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The students are the greatest strength of the Environmental Science program. Hailing from South America to Siberia and Provo to Accra, our students are seeking to understand environmental issues and develop creative and inclusive solutions. Check out the selection of student profiles below. Then come join our community of uplifting and insightful students to help us literally change the world.

STUDENT HIGHLIGHTS

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Cecilia Foster

I want to be a science journalist, more specifically an environmental reporter. By studying Environmental Science here at BYU, I can learn about the scientific basis for a lot of environmental issues and work on communicating those to a non-scientific audience. Studying Environmental Science also teaches me how to think like a scientist, while learning to talk and communicate like an activist.

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Derrek Wilson

I chose to study environmental science to understand how the natural world functions and how our interactions are affecting natural systems. I plan on going into the field of environmental law with the ultimate goal of creating environmental policy at a state or federal level. The environmental science major has provided me with scientific literacy to help me make more evidence based policy regarding environmental issues.


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Abigail Banks

I realized that I could make the difference I wanted to make in the world through majoring in Environmental Science. I'm minoring in Business and ultimately I want to do environmental nonprofit work. Studying at BYU gave me the opportunity to do my first internship at a nonprofit which made me realize how much I love it.


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Mitchell Greenhalgh

I’m very interested in how the environment is impacted by humans and how the environment impacts humans. I do research with a public health professor in addition to my main research in the environmental science program. Although my primary interests within environmental science (landscape and spatial ecology, ecological data science) aren’t really taught in the program, it’s providing me with a solid baseline that I would need to go into those fields later on.
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Isabella Errigo

I am an Environmental Science Major and International Development Minor. The ESci program has taught me a lot about environmental science, obviously, but it has also allowed me to connect my passion for environmental issues with my passions for other social injustices. I want to help nations create and enforce effective policies that reduce their emissions and promote sustainable development. I would also like to be a professor in environmental science and international development. After I retire, I want to be a park ranger.
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Sierra Curtis

I am an Environmental Science major and International Development minor.
I want to teach environmental science at community college to under represented minorities and first generation college students. I started in eco-business and while I still help with sustainable development initiatives I switched to an international development minor to better understand refugees or first generation Americans that I hope to teach someday.
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PHD STUDENTS


Devri Adams

March 14, 2020 01:03 PM
Devri Adams is pursuing a PhD studying the effects of megafires on ecosystem recovery.

Sara Sayedi

February 27, 2020 03:29 PM
Sara Sayedi is a Ph.D. student working on combining expert opinions to assess risk of dangerous change in Earth systems (permafrost collapse, global wildfire, and water security).

Sarah Witney

February 03, 2023 08:49 PM
A recent BYU graduate in Psychology in Spanish, Sarah Witney hopes to use this opportunity to help her community be a positive force for the environment. She is open to learning anything and looks forward to growing her understanding of the issues and solutions. “Be the climate change you wish to see in the world.”

Qiwen Zhang

August 28, 2020 10:50 AM
Qiwen Zhang is a Ph.D. student working on using Arctic river networks as multi-scale sensors to reveal terrestrial and aquatic signals of ecosystem change.
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MS STUDENTS

Sam Bratsman

February 28, 2020 08:31 AM
Sam Bratsman is an M.S. student working on eutrophication in Utah Lake and the effects of climate change in the Abbott and Aanderud labs.

Hannah Burgin

March 14, 2020 01:30 PM
Hanna Burgin is an Environmental Science master’s student conducting research about water conservation through sustainable landscaping in Utah.

Isabella Errigo

February 28, 2020 08:48 AM
Isabella Errigo is an M.S. student studying the effects of wildfire on aquatic biodiversity in the Frandsen and Abbott labs. She is interested in the interactions between human policy and ecosystem sustainability.

Leslie Lange

February 28, 2020 08:46 AM
Leslie Lange is an Environmental Science MS student from Modesto,California. She is studying different approaches to increasing science literacy in the public and reducing waterborne pathogens.

Isak Larsen

March 14, 2020 01:33 PM
Isak Larsen is an Environmental Science master’s student from Arizona.

Madeline Malmfeldt

April 25, 2020 12:03 PM
Madeleine Malmfeldt is a Master’s student in Environmental Science from Cumming, Georgia.

Aria McComber

September 14, 2021 12:20 PM
Aria is a master's student in Environmental Science. She is interested in corporate sustainability, environmental health, international development, and environmental economics. Before being recruited by BYU's volleyball team, she received a degree in business administration from Washington State University.

