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Environmental Studies

Student Research

Jessie Turner '13 Helps To Save the Clams
Psi U Fellow summer 2012 with Friends of Casco Bay


This past summer Jessie Turner, Class 2013, received a Psi Upsilon Fellowship from Bowdoin’s Environmental Studies Department to work with Friends of Casco Bay. Friends of Casco Bay is an independent, community-based non-profit that uses scientific evidence for change to improve and protect the environmental health of Casco Bay …

A History of Environmental Studies
Independent Study Project by Erica Berry & Walt Wuthmann, ES/Englsih majors


To mark the 40th year of Bowdoin’s Environmental Studies program, juniors Erica Berry and Walter Wuthmann teamed up last semester to research the College’s history of environmentalism. They found that this history correlates with a national trend over the past four decades of Americans assuming a greater sense of environmental responsibility, as well as engaging in more urgent questioning of what makes education relevant and effective. Berry and Wuthmann, who are both English and E.S. majors, describe environmentalism at Bowdoin as “a story of how influential students, professors, and administrators responded to national trends with the constant intent to create a program that could effectively prepare students to face the most pressing question of the modern era: how can humanity inhabit this world without completely degrading and destroying the very resources we depend upon for life?” While they originally started out just trying to establish a chronological history of the College’s environmental studies program in advance of a departmental review, both students said they quickly became curious about the program’s origins …

David Bruce: Watson Fellowship Recipient


Congratulations to David Bruce, Class 2013, an ES and Econ major who is a 2013 recipient of the Watson Fellowship!   The Thomas J. Watson Fellowship offers college graduates of "unusual promise" a year of independent, purposeful exploration and travel -- in international settings new to them -- to enhance their capacity for resourcefulness, imagination, openness, and leadership and to foster their humane and effective participation in the world community. David's project is titled "Vulnerability and Resilience: Depicting Coastal Cities in the Face of Environmental Disaster."  His proposal will takes him to seven cities in five different countries (Argentina, Netherlands, Thailand, India, New Zealand), both developed and developing …

Erica Berry '14 Wins Udall Scholarship


Congratulations Erica Berry! Berry ’14 is one of just 50 college sophomores and juniors around the country who has been named a 2013 Udall Scholar. One of the criteria for students receiving the $5,000 Udall scholarship is a commitment to the environment. Berry, an English and environmental studies major, describes in her Udall application that she strives to “write narrative nonfiction about the intersections between the ever-shifting environment and humanity.” She points out that scientific developments on their own can be futile in prompting action …

Students Map Possibilities For A Better Future


Introduction to GIS students present maps to local professionals, Fall 2012

At the Capital and in the woods, students champion the environment


The Nature Conservancy's 2013 Bowdoin interns Dan Lipkowitz and Emma Chow Story by Rebecca Goldfine Though they are just interns, Emma Chow and Dan Lipkowitz have already seen their contributions making an impact on Maine’s environment. This summer, the two students have fellowships from Bowdoin’s Environmental Studies program to work at The Nature Conservancy’s field office in Brunswick. “The first week we got there, they immediately threw us into the mix,” Lipkowitz said …

David Bruce '13 sees future of urban design
David is an ES/Econ major


photo credit: Urban Lab webpage Sam “David” Bruce ‘13 is taking advantage of a new Bowdoin fellowship to gain experience in the imaginative field of sustainable architecture and urban design. This summer he is helping to fashion cutting-edge buildings and infrastructure that could one day recycle resources, reduce waste and cut pollution. Bruce is the first recipient of the Cooke fellowship, established last year by Chester W …

Ecological and Economic Recovery of the Kennebec and Androscoggin rivers, estuary, and nearshore marine environment
Danny Lowinger, '12 Environmental Studies and Economics


