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Preparing passionate leaders driving change in sustainability and stewardship of the environment.

  —Our Mission

M.S. Environmental Sciences and Management Students

Natalie Fontana

Hello! I was raised in the beautiful city of Seattle, Washington where I spent most of my time hiking in the mountains or exploring marine life around the Puget sound. I was awarded a Bachelors of Science in 2019 from Western Washington University’s Huxley: College of the Environment. My undergraduate studies were heavily science based with a focus on ecology and water quality which kept me very busy with research in the field and lab. I am pursuing a Master’s degree from Cal Poly’s NRES program because I am extremely interested in sustainability solutions. Specifically, I will be studying how water quality management on agricultural lands can be used to mitigate climate change.

Kalea Conrad 

Hello! My name is Kalea Conrad and I use she/hers pronouns. I am a recent (Spring '22) graduate of Cal Poly's Environmental Management and Protection major and am grateful for the opportunity to remain at Cal Poly to receive a master's degree. I am from Hermosa Beach, California, a truly beautiful southern beach town which inspired my desire to pursue an environmental science education. I am working on my graduate thesis with Dr. Nicholas Williams, doing ethnographic research on plastic utility and waste in strawberry production. I am intrigued (and preoccupied) by failing waste management systems and ultimately hope to expand the processing capacity for organic waste recycling to effectively transform landfill gasses into viable biofuels.  

Sophie Aubry 

Hello, my name is Sophie Aubry! I am originally from Redlands, CA and moved to SLO for my undergraduate degree. I completed my bachelors in Earth and Soil Science with a concentration in hydrology. I am pursuing my masters to further my education and passion for the environment. I will be working with my advisor Dr. Seeta Sistla and the SLO Beaver Brigade to explore carbon sequestration capabilities in beaver wetlands.  

Adriana Stagnaro

I grew up in the forested hills of the beautiful and diverse landscape of Sonoma County, CA in the northern San Francisco Bay Area. In 2017, our county started to burn in a way few thought was possible. Through Cal Poly's MS in Environmental Sciences & Management, I hope to explore forest management strategies, forest treatment effectiveness, wildland fire and pathways for public engagement. Empowering landowners and the community to be active stewards of California's fire-dependent landscape is my professional goal. I look forward to learning from and working with CP faculty, partners, and the greater community while here in SLO. 

Alex Wiens 

Hello all! My name is Alex Wiens and I am a graduate student within the MS Environmental Sciences and Management program here at Cal Poly. As a former civil engineer transitioning to environmental science, I hope to help the planet while also learning more about it. I love anything that has to do with greener thinking and making the most of our resources here on Earth. Utilizing my undergrad background with water-resource engineering, I focus on hydrology and how water flows through our environment. I am working closely with Dr. Surfleet on my thesis about analyzing the hydrological effects that fires have had on Swanton Pacific Ranch. I plan to become an environmental-science technician or scientist in the future, and maybe even a faculty or professor at a university. In my free time, I like to volunteer with our local environmental clubs, keep up with sports, and play video games. 

Cameron Gaspord 

Hi there! My name is Cameron, and I was raised in Minnesota. I earned a Bachelor's degree in Geology at a small Minnesotat institution called Gustavus Adolphus College. While in undergrad I spent my summers working as a student researcher and fell in love with the research process. After I graduated, I spent some time working as a field geologist for an environmental consulting firm, but ultimately decided I wanted to continue participating in research and pursue a career in the soil sciences. Now, I'm honored to be able to work with Dr. Sistla on her Arctic soils project. Our project focuses on change in carbon cycling and microbial activity across seasons within Alaskan soils. I'm excited to broaden my knowledge of soils and gain technical skills as I pursue my Master's degree here at Cal Poly. 

Casandra Leach 

Hello! I grew up in Colorado where I learned to love, appreciate, and be in awe of Nature through hiking, camping, fishing, and all of the other fun outdoor activities. I graduated from San Diego State with a BS in environmental engineering and minor in sustainability in 2019, and while working in environmental consulting the past few years I realized my career wasn’t exactly where I wanted it to be and that my academic career wasn't finished. Through Cal Poly’s ESM program, I hope to combine my undergrad expertise with new environmental management, policy, sustainability, and soil science expertise to work toward a career conducive to environmental restoration/conservation and climate mitigation. I look forward to collaborating with my peers and Cal Poly faculty on these topics in the year to come!  

