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Environmental Studies Program Student Profiles

picture of CassidyCassidy Lum (Graduated 2010)
I decided to do the EVS degree during my third year in college. It allowed me to design my own major around Marine Life Conservation. I was already working as a student aquarist at the Waikiki Aquarium, so it fit in well with my interests. I had also begun to volunteer at a couple of NOAA facilities dealing with the endangered Hawaiian Monk Seal, where I later chose to do my Environmental Practicum. That class allowed me to see all the different types of environmental programs on Oahu, both marine-related and land-based. After I graduated with my EVS degree in 2010, I applied for a summer position with Hawaii Youth Conservation Corps (HYCC), who provides hands-on environmental opportunities all over the state. That summer, I worked with Papahana Kuaola, NARS, Kaneohe MCB, and KIRC to name a few. It was such a learning experienced that opened my eyes to the many opportunities available. I enjoyed HYCC's summer program so much that I applied for the year-round internship, which landed me my internship with Reef Watch Waikiki, a UHM Sea Grant College program. I have learned so much, it truly is my dream job! The majority of my duties include snorkeling and conducting reef surveys of fish, coral, and algae, along with improving community outreach and education. Where I go after my internship ends I don't know, but I do know that there are a lot of opportunities to use my EVS degree. My advice to anyone seeking an EVS degree is to meet as many professionals as you can and volunteer your time with organizations that interest you so that you can build a strong resume. I gained all of my positions through my experience and the contacts that I listed on my resume. In the environmental world, who you know and who you've worked with makes a world of difference.

Ilana Nimz (Graduated 2010)
A Fall 2010 graduate of the EVS program, my interests are geared towards marine conservation biology and protected areas with a concentration on marine and terrestrial linkages. During my time in university, I went on a study abroad to Kobe, Japan to improve my Japanese speaking skills and spent a year on exchange in Dunedin, New Zealand taking science courses to get experience in an environment different to Hawai‘i. My IS 489 internship was with the NOAA Hawaiian Monk Seal Research Program working with data and photos from seals in the main Hawaiian islands. Involvement with this program and previous experience in the Hawaii Youth Conservation Corps led to spending a summer on Kure Atoll with the Department of Land and Natural Resources working to eradicate invasive plant species, remove marine debris and monitor the wildlife populations on the island. Prior to graduating, I completed a paper that has since been submitted to an editor for potential publishing about integrating marine and terrestrial protected areas. Following graduation from the EVS program, I have started my first and current position through NOAA as an assistant biological field technician on Kure Atoll monitoring the Hawaiian Monk Seal population.

picture of russellRussell Auwae (Graduated 2010)
Although he has a broad background in environmental studies, Russell has chosen to focus on soil ecology and biogeochemistry. He is most interested in how invasive species impact carbon and nitrogen dynamics in soils. He has participated in two National Science Foundation funded Research Experience for Undergraduate Programs, which have influenced him to pursue his current field of study. Russell has given presentations at UH Hilo, the Cary Institute of Ecosystem Studies, Colorado State University, Oklahoma University, and the Ecological Society of America annual meeting. His hard work and dedication to the field of ecology has rewarded him with full funding to pursue a Ph.D. in Ecology, Evolution and Environmental Biology at Miami University in Oxford, OH. There he will be working with microbial ecologist, Dr. Melany Fisk, studying the impact of soil freezing on carbon and nitrogen dynamics.

Jessie Cohen (Graduated 2009)
picture of JessieInterested in environmental issues and sustainability, as well as socioeconomic and cultural issues across the Pacific, Jessie chose the EVS program due to its flexibility to accommodate her individual goals and interests. She graduated with Honors and is a member of the Phi Beta Kappa Society and the Golden Key International Honors Society. After graduation, Jessie volunteered at the Honolulu Zoo and interned at Environet, Inc., a local environmental engineering and consulting firm. After a six month internship, Jessie was offered a full-time position at Environet as an Environmental Scientist. Shortly thereafter, her proposal and grant writing skills learned from IS 489 were put to good use. She began assisting the Business Development department writing proposals in response to solicitations from Federal, State, and County clients. With the award of multiple contracts in Hawai‘i and across the Pacific, Environet, Inc. has not only become one of the largest locally-owned environmental engineering and consulting firms in Hawaii, but has also expanded its services to include construction and has opened offices on Guam and the U.S. Mainland. Jessie is now the Pacific Regional Proposal Manager at Environet.

picture of drewDrew Farwell (Graduated 2011)
Drew helped plan Earth Day 2011 and would like to see it become more than just a bazaar of green goods but rather a community event. One of the best times Drew had as an EVS student was traveling to Hana, Maui after Earth Day 2010. With 4 EVS students, they drove the Hana highway, helped build a hale, went to the East Maui Taro Festival and learned about taro. The last day was spent in Kipahulu planting taro and learning about sustainable gardening. After graduating, Drew left for Latin America to learn more about ecotourism.


Lauren Goodmiller
(Graduated 2006)
picture of laurenAfter graduating from the EVS program in 2006, Lauren spent that summer working on a sustainable farm in the Galapagos Islands. Upon returning to Hawai‘i she took a position at Waimea Valley doing environmental education, all while volunteering on Midway Atoll in the Northwestern Hawaiian Islands doing seabird surveys and native plant propagation, on Kahoolawe doing erosion control, and in Hakalau National Wildlife Refuge doing native out planting and clearing of non-native vegetation. Her next position was with Oahu Army Natural Resource Program where she hiked, camped, and rode in a helicopter to remote areas to perform native plant surveys, native out planting, invasive weed and predator control, and fence building. Lauren has worked as a legislative aid to Representative Cynthia Thielen, helping to advance renewable energy and natural resource bills. She currently works at the Department of Land and Natural Resources Division of Forestry and Wildlife where she assists with the application of Hawai‘i's endangered species law via numerous Habitat Conservation Plans throughout the State, as well as assisting with endangered species legislation. Lauren is a law student at the UHM William S. Richardson School of Law attending the evening program and pursuing an Environmental Law Certificate.

picture of danielaDaniela Checinski (Graduated 2006)
The UHM EVS program provided what she considers a cutting edge education. The program also gave her the opportunity to develop relationships with professionals working in the field, and exposed her to many community-based projects where she gained a passion for environmental education. The program inspired her to volunteer and intern for various organizations such as the Honolulu Zoo and ANAI Costa Rica. Daniela’s professional career started in Waimea Valley where she worked with fellow EVS graduate, Lauren Goodmiller. Together they created outdoor education programs for school groups and learned a great deal about Hawai‘i’s rich biodiversity. It was there that she realized the importance of education and community awareness in order to see change in the world. Daniela decided that she could make a profound difference if she took her efforts into the classroom. Therefore, she began her teaching career at the University Laboratory School where she has been teaching for the past 3 years. Daniela has also returned to UHM as a graduate student in the College of Education.

Erin Woods (Graduated 2008)
I've recently worked on volunteer projects both on the East Coast of Australia and Western Australia and Indonesia. I have had a few jobs around Australia that range from conservation to private industry. I worked as a team Leader for the Ningaloo Turtle Program, WA. We monitored beaches for turtle tracks and nests for population abundance surveys. I've worked in "big-industry" down under as an Environmental Scientist on a liquid-natural gas project. I've also done small-scale consulting for a couple of volunteer programs in Western Australia and Indonesia. Lastly, to add to the diversity, I have worked in the tourist industry both in Australia and Hawaii as a Biologist/Naturalist on whale-watching vessels.

Interdisciplinary Studies 489 Class - 2008

IS489 2008

Interdisciplinary Strudies 489 Class - 2006

IS489 2006