Madeline McLaughlin

April 02, 2020 08:57 PM
Madeline McLaughlin is a Master’s student in Environmental Science from Houston, Texas.

Shannon Nelson

April 25, 2020 11:53 AM
Shannon Nelson is an Environmental Science master’s student.

Adam Norris

September 02, 2020 03:45 PM
Adam Norris is an M.S student studying soil fire responses and nutrient cycling following the Mt. Nebo Megafire of 2018.
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UNDERGRAD STUDENTS

Carter Allred

April 02, 2020 06:27 PM

Russel Anderson

January 24, 2022 02:29 PM
Russel is somewhere between senior and graduating, studying physics and political science. His hobbies and work are inseparably full of research and writing, and he hopes for his career to end up in academia with a focus on tackling complex problems like climate change and political corruption. When he’s not doing any of that, he’s probably listening to music, playing video games, or talking people’s ears off about random history things.

David Armond

March 14, 2020 01:06 PM
David Armond is an undergraduate in Environmental Science from Provo, UT.

Katie Bellows

September 28, 2022 03:03 PM
Katie is an undergraduate student from Cedar Rapids, Iowa, studying music composition with a business minor. Her top research interests include bipartisan environmental outreach, impacts of sustainable food systems on local economies, and household perceptions of environmental cost and waste. When separated from her schoolwork, she’s usually hiking in the mountains or practicing for her next album.

Keara Bingham

February 03, 2023 08:56 PM
Keara is an undergraduate student from Portland, Oregon studying Environmental Science and minoring in music. During the summer, Keara can be found in a small town in Alaska where she works at a fish processing plant! Her hobbies include playing the piano, running, hiking, and playing video games with her family. In the future, she hopes to focus on restoring environmental activity in different areas of her community.

Becca Black

September 22, 2022 11:26 AM
Becca is a sophomore in Wildlife and Wildlands Conservation and is interested in restoration ecology, particularly in wetland and river systems. She is from central Wisconsin, and enjoys reading, plant ID, making bread, and writing in the third person :)

Addison Bliss

February 15, 2021 08:36 PM
Addison is an undergraduate from Peoria, Arizona majoring in Environmental Science. She is interested in improving community and individual health by establishing gardening programs in environments such as elementary schools and urban areas. She can’t wait to encourage others to get their hands dirty and nurture the world beneath their feet. She loves reading, gardening, cooking, drawing, hiking, and meditating.

Jacob Blood

September 22, 2022 11:21 AM
Jacob is a BYU is an undergraduate from Hurricane, West Virginia studying Environmental Science and Sustainability. He is interested in renewable energy and environmental policy and law. His hobbies include reading, writing, skateboarding, studying languages and watching movies.

Olivia Burns

January 16, 2023 10:29 PM
Olivia Burns is an undergrad from New Richmond, Wisconsin studying Environmental Science and Sustainability and minoring in Professional Writing and Rhetoric. She is passionate about ecology, environmental law, environmental journalism, and sustainable development. In her free time, she loves backpacking, going through her camera roll, and reading (or looking at pictures in) the National Geographic.

Karoline Busche

January 16, 2023 10:25 PM
Karoline is an Environmental Science and Sustainability student graduating in April 2024. Her research interests are water conservation, and environmental education. She loves learning languages, hiking, fashion, and laughing.

Hannah Butterfield

September 22, 2022 11:18 AM
Hannah is an undergraduate studying Environmental Science and Sustainability. She loves learning and hopes to work with them when she graduates. She loves her current job at a greenhouse. In her free time she enjoys hiking, gardening, crocheting, playing with her cat, and visiting local restaurants.

Kristina Cass

March 14, 2020 01:00 PM
Kristina Cass is an Ohio native and is pursuing a degree in Environmental Science with a minor in Geospatial Science and Technology.

Joshua Christensen

January 16, 2023 10:31 PM
Joshua is an undergraduate student from Cincinnati, Ohio studying computer science. Despite his best efforts, he developed a love of Nature after years of being dragged up mountains by his tree hugging father. Now, he hopes to contribute to building a better world in whatever way he can. When he’s not furiously typing on his laptop, he enjoys playing rocket league, volleyball, ultimate frisbee, and cooking. More information can be found at https://josh.christen.se/n

Elisabeth Currit

January 14, 2021 11:56 AM
Elisabeth is a senior studying Environmental Science and Sustainability and minoring in International Development. She is deeply passionate about a wide range of social and environmental issues, including air pollution, environmental justice, environmental policy, public land management, and gender equality, and she is especially interested in using GIS mapping and analysis to better visualize and understand these issues. She loves to read, hike, climb, and do anything outdoors, and owns an astounding number of plants (this number is continually growing). After completing her undergraduate degree, she plans to attend grad school and get a Masters’ degree and then a PhD.

