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Student Research


The Department of Environmental Sciences is pleased to offer students opportunities to apply their in-class learning to hands-on research opportunities with ENVS faculty. Students may explore different avenues while pursuing research.

Some students begin with a research sequence (ENVS 299, 399, 499) as early as their freshmen or sophomore year. Others may begin the research sequence and conclude with an honors thesis. For students interested in research that takes them beyond the Emory campus, ENVS offers financial support through our Lester and Turner Research Grant Funds.

We encourage students to approach faculty early with research interests. As a testament to how research culminates for some of our students, we have listed the most recent honors thesis titles from ENVS students. ENVS students do NOT need to pursue an honors thesis to conduct research, this is meant to simply offer a snap-shot of student research in ENVS.

Honors and MS Thesis Research by Year

2020 Honors and MS Thesis Research

Katelyn Boisvert (BS/ENVS), "The Impact of Urbanization on Environmental Systems and Applications to Urban Sustainability: A Case Study of the Atlanta Metro Region, Georgia." Faculty Advisor: Shaunna Donaher

Maya Bradford (BS/ENVS), "Assessing species diversity from insect trace fossils from the Cretaceous (Campanian) Two Medicine Formation, Choteau, Montana." Faculty Advisor: Anthony Martin

Danielle Crownover (MS/ENVS),"Amphibian's behavioral reaction to artificial light at night in Cuscowilla, VA." Faculty Advisor: John Wegner

Julia Glickman (BS/ENVS), "Measuring the role of Policy Diffusion in American Cities’ Climate Change Mitigation Actions." Faculty Advisor: Michael Rich

Annie Schiffer (BS/ENVS), "Connecting Relative Differences in Floral Phenology to Reproductive Success." Faculty Advisor: Berry Brosi

Emily Strahan (MS/ENVS), "A cross-comparison of enteric pathogen prevalence and patterns of infection within and between wild-living Cross River gorillas (Gorilla gorilla diehli) and eastern chimpanzees (Pan troglodytes schweinfurthii)." Faculty Advisor: Tom Gillespie

Xinyi Yao (MS/ENVS), "Phytoremediation of Lead-contaminated Soil in West Atlanta." Faculty Advisor: Eri Saikawa

2019 Honors and MS Thesis Research

Lauren Balotin (BA/ENVS), “Analysis of Atlanta Residents’ Knowledge Regarding Heavy Metal Exposures Associated with Urban Agriculture.” Committee: Eri Saikawa, Uriel Kitron, and Sheila Tefft

Candelaria Bergero (MS Thesis),“Understanding the Mechanisms of Diffusion of National Renewable Energy Targets.” Committee: Eri Saikawa, Michael Rich, Lance Gunderson 

Halle Bradshaw (MS Thesis),“The Effect of a State’s Commitment on Policy Responsiveness of the Endangered Species Act.” Committee: Eri Saikawa, John Wegner, Michael Rich

Chen Chen (MS Thesis), "Present and Potential Future Contributions of Ship Emissions to Air Quality and Human Health in the Pearl River Delta (PRD) region, China." Primary Advisor: Eri Saikawa

Ellen Dymit (BS/ENVS), “Experimental Evaluation of Territoriality and Associated Behaviors in the Spotted Dusky Salamander (Desmognathus conanti).” Committee: John Wegner, Carolyn Keogh, Gonzalo Vazquez-Prokopec Chris Beck & Amanda Starnes

Kelly Endres (BS/ENVS),“Widening Niche Breadth: Investigating the plasticity of plant-pollinator interactions.” Committee: Berry Brosi,  Carolyn Keogh, Eloise Carter

Arbour Guthrie (BS/ENVS), “Sedimentary and Ecological Interactions of Shoreline Management and Feral Horses on Cumberland Island, Georgia.” Committee: Anthony Martin, Susan Tamasi, Carolyn Keogh. Michael Page

Meg Withers (BS/ENVS), “Population Density of the Northern Sea Otter (Enhydra lutris kenyoni) as an Indicator of Strep Syndrome Transmission Method.” Commitee: Carolyn Keogh, Tracy Yandle, Chris Beck

2018 Honors and MS Thesis Research

Sahana Kuthyar (MS thesis) - "Prevalence and distribution of Giardia intestinalis genotypes in black and gold howler monkeys, Alouatta caraya, in relation to interspecies overlap and inter-annual variability in Northern Argentina"

Aspen Ono - "The Impact of Environmental Disasters on the Migration of Political Refugees."

Lydia Rautman - "Effects of anthroprogenic influence on patterns of infection with enteric zoonotic pathogens in brown mouse lemur Microcebus rufus at Ranomafana National Park, Madagascar."

2017 Honors Research

Will Koval - "The interactive effect of environmental stochasticity and resource driven intraspecific competition on Culex quinquefasciatus (Diptera:Culicidae) larval productivity"

Vicky Wu - "Garbage burning in South Asia – how important is it to the regional air quality?"

Andriana Miljanic - "Bee Communities in Biofuel Production Plantations: Interactive Effects of Local-Level Management and Landscape Context"

Emily Li – “Climate Change Is in the Air”

Ginny Leoffler – "A Comparative Evaluation and Application of Established Urban Carbon Sequestration Tools"

2016 Honors Research

Laila Atalla - "Release from interspecific competition results in species niche expansion in bumble bees"

Jamie Botsch - "Impacts of Forest Fragmentation on Species Diversity of Orchid Bees (Apidae: Euglossini) in the Chocó Biodiversity Hotspot of Northwest Ecuador"

Hsini (Cindy) Chu - "Contaminant removal of non-pollen material in palynologic samples for DNA barcoding"