washington State University. When I began my studies at WSU, I did not realize that it was possible to do research as an undergrad. I always asked other students in my classes what classes and clubs they were in each semester to see what opportunities were available to me as a student here. I learned about a few really cool classes this way AND that I can do research as an undergraduate student! After learning of this news I asked one of my professors that semester if he knew of any research opportunities and after discussing my interests, we decided that we could work together the next semester on a project examining the impacts of climate change on stream systems across the Pacific Northwest. The aim of this project is to compare historical daily discharge data for rivers to projected daily discharge in the future that is created with Global Circulation Modeling and macroscale hydrology modeling.
Mark Billings

Mark Billings

Mark Billings Environmental and Ecosystem Science B.S. 2015 – Master’s Degree Student, Natural Resource Sciences School of the Environment I am researching ways to better understand human/community responses to wildfire. The focus of the research that I’m involved in occurs in areas where human development intersects wild areas such as forests. My time as an undergrad in the School of the Environment helped prepare me for grad school in several ways. Undergraduate course work was practical and provided a strong foundation that I could begin to build upon in my field of study. I was also able to establish connections with faculty members who were, along with being well respected in their perspective areas of expertise, able to help me transition to the next level of my education.
Jeffery Ladderud

Jeffery Ladderud

Jeffery Ladderud- BS Geology 2013 Environmental engineer for Freeport McMoRan, a global copper, gold, and molybdenum mine. “Geology is integral to so many aspects of our society. It’s used to discover and mine the mineral resources from which we’ve built our standard of living. It’s also used to clean up these mines. It’s used to manage and treat the water we depend on for drinking, agriculture, manufacturing, and sanitation.” “And as always—Go Cougs!!”

Ruby Nguyen PhD Environmental and Natural Resource Sciences 2012

Ruby Thuy Nguyen is a senior systems engineer at Idaho National Laboratory. Her work seeks to understand human impacts on natural resources (especially critical materials) and mechanisms to reduce impacts such as recycling, substitution and reducing material intensity. An important aspect of her work is linking economic drivers, environmental factors and technology development to shed light on how new technology adoption will be driven by a combination of economic and environmental factors. Some examples of her recent work include: Lamers, P., Nguyen, R., Hartley, D., Hansen, J. and Searcy, E. Biomass Market Dynamics Supporting the Large-Scale Deployment of High-Octane Fuel Production in the United States. GCB Bioenergy. (In Press). Nguyen, R.T., Fishman, T., Fu, Z., Imholte, D. and Graedel, T. (2018). Analyzing Critical Material Demand: A Revised Approach. Science of the Total Environment. DOI: 10.1016/j.scitotenv.2018.02.283 Imholte, D., Nguyen, R.T., Brown, M., Iyer, A., Vedantam, V., Smith B., Collins, J., Anderson, C. and O’Kelley, B. (2018), An Assessment of U.S. Rare Earth Availability for Supporting U.S. Wind Energy Growth. Energy Policy. DOI: 10.1016/j.enpol.2017.11.001 Nguyen, R.T., Diaz, L.A., Imholte, D.D. and Lister,T.E. (2017). Economic Assessment for Recycling Critical Metals from Hard Disk Drives Using a Comprehensive Recovery Process. JOM. DOI: 10.1007/s11837-017-2399-2.

Gary Spradlin MS Environmental Science 2003

I work as a federal employee for a government agency. I am a member of a 24/7 radiological emergency response team assigned to DC headquarters – provides expertise and support during emergency response activities during national and international emergencies caused by natural disasters, nuclear power plants accidents, transportation accidents involving shipment of radioactive materials, and potential terrorist-related events in accordance with the National Response Plan.