Ecological and Economic Recovery of the Kennebec and Androscoggin rivers, estuary, and nearshore marine environment Danny Lowinger '12 was awarded a fellowship, summer 2011  to work with faculty and other students from Bowdoin, Bates and the University of Southern Maine on "Maine Rivers, Estuaries and Coastal Fisheries," a project funded by the National Science Foundation’s Office of Experimental Program to Stimulate Competitive Research (ESPCoR) through a grant to the University of Maine's Sustainability Solutions Initiative. Danny's project abstract:The Kennebec and Androscoggin Rivers in Maine provide a variety of ecosystem services, such as commercial and recreational fishing, boating and hydropower. Historically, alewives traveled upstream on the rivers to spawn, while supporting a commercial inshore cod fishery …

Leah Wang Creates Trail Guide to Lure Students Outside


Within minutes of walking off campus, Bowdoin students can be sitting in an old-growth pine forest or watching ducks from a small footbridge. But too often, distracted by their academic work or the myriad activities happening on campus, they don’t get outside to explore. Leah Wang ’12, an environmental studies and economics major, is trying to change this and broaden students’ natural history experience …

Scientists for a Day at Merrymeeting Bay
ES 101 Students Conduct Research


This past weekend, I went to Merrymeeting Bay with my classmates and the professors of Introduction to Environmental Studies to conduct research. On a beautiful Sunday morning, we started our day off with breakfast in the Environmental Studies Common Room in Adams Hall and a short presentation about what we would do for the remainder of the day …

Students Research Coastal Vulnerability in Maine


In the fall of 2010, seven students participated in an independent study that helped develop a methodology for assessing the vulnerability of coastal structures to global climate change in order to make informed decisions for adaptation.

Psi Upsilon and Community Matters in Maine Summer Poster Symposium
Summer fellows present research findings


Community Matters in Maine, Poster Symposium, Summer 2011 Bowdoin students are learning that community service and environmental stewardship are dual paths that often cross. The intersections of these journeys have provided rich learning opportunities for students involved in the Community Matters in Maine Summer Fellowship and Psi Upsilon Environmental Fellowship programs, coordinated by the the Joseph McKeen Center for the Common Good and Environmental Studies Program. Sixteen fellows working with numerous organizations from Portland to Augusta recently showcased their work through posters and brief presentations in Maine Lounge, Moulton Union. …

Grace Hodge: A Psi Upsilon Fellow for Land Conservation
Grace is an ES/History major


Crystal Spring Farm: A Brunswick-Topsham Land Trust Property Grace Hodge ’13 says if you’re aware of environmental issues, it’s hard not to feel a sense of responsibility to take some action. Which is exactly what she’s committed to doing. Hodge is one of several Bowdoin students this summer who received a Community Matters in Maine Psi Upsilon Fellowship through the McKeen Center for the Common Good and Environmental Studies department …

Charlie Cubeta uses data to help a struggling city
Charlie is an ES/Government major and an Economics minor


Photo credit: Data Driven Detroit, Census 2000-2010 mapping tool Last fall (2012), Charlie Cubeta ’13 traveled for four months with the study-abroad program, IHP: Cities in the 21st Century, visiting four far-flung cities: Detroit, Sao Paulo, Cape Town and Hanoi. In Detroit, Cubeta was introduced to Kurt Metzger, “an experienced demographer and mini-celebrity among Detroit professionals,” Cubeta says, who directs a nonprofit called Data Driven Detroit. Inspired by Metzger’s mission, Cubeta received a fellowship from the Preston Public Interest Career Fund to work for “D3″ this summer …

Psi U Summer 2011 Fellowship


Community Matters in Maine Psi Upsilon Environmental Fellowship applications are now available on line. 

Katy Shaw '11 - Ten Years of the Psi Upsilon Environmental Fellowship Program
Class 2011


Katy Shaw ’11 spent her summer as a Psi Upsilon fellow working for the Maine League of Conservation Voters in 2009. Through her fellowship, she strengthened her research skills and developed a greater familiarity with how to interpret and analyze legislation …

ES Fellowship Deadline is NEXT WEEK!

