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Update from Sustainability Studies Students in Graduate School

Kathryn Norman and Shannon Grogan attended the 46th annual Benthic Ecology Conference in Myrtle Beach, SC on the weekend of April 14th where they both presented posters on their research. They were so surprised to find out that they were presenting next to each other!  They offered the following updates about their lives after graduating Stony Brook University:
We wanted to reach out and let you know we’d run into each other to give you updates on our careers post graduation, since we both owe our success in grad school to our start as Seawolves.

Both Shannon and I were coastal studies majors and graduated in 2015. We’ve both since moved on to attend graduate school and are in research based Master’s programs. I’m currently working towards a Master’s in Biology at George Washington University in the lab of Dr. Keryn Gedan. In my research I use GIS to study how blue carbon varies across spatial gradients in Mid Atlantic tidal salt marshes. Specifically, I’m looking at how elevation, vegetation composition, and salinity might impact soil carbon storage.

Shannon is now also a Master’s student at University of South Florida working in the lab of Dr. Susan Bell studying impacts to mangrove propagule dispersal.

EDP Student Examines the 2016 Election

In Dr. Jim Quigley‘s SBC 308 – American Environmental Politics course, students are tasked to compose a 500 word Op-Ed.  Soo Hyun Ahn, a Junior Environmental Design, Policy and Planning student in the class, chose to write his essay on the environmental effects of a Donald Trump presidency:


2016 has been a year of multitudes of shocking political incidents across the globe. To name a few, Britain’s Brexit triggered the initiation followed by the ongoing scandal of South Korea’s President Park Geun-hye and lastly, the result of the United States’ Presidential Election.


As an international student studying American environmental politics, and as an individual who values philosophy and morality, Donald Trump’s win during this presidential election was a devastating result for me. As many of the Americans and public all around the world has seen during Trump’s election campaigns and in the presidential debates, words that come out from his mouth are not appropriate, which now seems to be only a personal thought.


A shift in the power from a president who has been constantly concerned in fighting against climate change, a president whom we could peek at his decency and virtue by listening to his speech to a president who does not hesitate in name-calling, who triggers people’s hate over one another and finally a president who calls climate change is a “hoax invented by the Chinese”, we are able to conjecture at what his policies regarding the environment may be in the near future.


According to Donald Trump’s official website in the energy category, there was no sign of any information about renewable energy. Two bullet pointed statements had caught my attention; “Unleash America’s $50 trillion in untapped shale, oil, and natural gas reserves, plus hundreds of years in clean coal reserves”. Hydraulic fracturing is infamous for contaminating groundwater with the toxic chemicals that are used during the fracking process. It was somewhat interesting to see how he is solely engrossed in creating new jobs.


Second statement writes as “Rescind all job-destroying Obama executive actions. Mr. Trump will reduce and eliminate all barriers to responsible energy production, creating at least a half million jobs a year, $30 billion in higher wages, and cheaper energy”. Disseminating and presenting policies implemented by President Obama’s administration as job-destroying undoubtedly proves that environmental protection is far behind in the priorities list for Mr. Trump.


We still have to see with our own eyes about what is going to happen with America when Mr. Trump’s administration takes its place in the White House, which means that we still have hopes as of now. However, there were people saying how practical he is and how he keeps his words inevitably worries me. My view about this country was that it has a lot of great potential, power and influence over the world. As with the energy policies, Mr. Obama’s effort to bring the world together for a more progressive way towards the utilization of renewable energy showed how United States was concerned with environmental protection and sustainability, and the responsibility that falls on us in minimizing environmental impacts for the next generations.


If Mr. Trump is to remove all the progressive policies that are already implemented by President Obama and America takes its steps going backward to loving conventional and unconventional fossil fuels, we may get to the point where there is no turning back where global temperature rises as with the sea levels, and many more catastrophes that we cannot predict and anticipate will come as consequences of being indifferent and neglecting the fact that climate change is real.

Sustainability Studies Alum Presents Undergraduate GIS Project at ESRI Conference

From Justin Fehntrich, Coastal Environmental Studies, 2016 alum

Last fall while taking an introductory GIS course here at Stony Brook I produced a final research project that I was pretty happy with. So when I received an email from ESRI (Environmental Systems Research Institute), the provider of the GIS software used in the class, about submitting an abstract to potentially present my project at their 2016 Oceans GIS Forum in Southern California, I was confident enough with my project that I sent a submission with the “what do I have to lose!?” attitude.


Well, about a month later, I received an email that my abstract had been accepted and I was being invited to speak at the conference. After working out some logistics, I found myself at the ESRI headquarters in Redlands California (abut an hour east of Los Angeles) attended amazing lectures on the most cutting edge oceans research projects to date. Naturally I was pretty nervous presenting my undergraduate research project from an introductory GIS course to an audience of PhDs, post docs and industry professionals, but I came to realize that the crowd was so diverse that my little project held its own with all the pros. After my presentation, I even received some compliments from professionals in the EPA and NOAA. This was such a great experience and I would give the advice to just go with your instinct and apply for anything and everything that you find interesting that comes your way. You never know where it may lead!

Coffee with Hx2: Kristen Iversen

Join Heidi Hutner in this interview with Kristen Iversen; author of the acclaimed book, Full Body Burden. They discuss Full Body Burden, a nonfiction investigative memoir about Rocky Flats, a plutonium factory (nuclear weapons) in Colorado.

Coffee with Hx2: Ellen Weininger

Join us in this interview with Ellen Weininger; Director Educational Outreach at Grassroots Environmental Education.

Coffee with Hx2: Courtney Williams

Join Heidi Hutner in this interview with Courtney Williams; cancer researcher who brings over a decade of experience and the molecular mechanisms of disease to parse the emerging data on the health and environmental impacts of shale gas development.

Coffee with Hx2: Dr. John Warner

Join Heidi Hutner in this interview with Dr.John Warner; Green Chemist, about the need for “safe” and non-toxic green chemistry, and safe products. He calls for the re-education of chemistry students and scholars, so that they design and create products with precaution and safety in mind–first and foremost.

Join us in part 2 of John Warner’s interview where he engages in a Q&A with Stony Brook students.

See more episodes of Coffee with Hx2 at:…

Coffee with Hx2: Wahleah Johns

Join Heidi Hutner in this interview with Wahleah Jones; employee of Black Mesa Water Coalition, a nonprofit organization working toward building healthy and sustainable communities on Navajo Nation and across the southwest.

Coffee with Hx2: Colin Beavan

Join us in this interview with Colin Beavan; the world’s best known spokespeople on environmental issues, consumerism and human quality of life. He was called “one of the ten most influential men” by MSN, an “eco-illuminator” by Elle Magazine, a “best green ambassador” by, and his blog was selected as one of the top 15 environmental blogs by Time Magazine.

Coffee with Hx2: Antonia Juhasz

Join Heidi Hutner in this interview with Antonia Juhasz; leading energy analyst, author, and investigative journalist specializing in oil. An award-winning writer, her articles appear in Newsweek, Rolling Stone, Harper’s Magazine, The Atlantic,, The Nation, Ms., The Advocate, and more.

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