Major: Environmental Science, Ecology
Class of: 2016
I chose to pursue a career in environmental science because I love the outdoors and adventures, going new places and discovering new and interesting things. I’ve never been able to stay cooped up and have no desire to sit behind a desk. As a child I always loved being outside and could barely focus in class unless it was about science. I would rather be outside hiking through the forest, playing with a fungus or a frog, climbing trees and boulders.
I’ve always had a passion for science, and how things work and influence each other.”
I could be a lifetime student in science because there is always something new to figure out or puzzle to be solved. SNC was amazing and challenging at the same time. There were times when I didn’t want to graduate, because there were always more courses that caught my interest that I wanted to take before I left. Professors Andy Rost and Suzanne Gollery always pushed me to work better and think differently about science. Their support for their students and dedication to what they teach at SNC made a big difference for me.
Effects of Temperature on Soil Erosion Rates in the Lake Tahoe Basin
Increasing temperatures are a global concern. In the Sierra Nevada, rising temperatures have the potential to affect a range of physical, chemical and biological processes that rely on predictable freezing and warming cycles. Soils are the largest carbon sink, foster nutrient cycling, store water for vegetation and provide structural support. This study focuses on the potential effects increased temperature may have on moisture holding capacity and erosion rates in the Incline Village Watershed.
Five different soil types with in the Incline Village Watershed were selected based on accessibility and relative proportion of the total watershed. Six soil core samples (three replicates and three controls) of each soil type were randomly sampled, then run through a series of wet and dry oscillations to assess changes in holding capacity. Results showed no significant difference in holding capacity (one way anova, p-value 0.33) or erosion rate factors (using the Universal Soil Erosion Equation (A=KR(LS)) across and within all soil types within temperature ranges of 80° to 90°F, a noticeable difference in both measurements was found with 100°F treatment. As climate change impacts become increasingly prevalent, potential changes in soil holding capacity and increase in erosion rates could cause severe degradation to hillsides and waterways.
My senior research project was accepted to the SERCAL (California Society for Ecological Restoration) conference, and placed Second in the poster competition. That experience was the cherry on top of my senior year. Having my research seen and reviewed by so many people working in my field, and hearing them say such inspirational things about it, really showed me that I chose the right career path.
Now at I’ve graduated, I’m working for ACRT, a utility vegetation management company, as a Consulting Utility Forester II working as a USFS and BLM point of contact. I’m also studying for my ISA (International Society of Arboriculture) certification so I can advance with this company. SNC really equipped me with the tools I need to succeed with this company. Only time will tell where I will be in ten years; I’ve always found that some of the best things in life happen when you least expect them.