By Martha Henderson, Director.

Spring Quarter is always a promising time of year on campus. Students, faculty and staff are all working at full capacity and then some!  First year students are now full candidates for a master’s degree having successfully passed the Winter Quarter core program in environmental sustainability. The Spring Quarter core program, Research Design and Quantitative Methods, is never an easy class. Three faculty members, Carri LeRoy, Kevin Francis and Greg Stewart, are facilitating the core program. Under Carri’s leadership, past students have actually claimed that the program became their favorite, so there is always something new to learn about research methods! Many of the students are already beginning to define their thesis research and determine data collection protocols.

Second year students are in the middle of thesis research and writing. It’s been my pleasure to work with them as a group. I am very thankful for their commitment to complete the program and earn their degrees. I look forward to thesis presentations at the end of the quarter. Every student is working on research that has direct impacts on better environmental management and decision-making. The presentations are open to the public and will be in late May/early June. Information on the exact day, time and place will be widely advertised. Please consider joining us for these research presentations.

Thesis presentations

An MES student presents his thesis to a captive audience.

April also brings together two important program events. Applicants admitted for Fall 2014 are invited to campus for the MES Admitted Student Afternoon on April 24. This year, the event is being combined with the annual Rachel Carson Forum, a day to celebrate our program matron saint. The forum is being planned by the first year students and promises to be an informative evening. This event is also open to the public.

Prospective students hear from Martha Henderson at Admitted Students Day in 2013

Prospective students hear from Martha Henderson at the first Admitted Students Day in 2013.

Admitted Students Day will also be especially exciting this year. Kevin Francis, the incoming Director, has already taken on major leadership by hiring exciting new faculty and bringing them to campus for the event. The program welcomes back Erin Martin, Dina Roberts, Kathleen Saul, Peter Dorman and a new faculty member, Shangrila Wynn who will teach climate justice. I am especially glad to see the focus on climate by all of these faculty members. Climate change and its impacts on social and natural environments will only continue to rise in importance for current and future students. When events like the recent landslide in northern Washington, the loss of the Washington shellfish industry to ocean acidification, and increasing impacts on mountainous ecosystems become more obvious, understanding the role of climate change from an interdisciplinary perspective is crucial. MES is already preparing graduates to meet the new challenges of the 21st century.

Thank you for your interest and support of MES.