Sierra Curtis Nichols

April 02, 2020 08:59 PM
Sierra Curtis Nichols is a junior studying environmental science from Midway, UT.

Jonathan Daniels

April 02, 2020 08:53 PM
Jonathan Daniels is a senior studying Microbiology.

Sara Frutos - Field Manager

September 14, 2021 11:45 AM
Sara is the co-field manager in the Abbott Lab. She is a senior undergraduate from Corning, New York studying Environmental Science and Sustainability. She is passionate about protecting and preserving the beauty of the Earth. She hopes to have a career in which she can work to bring sustainable practices to business and cities. She enjoys any and all types of field work, hiking, and sports.

Sterling Fuller

March 14, 2020 01:01 PM
Sterling Fuller is an undergraduate student from St. Louis, Missouri studying Biology.

Eliza Hammari

September 22, 2022 11:37 AM
Eliza is an undergrad majoring in Environmental Science and Sustainability. She has a passion for protecting and preserving our beautiful earth and hopes to help others become better stewards of the fascinating world we live in. She enjoys reading, cooking, creating art of any kind, and anything outdoors.

Bethany Hurt

February 03, 2023 08:54 PM
Bethany is an undergraduate student from Montgomery Village, Maryland studying Environmental Science with a minor in music. She hopes to work with water resource management in the future. Some of her passions include playing piano and ukulele, singing in the BYU Women’s Chorus, hiking, cooking, Lord of the Rings, and sword fighting.

Shannon Lambson - Field Manager

January 12, 2021 09:41 PM
Shannon Lambson is the co-field manager in the lab and an undergraduate studying Environmental Science and Sustainability. Her interests include wildlife conservation, improving women’s health in developing countries, and watching reruns of the Crocodile Hunter.

Leen Lindsey

January 16, 2023 10:23 PM
Leen is a sophomore undergrad from Simi Valley, California studying Environmental Science and Sustainability. He is also minoring in business with hopes of pursuing a career involving sustainability within businesses. He enjoys spending his free time lifting weights at the gym and trying new foods.

Audrey Lofthouse

January 16, 2023 10:10 PM
Audrey is an undergraduate student studying Environmental Science and Sustainability with a minor in Geospatial Science and Technology (GIS). She has lived in various places, including Ohio, Michigan, Florida, Colorado, and Germany, and enjoys the outdoors wherever she goes. Her hobbies include trail running, crossfit, calligraphy, and traveling. She hopes to pursue atmospheric science/climatology in graduate school, after which she can eventually just “do science” for a living, and maybe even live in Antarctica for a bit.

Alex Long

September 22, 2022 11:15 AM
Alex is a BYU undergraduate student from Houston, Texas studying Environmental Science and Sustainability. He enjoys spending time in nature with his friends and family, playing basketball, and photography.

Elizabeth McLaughlin

April 25, 2020 12:05 PM
Elizabeth McLaughlin is an undergraduate student studying Bioinformatics.

Ethan McQuhae

September 14, 2021 11:40 AM
Ethan is an undergraduate from Fort Worth, Texas, studying Environmental Science and Sustainability. He is an avid lover of all things plantae. In his free time he loves to hike, eat pizza, and hunt for new plants he hasn’t seen before. He hopes to help others understand the importance of plants in the environment and how we can be better stewards of our great, big planet.

Kylee Mecate

January 18, 2021 09:50 AM
Kylee is an undergraduate from Imperial, California. She’s majoring in Wildlife and Wildlands Conservation, and she’s always had a passion for animals, being outside, and the beach/ocean.

Hannah Mikesell

January 16, 2023 10:20 PM
Hannah is an undergraduate student from San Diego, California studying Biodiversity & Conservation with an Environmental Science & Sustainability minor. They’re passionate about wildlife conservation, combating climate change, and equality. They love learning new facts about various species, hiking, video games, and losing themselves in a good story.

Savannah Muise

March 14, 2020 01:05 PM
Savannah Muise is an Exercise Science major from Alberta, Canada who will be pursuing a medical degree.

Megan Nebeker

January 12, 2021 09:32 PM
Megan is an undergraduate student studying exercise science from Oregon. She loves learning more about the environment, and ways that we can protect it. She is planning on becoming a physical therapist. In her spare time she enjoys go hiking, visit national parks, and play tennis.

