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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

Lexi Heuer 

I grew up in the Sierra Nevada foothills but have lived in San Luis Obispo for the past four years while attending Cal Poly for my undergraduate degree in Environmental Management and Protection. After my bachelor's degree, I decided to stay and continue my education at Cal Poly and pursue a master's degree. I am currently working with Dr. Yamina Pressler to evaluate relationships between fire severity and soil organic matter distribution at the watershed scale by analyzing the CZU Lightning Complex Fire in the Santa Cruz Mountains. Besides studying the intersection of soils and fires, my passions include backpacking, scuba diving, and enjoying life on the beautiful central coast!

Gracie Doolin  

Hello! My name is Gracie, and I grew up in the small town of Topanga, CA, nestled within the Santa Monica Mountains. I spent most of my youth camping with family, surfing at the local beach, and hiking various trails. These interactions with nature led to my fascination with the environment and have motivated me to dedicate my life to protecting it. I graduated from Cal Poly in 2022 with my Bachelor of Science in Environmental Management and Protection and a minor in Geology. I plan on working with Dr. Pressler and Dr. Wilson to research carbon portioning of post-burn soils from the Creek Fire in the Sierra Nevada. This project will allow me to investigate how fire and other environmental variables such as slope, aspect, and vegetation correlate to soil carbon storage and partitioning. I am excited about this opportunity to obtain hands-on experience and look forward to building new connections with the facility and 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.  

James Kleuber 

Hello! I was born and raised in San Diego, California and graduated from U.C. Berkeley with a B.S. in Environmental Economics and Policy. Since graduating from Cal in 2018, I first began working at a private equity fund that invests in water management solutions. Currently, I work for an engineering firm that helps local municipalities obtain funding for water infrastructure projects. I am pursuing a Environmental Sciences and Management with an emphasis in hydrology to obtain the hands-on technical experience that is required to work in the water resource planning field. My project focuses on groundwater pumping and its effects on saltwater intrusion within coastal aquifers. In my free time, you’ll find me surfing, bodysurfing, or nervously watching my beloved San Diego Padres. I am excited and grateful for this opportunity that Cal Poly has given me to obtain a M.S. in Environmental Sciences and Management and cannot wait for the adventure ahead! 

Nora Bales

I am from a small town in the Sierra Nevada foothills, where my love for natural resources and the environment began. My life has been shaped by the beauty and brutality of California, and my love for the natural world drove me to pursue a bachelor’s degree in biology at Cal Poly, San Luis Obispo. Here I found my niche in botany - botany gave me a new lens to see the world through: taxonomy provided organization and structure to chaos, and my botany and ecology classes taught me to deeply understand and appreciate the world around me. Since completing my bachelor’s degree in 2018, I have been working professionally as a botanist for three years. However, when faced with questions concerning restoration ecology and resource management, I realized I was often missing one of the most fundamental components of any natural system: the soil. To develop a more holistic ecological perspective, I have returned to Cal Poly as a master’s student to pursue a graduate degree in environmental sciences with an emphasis in soil science. 

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. 

Brandon Hurd

After graduating from Cal Poly in 2015 with a BS + MS in Engineering, I worked as a mechanical engineer for a few years before shifting focus. I had the privilege of volunteering and working in a handful of farming communities that showed me a lifestyle where agriculture and conservation are connected. Now I am working with Professor Nick Babin to develop a small agroforestry plot in the Student Experimental Farm and studying how to reintegrate Oaks as a food crop, while raising Elderberry, European Chestnuts, Figs, and other climate-appropriate crops that could be (eventually) dry-farmed and naturalized in organized restoration efforts that mimic our Oak Savanna ecosystem in San Luis Obispo County.

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. 

Hope Springer 

Hello! Originally from Tacoma, Washington, I grew up amongst the forests, ocean, and mountains. These experiences led me to respect, love, and seek to protect the natural world.  I graduated from Cal Poly in the Spring of 2022 with a B.S. in Environmental Management & Protection and minors in Sustainable Agriculture and Indigenous Studies in Natural Resources & the Environment.  

