An environmental trailblazer in California

As the assistant deputy director for climate and energy at the California Department of Forestry and Fire Protection (CAL FIRE), Angie Lottes ’09 plays a pivotal role in fighting catastrophic wildfires on the West Coast. A love for the natural world, intellectual drive and work opportunities at Berry laid the foundation to this challenging—and rewarding—career.

When Angie began her freshman year at Berry, she started off in biology. But she soon discovered her interests more closely aligned with environmental science and tailored her courses to pursuits that would expose her to ecological studies and concerns. While diving into academic work, Angie got hands-on experience in ongoing campus endeavors like the Longleaf Pine Project, which seeks to re-establish a fire-maintained Mountain Longleaf ecosystem. She participated in the maintenance of frequent controlled (prescribed) burns that reduce the likelihood of wildfires in managed areas.

“For me, having classes on the edge of a huge native forest and fire ecology lab was transformational,” Angie says. “In addition to learning technical skills that I could use in future jobs like how to mix and spray herbicide, scratch fire lines, fill and use a drip torch, or prepare solutions for lab experiments, I also observed important processes like preparing prescribed fire plans and other management processes. This was useful in applying for jobs after graduation in terms of understanding opportunities and filling my resume, and also in understanding what work in the land management sector would entail.”

Professor of Biology Martin Cipollini, who championed Angie’s career interests, supervised her work on the Longleaf Pine Project and the prescribed burn team. “Angie is a great person and was instrumental in helping me get my Longleaf Pine Project off to a good start,” he says. “She was really enthusiastic and a hard worker in the field.”

After graduating from Berry, Angie worked on prescribed fire crews with the Nature Conservancy and earned a master’s degree in environmental systems from Humboldt State University. Additional studies and work with the Watershed Research and Training Center in California took her to the next level and her role as an environmental steward with CAL FIRE.

Angie offers advice for future Berry students: “Get out and travel. Not only will it help you interact better with the world, it may make you appreciate your Berry experience even more.”

Combining a love of nature and a passion for people

For as long as 2018 grad Emmie Cornell can remember, she has loved learning about the environment. It’s only natural that her chosen career path would take her to a nonprofit in West Virginia where she currently works as the watershed manager for the Friends of Blackwater conservation organization.

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Mountain biker finds his path through research

Berry’s expansive campus gave 2019 graduate Nigel Groce-Wright the unique opportunity to combine his love for mountain biking with academic research. Now, he’ll attend graduate school at Virginia Tech on a full scholarship.

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Henry Gund Professor of Biology David Bruce Conn

Dr. Bruce Conn was the invited keynote speaker for the American Microscopical Society Keynote Lecture presented at the recent meeting of the Society of Integrative and Comparative Biology in Tampa, Fla.  The title of his lecture was “Infectious Disease Epidemiology Meets Functional Morphology: How Parasites Move Between and Within Hosts.”

Conn also authored two papers in biomedical science that were published with collaborators from Helsinki, Finland and Warsaw, Poland.  These papers are:

1.      Immunoproteomics and surfaceomics of the adult tapeworm Hymenolepis diminuta. Frontiers in Immunology. https://dx.doi.org/10.3389/fimmu.2018.02487
2.      Effect of povidone iodine, chlorhexidine digluconate and toyocamycin on amphizoic amoebic strains, infectious agents of Acanthamoeba keratitis – a growing threat to human health worldwide. Annals of Agricultural and Environmental Medicine.  https://dx.doi.org/10.26444/aaem/99683

 

Biochem major sets her sights on Ph.D.

Senior Amber Kelley may have arrived at Berry undecided about her trajectory in life, but she will be graduating in spring on a definite path toward becoming a medical chemistry researcher.

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Berry alum works as a nuclear engineer

Berry alumnus James Padgett (2018 grad) is working as a nuclear engineer with Newport News Shipbuilding, a division of Huntington Ingalls Industries. Last year, James graduated with two degrees from two schools. How? He was a member of Berry’s Dual-Degree Engineering program, which allows students to acquire both a meaningful liberal arts education and a world-class technical education.

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