Jansen Nipko

December 13, 2022 04:49 PM
Jansen Nipko is from West Jordan Utah and is an engaged student in the Environmental Science and Sustainability major. Since his freshman year at BYU, he has been working in the Aanderud lab, involved in projects with CoVid tracing in campus wastewater and microbial DNA extraction/analysis of arctic soil samples. He has spent the last two summers working under Dr. Ben Abbott in the frozen tundra of Northern Alaska doing research on Arctic river systems and photo-biodegradability of Arctic river carbon. Jansen loves backcountry skiing, singing to Broadway tunes, climbing, and watching rom-coms.

Baylie Nusink

March 14, 2020 01:09 PM
Baylie Nusink is an undergraduate studying Environmental Science. She currently studies how wildfires and rodents influence plant invasions in forest and desert ecosystems.

Harriet Parkinson

September 28, 2022 03:01 PM
Harriet is an undergraduate student from Boise, Idaho studying Geography with an emphasis in Urban and Regional Planning. She looks forward to professional opportunities to advocate for sustainable development, but for now celebrates individual actions such as buying all of her clothes second-hand. In her free time, Harriet can be found outside hiking or playing ultimate frisbee.

Audrey Rathke

September 22, 2022 11:43 AM
Audrey is an undergraduate studying Environmental Science and Sustainability. She loves water and is striving to learn anything about water: lakes, streams, ponds, oceans, etc. She is intrigued with all of the biological, chemical, physical, and geographical components of freshwater and saltwater systems. When she is not learning, Audrey enjoys decorating cakes, painting, photography, water skiing, tennis, and reading.

Thomas Richards

March 14, 2020 01:11 PM
Thomas Richards is an undergraduate student studying Wildlife and Wildlands conservation with minors in French and Chinese.

Robby Sainsbury - Data Manager

March 23, 2022 05:11 PM
Robby is the data manager for the lab. He is a senior from Idaho studying statistics at BYU. He enjoys using data to solve complex and important problems. He is currently involved in research on the impacts of megafire events on stream chemistry and trends in harmful algal blooms in Utah Lake. He is also interested in researching the social determinants of health, specifically to improve health outcomes for those in vulnerable communities. After graduation he plans to pursue a Master of Public Health degree. In his free time he enjoys listening to podcasts and exploring nature with his wife.

Samantha Shumate

March 14, 2020 01:35 PM
Samantha Shumate is an Environmental Science undergraduate from Sherman, Texas.

Kirsten Steele

September 22, 2022 11:40 AM
Kirsten is an undergrad studying Mechanical Engineering. She wants to be a real scientist when she grows up. She enjoys biking as a mode of ‘long’ distance travel, rollerblading in random parking lots and/or along the provo river, playing with electronics and reading Brandon Sanderson or psychology books.

Dion Tapahe

April 25, 2020 12:02 PM
Dion Tapahe is a senior majoring in Environmental Science and minoring in American Indian Studies.

Katy Thomas

January 24, 2022 02:24 PM
Katy is an undergrad studying Environmental science and minoring in Business and Urban and Regional Planning. She hopes to help cities and companies become more sustainable through planning and consulting. In her free time she likes to read books, play video games and cook. She hopes to make a difference by making the world a little bit better than it was before.

Nathan Thompson

September 14, 2021 11:43 AM
Nathan is an undergraduate from Rexburg, Idaho studying Environmental Science and Sustainability. He has a passion for outdoor recreation and helping others get involved in those types of activities (backcountrybasics.org). He cares deeply for the environment and hopes to help everyone to become better stewards of this beautiful world.

Megan White

September 22, 2022 11:31 AM
Megan is an undergraduate student at BYU studying Environmental Science and Sustainability with a minor in music. In the future, she hopes to work as a sustainability counselor and help large cities transition to renewable energy sources. She enjoys reading, drawing, sewing, cooking, making music, and anything to do with the outdoors.

Heidi Wilding Mann - Lab Manager

September 22, 2022 11:09 AM
Heidi Wilding Mann is the lab manager in the Abbott Lab. She is a Senior studying Environmental Science and Sustainability. Heidi loves to stay busy (sometimes too busy!) and her passions include learning, teaching, and watching Survivor! She has a specific interest in ecology and would like to get masters and doctorate degrees in this field.