I worked for a year writing Swanton Pacific Ranch's (SPR) first Comprehensive Sustainability Framework, and feel lucky to expand upon this work as a graduate student. For my M.S. project, I will be working with Dr. Yiwen Chiu to enhance sustainability performance of the built environment at SPR by adopting Life Cycle Design. You can also find me as an intern for the Sustainability department on campus, a part-time Natural Resources lecturer, and bottling honey for the Cal Poly bee program! 

Mia Berg 

Hello! My name is Mia Berg and I am originally from the San Jose Bay Area. I completed my undergraduate degree in Environmental Management and Protection here at Cal Poly in 2021, and was eager to return to SLO to continue my studies! While in this program, I hope to take coursework surrounding the topics of sustainability, environmental policy, and planning. My project involves working with the SLO Microcommunity Collaborative on an assessment of climate impacts on residents. I hope to continue in the field of environmental planning after my completion of the program, and I’m really excited to further my education this year!

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. 

Carson Bristol 

I am originally from Colorado Springs, CO and graduated from Cal Poly in Spring 2021 with a degree in Environmental Management & Protection. I'm extremely excited to be pursuing a master's degree at Cal Poly to expand my knowledge about quantitative sustainability in supply chains and businesses. My graduate research will focus on conducting comprehensive life cycle assessment in the American hop and brewing supply chain in an effort to increase sustainability in commercial hop production. I hope to utilize my work at Cal Poly to gain a better understanding of the emissions associated with supply chains to identify what stages of product production can be best utilized to boost sustainability.  

Jack Dimmock 

Recently graduating from University of Redlands, I majored in Environmental Science and minored in Spatial Studies, inspired by my passion to learn more about how Earth systems are affected by physical geography. My semester in Australia helped broaden my environmental understanding of hemisphere, continent, coast, region, seasonality, climate, and culture. For my professional project, I am working with the Micro Community Collaborative to advise the City of San Luis Obispo Climate Action Plan. 

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. 

Lindsay Senechal 

Originally from southern California, I moved to the Santa Ynez Valley after graduating from UC Riverside in 2019 with a B.A. in Anthropology and a minor in Law & Society. Working professionally in the Cultural Resources Division with California State Parks further developed my deep interest in conservation and connecting people and place. I’m eager to explore future solutions in permaculture, food justice, agroforestry, and sustainable communities. My project focuses on the quantification of greenhouse gas benefits following fire prevention fuel projects for CALFIRE. Off the clock, you'll find me exploring trails and making a mess in the kitchen. 

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.

Christine Johnson 

Hi everyone! My name is Christine, I am from Fresno, California. I did my undergrad at UC Santa Barbara where I focused on Environmental communication and Environmental literacy. I'm so excited to be at Cal Poly for the Environmental Sciences & Management Master's program! I will be working with Dr. Williams to assess the effectiveness of Cal Fire's applied research and training program. Through the Environmental Sciences & Management program I hope to gain hands on experience in the Environmental field and apply this knowledge to my future work!  

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. 

Annie Booth 

Hi! My name is Annie and I grew up in Berkeley, California. My love for science and the outdoors is what took me to UC Davis where I studied biology and played soccer. I graduated in 2020 at the height of the global pandemic, which is when I worked for an amazing general contractor and learned how to build houses from the ground up. I later circled back to the academic world and found myself teaching all grades of high school biology. I realized I wanted to further my education in restoration ecology, so I chose to pursue my master’s at Cal Poly. I am super excited to be working on a research project with Dr. Pressler and the LCSLO, that aims to better understand the impacts of cattle grazing on plant communities at Santa Rita Ranch. I will also be focusing on how to evaluate degraded habitats and make data accessible in order to design and manage sustainable rangeland ecosystems.  

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