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Graduate Student Profiles

Meet students in our natural resources and ecology master’s degree program.

Annie Arnold

Class of ’25

“Within the natural resources and ecology master’s program I am focused on forest ecology and entomology. I’m currently researching insect biodiversity within boreal peatlands, specifically determining community structures within the forested to open bog gradients at Shingle Shanty Preserve and Research Station in Long Lake, N.Y. I spent the past summer collecting and preserving insects within three different bogs and am starting to identify species this fall. My thesis is centered around contributing to the body of knowledge published on boreal peatland biodiversity, specifically along the boreal-temperate ecotone, and in light of shifting environmental conditions due to climate change. When I’m not pursuing my dream, I enjoy my role as an energy consultant at Adirondack North Country Association, helping small businesses find funding opportunities to implement clean energy upgrades. I also take every opportunity to be outside camping, exploring, biking and skiing with my family and pup.”

Samantha Beck

Class of ’25

  • M.S. in Natural Resources and Ecology
  • B.S. in Environmental Science, SUNY Plattsburgh, Class of ′22
  • Advisor: Dr. Timothy Mihuc

Samantha is a graduate assistant with the Lake Champlain Research Institute and Lake Champlain Sea Grant’s Watershed Alliance program. In this position, she will be assisting with leading education programs and outreach events for K–12 audiences. She is especially interested in environmental communications and enhancing existing DEI efforts within these programs. While in this role, Samantha is pursuing a master’s degree in natural resources and ecology.

Prior to this assistantship, Samantha served an AmeriCorps term at Audubon Vermont as the community science and engagement specialist. At Audubon, she worked on community building and outreach, as well as outdoor education programs. Samantha has also spent several summers working on organic vegetable farms in Pennsylvania and upstate New York. In her free time, she loves cycling, foraging and swimming in the Ausable River.

Shannon Cooper

Class of ’24

“I am a graduate student in the natural resources and ecology and management program at SUNY Plattsburgh focusing on urban wetland restoration and biogeochemistry. I spend part of my summer in Manhattan at our Sherman Creek restoration site studying denitrification capabilities of existing and restored spartina alternilfora in an intertidal zone of the Harlem River. I have completed independent studies during my undergrad focusing on tree encroachment into boreal peatlands at their southern range limits, and groundwater chemistry within the Lake Champlain basin. Growing up in a large city and having a love for wetland ecology drives my passion for perusing a career in coastal and urban wetland restoration. When I’m not on campus I’m working at the local coffee shop, reading or hiking in the High Peaks with my dog.”

Kevin Dernier

Class of ’25

“I am on the internship track within the natural resources and ecology master′s program, and will be interning with the Vermont Center for Ecostudies (VCE) in White River Junction, Vermont. My research with them will be looking to validate a novel method for quantifying avian breeding bird behavior with VHF radio transmitters and investigating their use in studying how summer environmental conditions carry over into migratory and winter success. For this, I will be banding and tagging birds on Mount Mansfield in Vt. and will help VCE with their other research on avian food availability and demographic changes in the high-alpine environment. When not working, I help raise sheep on the family farm or am out birding, hiking and camping.”

Caley Doell

Class of ’24

  • M.S. in Natural Resources and Ecology
  • B.S. in Ecology, SUNY Plattsburgh, Class of ′23
  • Advisor: Dr. Mark Lesser

“I grew up playing outside in the Adirondack mountains, which has given me an infinite love for the outdoors. As a SUNY Plattsburgh graduate and now graduate student, the ecology program has provided me with the opportunity to dive into the environmental systems around us. My research as an undergraduate combined ornithology and forest ecology to understand how bird communities use differently aged burn sites at the Altona Flat Rock, which has contributed to an overall understanding of the area. As a graduate student, I am now shifting my focus to eastern whip-poor-wills, with a desire to understand how they use the Flat Rock ecosystem. In my free time, I enjoy backpacking, running, skiing and ultimate frisbee.”

Christien Gilman

Class of ’24

“When I graduated in 2014 from SUNY Plattsburgh I was on the path to a career in medicine. It wasn’t until after working as an EMT and getting accepted into a physician assistant program that I realized that I had been pursuing a goal I didn’t even want. After hearing about the natural resources and ecology program from a friend, I felt foolish for not recognizing such an opportunity sooner. After just a single semester in the program, I feel like I’ve had more hands-on experiences in a variety of environments than I would have thought possible. Our proximity to the Adirondack Park gives ample opportunity to actually see what we’re taught in class being put into practice in the field.”

Lydia Harvey

Class of ’25

“My interest is in wetlands; I hope to pursue a career as a wetland scientist after college. To gain more experience in this field, I decided to go the internship route and become a certified wetland scientist. My favorite type of wetland is bogs. They have carnivorous plants, lots of sphagnum moss and other unique species. Outside of class I love to hike and spend time outdoors. I also love all things plants and have a growing collection of houseplants.”

Lucas Kemmerling

Class of ’24

Lucas is a graduate student in the natural resources and ecology master’s program whose research focuses on using caloric availability for waterfowl as a metric for evaluating wetland restoration success. He is passionate about restoring and preserving quality habitats for wildlife and enjoys public outreach. Outside of his research, Lucas enjoys playing the banjo, cooking, and all things outdoors.

Emily Reinhardt

Class of ’24

  • M.S. in Natural Resources and Ecology
  • B.S. in Environmental Science Planning and Management, SUNY Plattsburgh, Class of ’22
  • Advisor: Dr. Mary Alldred

“During my time as an undergrad I took advantage of several opportunities for independent study projects and field based classes with professors in the Department of Earth and Environmental Science (CEES). These opportunities helped me become more well rounded and allowed me to learn valuable skills I would later need to apply for my graduate level classes. In the spring of 2023 I began the natural resources and ecology master’s program. I am researching the social impacts of mountain biking funded by the North Eastern States Research Cooperative (NSRC). This grant will provide information and guidance to resource managers and train the next generation of recreation and tourism professionals. In the summer of ‘23 I traveled to locations in Maine, New Hampshire, Vermont, and Québec conducting interviews with stakeholders to discover what impacts communities are experiencing with an increase in mountain biking recreation in the Northeast. This experience has been unlike any other and I’m grateful to have this opportunity!”

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