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Students interested in the earth science track of the environmental science major have the opportunity to prepare themselves for careers with government agencies, industry, academia, and non-governmental organizations through formal course work and participation in research projects dealing with the atmospheric, geologic, and hydrologic aspects of our planet and its resources. Housed in the recently renovated Lennon Hall, the Environmental Sciences program is surrounded by state-of-the-art classrooms, data analysis and visualization facilities, and laboratories. Faculty and students affiliated with the program have the ability to observe and analyze various earth processes and materials using inductively coupled plasma atomic emission spectroscopy (ICPAES), ion chromatography, x-ray diffraction, laser particle size analyzer, BET surface area analyzer, portable radiosonde, automated weather station, and ground water monitoring wells.
Faculty interested in earth sciences have undertaken research projects dealing with local, regional, national, and global issues. They include evaluating anthropogenic effects on wetlands, compiling the Quarternary Geologic Map of the Holley Quadrangle, studying the effect of anions on heavy metal desorption from clay minerals, determining levels of and identifying locations of nutrient loss from watersheds, examining the cycling of heavy metals and nutrients in an urban wetland system, modeling lake-effect snow, studying the water level fluctuations on the Great Lakes, examining the evolution of the Holocene Mississippi River floodplain, probing the soil formation in the lower Mississippi River, and diagnosing feedback mechanisms of the climate system. Undergraduate students have actively participated in many of these research projects. Governmental agencies such as the National Science Foundation, National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, Soil and Water Conservation Districts, and United States Geological Survey and other private organizations have supported many of these research projects. In addition, paid and unpaid internship opportunities with governmental agencies and private enterprises are available to students.
After graduating, qualified students have gained employment with the National Weather Service, United States Geological Survey, United States National Park Service, and other private companies. By properly tailoring their studies, many motivated students have succeeded in getting admission to graduate studies at places such as Texas A & M, Pennsylvania State and Oklahoma Universities.