Every year, the Environmental Studies department promotes its summer fellowships to Bowdoin students hoping to engage with non-profits, firms, and municipal offices to gain hands-on experience within the environmental field. The Sustainability and Environmental Justice Fellowships allow students to work at an off campus location of choice, while the Community Matters in Maine program places students in positions at pre-selected, local organizations. Additionally, students interested in conducting community- based research have the option of applying for the Cooke Fellowship, a compelling opportunity to explore an environmentally focused interest at a location of choice. These three competitive fellowship programs allow students to explore the various trajectories of environment-related careers, be they in government, non-profits, private enterprise, or scientific sectors …

Two Students Bring Environmental Justice Debate To Bowdoin
Interview By Rebecca Goldfine, Photo credit: Alternatives for Community & Envrionment (ACE) webpage: "Residents defeat Ethanol train proposal", and ACE Jobs Rally.


This February, Alithea McFarlane '14 and Courtney Payne '15 organized an event designed to explore the meaning of the Environmental Justice movement. The day-long event, held at the Schwartz Outdoor Leadership Center, hosted a panel of 15 experts, including professors, alumni, and outside speakers who collectively addressed three main topics: conservation politics, environmental health, and empowering future generations …

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The Environmental Studies Program encourages majors to consider independent research projects or an honors project as part of their academic program. Projects can be an extension of work begun in an ES seminar course.

Completed Honors Projects

Environmental Studies Honors Project Guidelines

An Honors Project in Environmental Studies provides students with an opportunity to engage in interdisciplinary research and analysis. ES students should elect an Environmental Studies Honors Project if they have an interest in an area that is interdisciplinary in nature and the topic of their project cannot be addressed through their departmental major. The Environmental Studies program expects that honors projects require more than one semester of research and writing in an Advanced Independent Study in ES (ES 4000-4003). For those students graduating in December, they should start the honors project in the spring of their junior year.

The ES Honor Project committees are comprised of at least two ES faculty members. Selection of the faculty committee is the responsibility of the faculty advisor and the ES Program Director. The format of the ES Honors Program will be developed by the faculty committee to reflect the focus of the student's research interest. Students who are interested in an Honors Project must have a GPA of at least 3.0 in ES courses by the spring of their junior year or approval of the ES Program Director.


In early September, Honors candidates should register for ES 401 and have selected a faculty advisor.

By the middle of September, Honors candidates should submit a proposal for review by the faculty committee that includes the following: statement of problem, significance of problem, analytical and theoretical framework, expected results, a description of the question that the student is researching, an outline for the paper, and a description of other project components. The proposal should include a preliminary bibliography of primary and secondary sources.

At the beginning of October, all Environmental Studies faculty and all Honors candidates will meet to hear each candidate speak briefly about his or her Honors Project proposal. Copies of the proposals will have been distributed prior to the meeting to ES faculty. ES faculty will respond with suggestions for ways of improving or sharpening the candidate's approach to the subject. Advisors will meet with candidates after the presentation to discuss the program faculty's suggestions.

By the end of fall semester, the Honors candidate should submit a draft of the first chapter or section to his or her Honors committee and have completed a literature review and discussion of methods.

By the second Monday in February, the Honors candidate should submit a draft of the next substantive section (or chapter) of the project.

By the week before March break, the student should submit a draft of all substantive sections (or chapters) of the project.

By the first Monday in April, the Honors candidate will hand in a completed draft of the project. During the month of April, the Honors candidate will revise the project. Soon after these drafts have been read by the advisory committee, the Honors candidate and committee will meet to review the project to ensure that satisfactory progress has been made up to this point.

The Honors candidate will follow the schedule as set by the Office of Student Records for submission of a final copy to the ES program and two copies to the library.

During the reading period, the Honors candidate will provide an oral presentation to the ES faculty committee for approval. During senior week, after approval, all ES Honors students will present their Honors Projects to ES faculty, students and invited guests.


Each Honors candidate's faculty committee will evaluate the Honors Project based upon quality of research, writing, originality of topic, effective use of primary materials (as appropriate), and completeness.