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Undergraduate Research

Undergraduates in the Department of Earth & Environmental Science have ample opportunities to pursue Research Projects. Projects range from one semester Independent Studies to a Senior Thesis.

The best resource for research topics in the department is the Faculty. Many of our faculty members are involved in ongoing research in many locations worldwide and are in need of a work force for their summer excursions. Other faculty members are involved in the professional world outside of academia and have connections to various firms and corporations. Faculty members are willing to help undergraduates gain research experience. Feel free to email or stop by to talk to a professor about their research and any opening they may have on their field team or about his/her affiliations with the professional world. Some of opportunities within our department are listed on the Resources page.

Other resources for research topics include Study Abroad and Internships where students immerse themselves in a particular field or culture and bring the knowledge and skills they have learned at Penn to a new setting. Many of these opportunities develop into careers for the students after they leave Penn.

The Environmental Studies, Geology Honors, and Paleobiology track majors require a Senior Thesis as part of the major requirements. A Senior Thesis requires independent research over a 2 semester period. ENVS majors begin their senior thesis by taking ENVS 399, Environmental Studies Research Seminar for Juniors, in the spring semester of their Junior year and complete their senior theses while taking ENVS 498 (previously labeled 499), Senior Thesis, during the fall and spring semesters of their Senior year.

Many students choose to pursue independent research projects as underclassmen. For those students, an Independent Study is a good choice. An independent study can often be done in conjunction with a field season with one or a group of our professors and researchers. Independent Study topics vary with the interests of the students and can be individualized to focus on the student's specific interest. If you are interested in pursuing an Independent Study talk with the Associate Director or the Undergraduate Chair. They can recommend a faculty member with the same interests or field of expertise and answer your questions about the logistics of such a project. Once a topic and advisor is identified, a one-page proposal of the scope and focus of the Independent Study should be submitted to the Associate Director or the Undergraduate Chair in order to be registered for the course.

INTERESTED IN RESEARCH?

Click to see more on how to get started - Undergrad Research_Interested in Research.pdf

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Below are some of our past Environmental Studies Senior Theses (Student's Concentration is in Parentheses after their name.)

Colijn, Cornelia (Global Environmental Systems)
The Effect of Urbanization on Channel Morphology and Sediment Transport patterns: Wissahickon Valley Watershed, Pennsylvania

Cooper, Will
Modeling the Potential for Urban Agricultre in Philadelphia via Multispectral Analysis in GIS

Cummons, Hannah (Environmental History and Regional Studies)
The Effect of Grazing on Benthic Aquatic Communities in Northern Mongolia

Davis, Raleigh (Global Environmental Systems)
The Contamination of Lake Atitlan: Implications and Possible Solutions

Delphin, Naomi (Environmental Policy and Application)
Protection of Public Water Resources in Beverly, MA

Dietzen, Christiana
Response of Mongolian Plant Communities to Experimental Micro-Environments

Fackler, Sarah (Geology)
Holocene Sea-Level Reconstruction from the Thames Estuary, United Kingdom

Gai, Jenny (Environmental Policy and Application)
Using Stable Carbon Isotopes to Reconstruct Late-Holocene Sea-Level Change in Georgia, USA

Goodman, Jason (Individualized - Ethnobotany)
The Impact of Urban Greening on Tax Assessments in New Kensington, Philadelphia

Harrington, Elise (Global Environmental Systems)
Penn Park: Ecological Design in Response to Landscape Change and Policy Goals

Jansen, Nanneke (Environmental History and Regional Studies)
The Astriclypedae: Phylogenetics of Indo-Pacific, Super-Flat, Holey Sand Dollars

Koutsarova, Kristina
Effects of Available Nutrients on the Bioremediation of Louisiana Crude Oil from the BP Horison Oil Spill

McKoy, Kendra
Reconstructing Relative Sea Level for Sea Breeze, New Jersey

Perry, Meredith (Paleobiology)
Atypical Growth Patterns in Proterozoic Carbonate Stromatolites: Analogs for Microbial Life on Mars

Piliouras, Anastasia (Environmental Studies)
The Effect of Potential Vorticity on Delta Channel Morphodynamics: Examining Elongated versus Bifurcating Behavior

Renny, Jessica
Federal Policies for Promoting Large-Scale Offshore Wind Energy in the United States

Schreiber, Andreas (Environmental History and Regional Studies)
Colony Collapse Disorder (CCD) in Honeybee Colonies in the USA

Stahl, Jenna
The Combined Impact of Rising Temperature and Grazing Density on Plant Communities in Northern Mongolia

Thomas, Adrian
From Human Exercise to Renewable Energy

Van Eaton, Will (Environmental Policy and Application)
Electric Vehicles as an Integrated System of Networked Energy Storage

Washington, Kirstin
The Geochemistry of Limestone Cave Waters: Implications for the Development of New Methods for Studying Paleoclimate

Wordell, Elizabeth (Global Environmental Systems)
Effects of Heavy Metals on Soil Microbial Activity in Palmerton, Pennsylvania

Department of Earth and Environmental Science / University of Pennsylvania, 251 Hayden Hall, 240 South 33rd Street, Philadelphia, PA 19104-6316