College of Liberal Arts and Sciences

Environmental Studies

Alfred University Environmental Studies StudentsOverview
Increasing population, technological demands, and the continued quest for a higher standard of living impose expanding demands on finite global resources.  Environmental Studies students and faculty study the effects of these stresses on the earth and its inhabitants in the classroom, field, and laboratories.  The Division offers a major in Environmental Studies with three possible tracks:

A minor in Environmental Studies is also available.

Hands-on, interactive learning
All our majors engage in independent undergraduate research projects as part of the Environmental Studies program. The topics of these projects vary greatly, depending on the interests of the students.  We firmly believe that students learn by “doing” and incorporate hands-on, interactive learning in virtually all of our courses.

Outstanding equipment and facilities  
All students have access to a vast array of state-of-the-art field, laboratory, and computer equipment within the Environmental Studies Division as well as the other science and engineering departments on campus. This makes Alfred University's undergraduate program one of the best equipped in the country. Equipment includes an ion chromatograph, atomic absorption spectrophotometer, and instrumentation to perform capillary zone electrophoresis, all used for the analysis of water samples; a fully-equipped Geographic Information Systems (GIS) laboratory complete with two sub-meter scale Global Positioning Systems units, a dedicated GIS specialist, a 36-inch color plotter, and the latest version of the most frequently used GIS software; and a variety of equipment for soil testing, including compaction meter, soil moisture collectors, microscopes, and wet-laboratory equipment. 

Environmental imaging lab
Imaging facilities include several very high quality light microscopes, one of which is capable of doing mineralogical analysis of rock samples.  Along with these microscopes we have a high-resolution digital imaging system and a dedicated computer with software to allow research microscopy of small inorganic particles and microscopic organisms.  A separate digital imaging system uses scanned images, oriented to analyzing the growth rings of trees for ecological and climatological analyses.  This system complements and enhances the dissection microscopes that are used for traditional examination of tree rings.  We also have tree ring corers and facilities for preparation of cored tree sections for image analysis.

Field equipment
We have a variety of instruments used for field sampling and analysis, including a “Hydrolab” for analyzing a variety of water parameters in the field; sediment and water samplers, including two automated, programmable water samplers; flow meters; field dissolved oxygen, pH, and electrical conductivity meters; and two boats.  We also have two field facilities on or very close to campus:

  • A hydrologic field laboratory, consisting of seven groundwater wells, which is fully instrumented to measure and record water levels, temperature, electrical conductivity, pressure, etc.
  • Foster Lake property, a 223-acre property consisting of the lake and surrounding forest, which is used as a field laboratory for Environmental Studies classes and student research.

Internship and research assistant opportunities
Department faculty routinely hire undergraduates as interns or research assistants in the summer, allowing students to get even more experience with research projects and instrumentation.  All these experiences, inside and outside the classroom, prepare Environmental Studies students for a wide variety of career opportunities and post-graduate education in fields related to the study of the environment.

More Information

Environmental Studies and Geology Division
Environmental Studies major requirements
Environmental Studies minor
Environmental Studies careers and outcomes
Faculty profiles
Geology major
Geology minor
Research

Contact

Environmental Studies & Geology
Dr. Michele Hluchy
Ph: 607.871.2634
Email