Beyond the Classroom
Environmental Studies in the Field
Through research, internships, and other opportunities, students in UE's Environmental Studies program have the opportunity to put the knowledge and skills they learn in the classroom to use in the field.
In addition to challenging course work students have the opportunity to pursue research. Through the University's Undergraduate Research Program UExplore, students can submit proposals for research conducted independently or in collaboration with members of the faculty. The URP provides funding support for projects both during the school year and during the summer. Faculty also help students identify venues for presenting their research results at conferences aimed at undergraduate scholars.
Students can also serve as research assistants to faculty. Here is their current research:
Cris G. Hochwender, PhD
Dr. Hochwender teaches several courses associated with environmental studies, including an environmental perspective course, the Science of Environmental Pollutants, and an upper-level ecology course.
Research interests: Dr. Hochwender's research has addressed ecological and evolutionary processes involving the interactions between terrestrial plants and their herbivores. Questions have included how plants resist herbivores, the ways in which resistance evolves, allocation costs of resistance, the importance of plant genetics as a structuring force of arthropod herbivore communities, plant modular constraints to herbivory, local adaptation of plants, and plant hybridization. Dr. Hochwender also carries out research on the subject of restoration ecology. Currently, he is collecting native seeds and using them to help enhance the plant diversity of Vectren Conservation Park, an 1100-acre research site on the Wabash River.
Donald L. Batema, PhD
Dr. Batema teaches in the chemistry department and also courses in the Environmental Studies program, most recently an Introduction to Soils.
Research interests: Dr. Batema's research examines the dynamic nature of wetlands, specifically the important functions that these ecosystems provide, as well as the organisms that use wetlands. He has had students work on a variety of projects including: using macroinvertebrates to assess water quality, analyzing atrazine in natural and created wetlands, determining the physical and chemical characteristics of wetland soils, documenting the odonate diversity of wetlands, and studying the diversity and density of birds in wetland habitats.
Arlen D. Kaufman, PhD
Dr. Kaufman teaches several courses associated with environmental studies, including an introductory course for non-majors and upper-level courses in analytical methods.
Research Interests: Professor Kaufman's research interests are in the area of analytical method development and environmental analysis. His current research projects include using cold vapor atomic absorption spectroscopy with microwave-assisted acid digestion to monitor mercury in soil and fish tissue samples from the local environment and using liquid chromatography coupled with tandem mass spectrometry to monitor herbicides, pharmaceuticals, and personal care products in river, pond, and well water samples from Vectren Conservation Park, an 1100-acre research site on the Wabash River.