SNSM blog imageThe Mount is known for bringing people together from all over the world and aiding to establish lifelong friendships. Many of us will stay in contact with those we have made relationships with during our time here, however very few of us can picture writing, editing, and publishing a research paper with someone we have encountered at the Mount. None the less, for Dana Bunnell-Young (C’10) and Timothy Rosen (C’09), this would come true.

Post-graduation, Dana and Timothy pursued different paths. With the help of her coursework, research experience, and degree in Environmental Science from the Mount, Dana was accepted as a graduate assistant at the University of Maryland Center for Environmental Science. She had to move to Cambridge, Maryland to do her graduate work at the Horn Point Laboratory. She is now finishing up her dissertation research investigating methane and nitrogen in groundwater. During her graduate studies, Dana worked part-time as an adjunct instructor at Chesapeake College, teaching Fundamentals of Biology and Physical Science. Dana has also gotten married, to another Mount alum, and they have a two-year-old son, Miles. This paper is Dana’s first publication, as well as her first time as first author.

Timothy also owes a lot of his post-graduation success to the Mount. His time as a lab aid to Dr. Simmons, as well as working with Dr. Staiger on his honors thesis, led to him graduating from the Mount with a degree in Biology, and being awarded the Coastal Science Assistantship Program fellowship with the School of Renewable Natural Resources at Louisiana State University. It was here that Timothy completed his Master’s degree in watershed hydrology. He interned with Louisiana Department of Natural Resources Coastal Protection and Restoration Authority. Timothy also has four papers published where he is the first author. Timothy now works as the watershed scientist and agricultural outreach specialist at Midshore Riverkeeper Conservancy (MRC) in Easton, MD.

During their time at the Mount, Dana and Timothy only crossed paths momentarily. Both alums worked as lab aides under Dr. Simmons in his environmental lab. It would not be until years after graduating from the Mount that the two would cross paths again to be two of five authors to write Dynamics of nitrate and methane in shallow groundwater following land use conversion from agricultural grain production to conservation easement, published in Volume 248 of the science journal “Agricultural, Ecosystems & Environment.”

Dana’s graduate advisor, Dr. Thomas Fisher, is a member of the advisory board at MRC and was asked to participate on a project investigating nitrogen levels in groundwater on a local property, leading him to recruit her. Timothy was also placed on the project. The two went out monthly for a year to gather groundwater samples, and then worked to write the paper. In their study, they looked at nitrogen and methane levels in groundwater below a former agricultural property. They installed groundwater sampling wells in areas of the property. This provided them with a chronosequence of groundwater nitrogen and methane levels over the past sixteen years. Excess nitrogen is a concern for water quality in the Chesapeake. This study shows that conservation practices can help reduce nitrogen releases to local streams, but some of these practices may also release the greenhouse gas methane to the atmosphere.

We encourage you to learn more about Dana and Timothy’s research.