School of Natural Science and Mathematics
Environmental Science Undergraduate Research
Karine Posbic (right), counts tiny hairs on the surface of the leaves of Wisconsin Fast Plants, while Dr. Bolen records the data.
There are many opportunities for undergraduate research in environmental science at Mount St. Mary's, both on and off campus. On campus, you may conduct research with one of our environmental science faculty members.
Dr. Jeff Simmons studies the impact of water pollution on streams and lakes. Recently he published a paper documenting the harmful effects on streams of acid mine drainage from coal mining. He is also involved in projects investigating the broader impacts of coal mining on watersheds and the use of streamside buffer zones to reduce nutrient and bacterial pollution in streams. Dr. Simmons is a member of a regional network of ecologists (funded by the National Science Foundation) that is developing online, educational materials in watershed ecology.
Dr. Rosie Bolen is a behavioral ecologist who has studied foraging behavior in New World monkeys and gray squirrels. Currently she is studying the role of herbivory in the evolution of plant defenses. She has also supervised projects at Strawberry Hill Nature Preserve examining the impact of deer browsing on forest regeneration, and the role of squirrels in acorn dispersal and oak regeneration.
Dr. Mike Epstein is a chemist with over 30 years of experience in the use of analytical instrumentation for the measurement of environmental toxins. He has supervised student projects dealing with toxic metals in paint, soil, fly ash and dust, and radon in building air. He oversees the department's analytical instrumentation, which includes gas chromatography/mass spectrometry, gas chromatography/flame ionization; high performance liquid chromatography, and atomic absorption spectrometry.
Faculty members are also willing to supervise projects in other areas of environmental science according to student interest.
Students may also gain undergraduate research credit for working with a researcher off campus (e.g., at one of the sites listed for internships, or at another university or field site during the summer). For example, this summer a student will travel to Panama to study sexual selection in tree frogs. Contact Dr. Bolen or Dr. Simmons for more information.