Amanda Gersoff 

I grew up on the coast in Santa Barbara, California and have enjoyed living in San Luis Obispo over the past four years. I recently graduated from Cal Poly with a B.S. in Environmental Management and Protection and minors in Land Rehabilitation and Restoration Ecology as well as Indigenous Studies in Natural Resources and the Environment. Currently, I am working with Dr. Seeta Sistla on my master's thesis about the ecological effects of photovoltaic solar arrays on agricultural rangelands. After completing my master's degree, I hope to pursue a career in restoration ecology or conservation biology. I look forward to applying the skills and experience gained from this program to my future work.  

Oriana Ramirez 

I spent my youth surrounded by agriculture, living in a small town outside of Fresno, California. Since the Sierra Nevada Mountain range was only an hour away, I spent a lot of time in the mountains falling in love with nature. In June of 2022 I graduated from Cal Poly – San Luis Obispo, with a Bachelor of Science in Forestry and Natural Resources and in Environmental Management and Protection, with a minor in Watershed Management. I have decided to return to Cal Poly to pursue a Master’s degree in Environmental Sciences and Management, with an emphasis in Hydrology. My thesis work with Dr. Surfleet will be focused on the hydrologic impacts of meadow restoration in California’s Southern Cascade Mountains. 

Ansar Mohammed 

My name is Ansar Mohammed, I am from the Caribbean island of Trinidad and Tobago. I did my undergraduate degree in Sustainability and Environmental Science with a Minor in Business at Florida International University in Miami Florida. I am currently enrolled in The Master of Science degree program in Environment Sciences and Management program at California Polytechnic State University so that I can advance my studies in the Sustainability field so that I can achieve my academic inspirations of working as a Sustainability advocate, Environmental Social Governance position for corporate companies. There are many emotional, psychological, and financial benefits to a job in sustainability. Being a part of social and environmental advancement and seeing how a profession in sustainability is having a real, beneficial influence on how things are in the world are both tremendously fulfilling experiences.

Sara Sternberg 

Born and raised in the Bay Area, I started my career in agriculture and environmental resource management after earning my B.S in Biology from Eckerd College. For the last six years, I have been the principal owner/operator of Common Garden LLC, a gardening and irrigation business specializing in residential on-site water reuse systems such as greywater systems and rainwater catchment. Before starting this business, I worked for many years on holistic livestock ranches and organic farms in Northern California. After almost a decade of working hands-on in the field I finally felt it was time to expand my theoretical knowledge of groundwater management by obtaining my masters in Hydrology and Watershed Management. I am excited to be working with Dr. Bwalya Malama studying stream-aquifer interactions in proximity to agricultural wells right here in SLO. In my spare time, I can be found riding my dirt bike with the Cal Poly Penguins MC and reading about conspiracy theories.

Adrian Deily 

Hello! I am from Lafayette, CA located in the East Bay Area. I graduated from Cal Poly in 2022 with a BS in Environmental Management and Protection with a minor in Spanish and couldn’t wait to return to SLO to continue my studies! During my time in the Master’s program I will be conducting forest fuels research with Dr. Richard Cobb in the Soquel Demonstration State Forest. In my free time I enjoy surfing, camping, and spending time with friends and family. I am so excited to see what this year brings!  

Jet Tan 

Hello! My name is Jet, and I grew up in San Francisco. I did my undergraduate degree at Cal Poly in economics concentrating in quantitative analysis and ecological valuation. I had the pleasure of conducting my senior project under the advisement of Dr. Babin looking at factors contributing to perceived vulnerability of Paso Robles wine managers and was giving the opportunity to continue farmer perception research in the MS program. My masters research will be investigating best management practice persistence in California farmers and ranchers after receiving GHG reduction funding from the California Department of Food and Agriculture’s Office of Environmental Farm Innovation. In my free time I go on climbing, mountaineering, trail running, and backpacking adventures to look at cool plants. 


Sierra LymanSierra Lyman

I was born and raised in Los Osos and am stoked to continue my education at Cal Poly following my receival of a B.S. in Anthropology and Geography from the university in Spring 2022. My love for environmental sciences and interest in the interrelationships between humans and the environment has led me to pursue a as I plan to examine how social interactions affect forest management. Specifically, I will be focusing my pursuits on ethnographic research which encompasses understanding the implementation of fire fuel treatments in forest environments as policy makers, stakeholders,and forest managers navigate various levels of social barriers and interactions. Such research will be done under the guidance of Dr. Nicholas Williams as I work towards writing my thesis. Further, I am excited to continue exploring the many wonders of San Luis Obispo County as I diversify and strengthen my research skills.

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