ESRM Welcome Back Q&A – Recap and Important Info

Welcome back, ESRMers!

We shore hope everyone had a swell summer. In case you missed it, here are some highlights and important information that Dr. Anderson (our Program Chair and Fearless Leader) addressed at our ESRM Welcome Back Q&A on Thursday, August 29th:

  1. The Santa Rosa Island Research Station (SRIRS) is back in business! Last year, ESRM suffered a devastating loss with the passing of Dr. Cause Hanna, our good friend and the former director of the SRIRS. Since then, we have had some issues with scheduling and other logistics when it comes to planning trips out to the island, which is a frequently utilized resource in our department. As of last week, the SRIRS has a new director, Russ Bradley, so we are finally getting back to our full strength out on the island. Santa Rosa Island and the research station we have out there are incredible resources that we are all privileged to utilize here in ESRM. Take advantage of any opportunity you get to visit Santa Rosa Island, and if you do, make sure to give a warm welcome to our new director! We are so excited to have you, Russ!
  2. There are SO many ways to get involved with ESRM this year! You don’t have to be in capstone or even an ESRM major to volunteer and get hands-on experience in a field that you’re interested in. Many of our awesome faculty are conducting research in the upcoming year – some great opportunities for all of you to explore what interests you! Whether it’s exploring pollution source reduction with Dr. Woo (, discovering the human dimensions of the coast and its resources with Dr. Reineman (, or looking at the impacts of coastal geomorphology and analyzing spatial data with Dr. Patsch (, there is a volunteer opportunity out there for you! You can send them an email or stop by their office hours for more information. If you want to volunteer in a lab setting with our Lab Technician, Emily Welsh, there is an opportunity to volunteer every Thursday afternoon! You can find more information on our events calendar. Lastly, if you are interested in working with robotics, our AARR (Aerial and Aquatic Robotic Research) meets every Friday from 12 to 12:15pm in the ESRM tech lab.
  3. We’ve got some nifty new tools in our labs! We now have a glow forge, a machine that laser prints images on items you may want to customize (laptop, phone, etc.), we have new drones and ROVs (Remotely Operated Vehicles),and by the end of this year, we will have our new boat! Lots of cool new toys and cool projects that will result… Stay tuned!
  4. With fellow CSUs in our consortium, we are starting to offer three research dive classes for anyone interested in doing underwater research. A research dive certification can be tricky to obtain as it’s typically hard to get into those research classes, but luckily we have the opportunity to offer three a year! Contact Dr. Anderson, Dr. Reineman or Dr. Steele for more information.
  5. We are in the midst of a bit of an overhaul of our major. As we currently have 200 declared ESRM majors (super awesome), our department’s rapid growth calls for some modifications in emphases and opportunities for certificates (such as GIS and Sustainability) which will likely be in place next year. For those of you who have already declared your major in ESRM, this change won’t alter your gradation path – you are able to stick with the requirements that were in place when you declared. You have the option to switch to the current requirements (the current catalog year), but as soon as you do, you are not able to switch back to the old requirements. If you have any additional questions about this, please contact Dr. Anderson.
  6. In the next year or so, we plan to have our Masters program up and running! This has been in the works for several years and is finally becoming a reality. If you’re just DYING to stay at CI for another couple of years because, let’s be honest, you’d miss us too much… this is the program for you! Stay tuned.
  7. For the first time ever, ESRM has THREE trips planned for this year! Come Spring semester, Dr. Steele is taking one of her classes to Maui over Winter break, Dr. Anderson is taking a class to New Orleans over Spring break, and one of our emeritus professors Dr. Rodriguez is taking a class to Costa Rica over spring break. There will be an informational session on these trips in the middle of October, so stay tuned! We hope you can enroll in one of these awesome courses – it’s a highly valuable experience at an incredibly inexpensive cost.
  8. We are having the first ever electrofishing class in California! Electrofishing is a newer fishing method utilized by the US Fish and Wildlife Service that shocks the fish instead of puncturing them. If you’re interested in taking the course, please contact Dr. Anderson.
  9. Water Resource Management and Field Methods are back! Come Spring, these classes will finally be offered again.These classes are a requirement for many of you, but unfortunately could not be offered last Spring semester. They’re back and better then ever, and we are also bringing back Dr. Woo’s Coastal Contaminants class! Woop woop!
  10. You are encouraged to enroll in our one unit Field Professionalism course, which allows you to receive certifications in different facts of environmental science. By enrolling in the course for this semester, you can obtain wilderness first aid certification, which will take place all day on September 15th and 16th beginning at 8am. Contact Dr. A for an add code – the certification lasts for two years and is great to put on a resume!
  11. By next semester, we want to have mitigated the troubles that students have faced trying to get into classes like Land Use Planning and Open Space Management with Dr. Reineman and Conservation Biology with Dr. Steele.
  12. ESRM 100 is your first gatekeeper class. If you’re new to ESRM, make sure to take this class first and foremost as it is a pre-requisite for many of the upper division classes you’ll need. Our hope is that, by the start of your junior year, you’ll be taking some of the higher-in-demand upper division courses such as Intro to GIS and Conservation Biology. Both of these courses will create a foundation for the skills you will utilize throughout the duration of your time here at CI.
  13. We encourage you to take our one unit Editing Studio course (ENGL 399) as writing is a critical skill that will benefit you throughout your time here and especially in your career. All students who have participated in the course preciously, especially those doing their Capstone projects, have reaped monumental benefits from this course.
  14. Don’t be turned off to a class if you see you haven’t yet taken the required pre-requisites. In many cases, you can talk with your instructor and they may be able to give you an add code even if you haven’t taken the listed pre-requisite.
  15. We are starting to move into a cohort-based model for our major. Classes will start to be a bit more programmed so that we can guarantee you all can get into your classes and graduate in a timely manner.

The most important thing that Dr. A wants you to remember:

“Don’t get despondent. The stuff that you’re learning here from all of these folks in front us is really gonna give you guys the skills to make this place a great planet again.”

We are here to bring about change, and despite any silly thing you hear of in the news, know that we are going to do just that.

If you’d like to watch the full-ish video of the Q&A, you can find it here:

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