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Today we are faced with a challenge that calls for a shift in our thinking, so that humanity stops threatening its life-support system. We are called to assist the Earth to heal her wounds and in the process heal our own—indeed to embrace the whole of creation in all its diversity, beauty and wonder. Recognizing that sustainable development, democracy and peace are indivisible is an idea whose time has come
WANGARI MAATHAI
Environmental Science & Sustainability in the News
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Air pollution costs Utahns billions annually and shortens life expectancy by two years

November 18, 2020 09:13 AM
New study led by ESS undergraduate Isabella Errigo reveals the cost of air pollution for Utahns’ health and pocketbooks
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BYU researchers help test wastewater for COVID-19 infection rates in Utah

May 18, 2020 09:58 PM
ESS professor Zach Aanderud and his team of students use cutting-edge molecular methods to track COVID-19 in municipal wastewater.
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How You Can Have a Positive Impact on the Climate Change Emergency

November 23, 2020 07:20 AM
COVID-19 isn’t the only worldwide emergency affecting billions of people—climate change continues to threaten us with devastating implications. Here are some ways to help.
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Studying climate change at opposite ends of the Earth

ESS undergraduate Natasha Griffin has presented at conferences in Europe, ridden in a helicopter and visited both the North and South Poles to figure out how humans are affecting the Earth.
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The price of air pollution

We all know intuitively that polluted air isn't good for our bodies or communities, but just how much is air pollution costing us? ESS undergraduates and faculty led a statewide study to answer just that.
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Influencing Environmental Change from Iran to Utah

April 08, 2020 10:36 AM
ESS PhD student Sara Sayedi wanted to use science to improve policy in her home country of Iran, but politics limited her work in the public arena. Now at BYU, she is influencing policy at a global scale.
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After a mega fire: how waterways are impacted by wildfires

BYU team investigates ecosystem resilience to wildfire, linking plants, streams, climate, and society
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Tree Heart Attacks: Aspen Clones Dying

Professor Sam St. Clair from the Environmental Science & Sustainability program takes the vitals of one of North America's keystone tree species.
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How environmental justice affects all of us

June 24, 2021 12:30 PM
Environmental degradation harms every individual by causing pervasive decline of life on Earth, but it doesn’t impact everyone to the same degree. ESS professor Ben Abbott shares three ways to improve your understanding on how environmental justice affects you and your community.
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Saving the world's water (and humans) one little stream at a time

January 16, 2018 10:00 PM
ESS professor Ben Abbott presents a new tool to fight nutrient pollution. Streams can be “sensors” of ecosystem health, allowing both improved water quality and food production.

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Fighting bad air quality with ... dance?

September 11, 2018 10:00 PM
Dance professor Keely Song and ESS professor Ben Abbott teamed up to promote BYU's free UTA passes to students, employees, and their families.
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Dr. Gary Booth: A Lifelong Legacy

July 03, 2020 03:29 PM
While at BYU, Dr. Gary Booth taught a wide range of subjects. Students and faculty alike appreciated Booth and his impact on the college.
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BYU analysis of 115+ studies: Masks powerful & cost-effective in combating COVID-19

July 23, 2020 09:56 AM
After reading 115 studies on COVID-19, ESS faculty and students published non-technical report on the effectiveness of masks at slowing the spread.
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Why are aspen dying?

June 27, 2013 10:00 PM
If Utah’s quaking aspen appear to be quaking more than usual this summer, the trees have reason to tremble, says a Brigham Young University biologist. In dappled forests across the West, aspen trees are battling deadly killers from heat stroke to bud-nipping predators to tree “heart attacks.”
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Permafrost Collapse and the Global Ecosystem

March 17, 2020 11:10 AM
ESS professor Ben Abbott co-authored a study in Nature on the permafrost climate feedback. Working with an international team, he found that abrupt permafrost collapse could double carbon release.
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Water cycle diagrams are giving us a false sense of water security

June 10, 2019 10:00 PM
A new study in Nature Geoscience led by ESS professor and students found that the global water cycle is incorrect even in modern papers and textbooks. 85% of diagrams show no people, despite human domination of water at a global scale.
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Plant & Wildlife Sciences Across the Map

June 29, 2020 02:18 PM
Professors and students from Environmental Science & Sustainability lead research projects from Antarctica to Alaska.
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Study finds bedrock is teeming with microorganisms protecting water quality

February 03, 2019 10:00 PM
The solution to nutrient pollution could be right below out feet. Literally. New study reveals the active and dynamic world of groundwater microbes.
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Interdependence and Stewardship: Piecing Together Humanity’s Relationship with the Earth

By Carlee Reber
June 05, 2019 01:06 PM
Will we show up in the geologic record in millions of years? The Anthropocene suggests the answer is yes: collective human impact on the environment will leave a definitive mark in future bedrock.
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