Student Research Projects and Experiences

Stephen Holle, ENST '12

As an ENST major at USC I could have never imagined a better summer than 2012. Initially, I enrolled in ENST 480 (Ecosystems Management in Micronesia), which turned my classmates and I into AAUS scientific divers. In the class we looked at the dynamic and interrelated nature of natural resource management and the pressures of human development. A majority of our newly acquired skills were applied in Palau to survey reefs and establish baseline conditions for effective localized management of invaluable marine resources for the conservation and enforcement division of Korror. What inspired me most about this experience are the challenges that relate to effective management and competition related to human development. Once I returned from Guam and Palau I took a boat to Santa Catalina Island to work for the Catalina Island Conservancy. Primarily, we are focused on invasive removal, sustainable trail construction, restoration projects, and flora and fauna surveys. Thus far it has been a facilitating experience to have hands on experience with localized natural resource management and I look forward to exploring the issues related to the critical field of conservation. No other major within USC would have prepared me to address complex environmental issues from an experiential and applied point of view and I look forward to the rest of my summer with ENST.

Judy Fong, ENST '15

After only one year as an Environmental Studies major, I feel like the ENST department has already given me multiple opportunities. In addition to the small classes that allow for more individualized attention and challenging material, the ENST department also provides excellent opportunities for field work and research. This past semester, I had the chance to participate in 2012’s Guam and Palau Course, obtaining an AAUS certification in scientific scuba diving. Conducting research on the status of coral reefs in Micronesia sparked a newfound interest in marine biology for me, and I have no doubt that I will be able to use these skills in the future. This summer, I will be working as one of four interns for the Catalina conservancy. The internship will mainly consist of minimizing invasive plant impact through the removal of key species such as fennel. We will also continue to develop the trail on USC’s Wrigley campus and participate in some dive research on seagrass. This summer should provide me with hands-on experience in the field as well as the opportunity to make a positive impact on the ecology of Catalina. Furthermore, we have been given enough flexibility to develop our own projects of interest. Through this internship, I hope to get an inside look at conservation work as well as the opportunity to learn about terrestrial ecosystem management. I am excited to continue my journey as an ENST major with these well-rounded learning experiences.

Daniel Kasang, ENST '12

Being an ENST student has been a fantastic experience. I've participated in a number of exciting programs offered by the department. The first offering was the block semester: an immersive experience taking classes with only other ENST majors and a class taught at the Wrigley Institute on Catalina Island. Then I participated in the Guam and Palau PWP with Dr. Jim Haw and Dr. David Ginsburg. This summer as an intern with USC and the Catalina Island Conservancy, I built trails, worked with plant species and restoration, and performed geochemical analysis with Dr. Lisa Collins.

The department has provided me with wonderful opportunities to learn about the scope of environmental issues and get hands-on experience in marine and terrestrial conservation. With the great experiences I’ve had in the classroom and field through USC ENST, I feel very prepared to move on to a career and further my education.

Environmental Studies Program: Catalina Island

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Environmental Studies Program: Guam and Palau

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  • Dr. Karla Heidelberg
  • Director
  • Environmental Studies Program
  • Dana and David Dornsife College of Letters, Arts and Sciences
  • Social Sciences Building (SOS) B15
  • 3502Trousdale Parkway
  • University of Southern California
  • Los Angeles, California 90089-0036