UNDERGRADUATE ECS B.A. & B.S. PROGRAM
EXploration science m.p.s.
Helmed by Keene Haywood, the program has grown rapidly. Currently, there are 8 students enrolled in the ES track. They take courses in citizen and participatory science, the ethics of exploration, risk assessment for expeditions, research diving, and exploration technology and media, even building and operating their own drones. Students have interned in Antarctica, Australia, and South Florida. ES graduates have found positions both in the public and private sectors.
Testimonials from some Abess Center Ph.D.s
Dr. Karlisa Callwood, 2016
"I was honored to be selected as part of the first PhD cohort with the Abess Center. Because of the program, I didn’t need to narrow my research interests down to one discipline. The interdisciplinary nature of the program allowed me to design my own coursework, focusing only on classes I needed for my research. I am also thankful to the Abess Center for helping me find funding each year, particularly the last couple years as I was finishing up. I am now the first person in my family with a doctorate and for most of the underserved students I have worked with over the past decade, I am the first black female they know who has earned a PhD in science. It has also meant a lot to me to see that there were women of color in each cohort every year."
Dr. Austin Gallagher, 2015
"The Abess Center provided me a strong basis for asking questions about how humans interact with the environment, and introduced me to readings, lessons, and approaches I would not have been keyed in on in other doctoral programs. The program also nurtured my skill set and interests in science communication that extend beyond solely publishing, which is crucial for engaging with the public and stakeholders. Today I am now full-time running my ocean conservation NGO, Beneath the Waves, and am working with a number of Foundations, partners, and corporations to advance marine conservation research on threatened species."
Dr. Katie Crosley Beem, 2014
"The Abess Center has taught me what it means to be an explorer, of both life and knowledge. It taught me to tackle challenges at times I didn't think were surmountable and how to be a critical thinker, scholar, and an interdisciplinary collaborator. I am now a lecturer and academic/residential coordinator at Cornell in Washington (a DC semester program for Cornell University) where I mentor students on their own research projects and am slooooowly building up a research program for my own work in urban social-ecological issues."
Dr. Temitope Alimi, 2016
"Abess Center was my ticket to the United States and opened a whole new world to me! I chose Abess Center for my graduate study mainly because of the interdisciplinary nature of the department. I was cognizant of the fact that providing answers to the kind of questions my research would raise would require knowledge of more than one discipline. Abess more than surpassed my expectations in this regard, because I was able to get working knowledge of many other disciplines that I couldn’t have gotten otherwise. But beyond the academic excellence is the rapport, dependability and that feeling of family that I came to associate with the center while I was there. Every student knew the staff got their backs, people (Gina, Andee, Kenny, Keene) were always on hand to help whenever needed. Beyond further developing my mind and thinking capabilities, I was able to forge friendships both with staff and students that I can’t trade for the world. May I use this opportunity to thank you, Leonard and Jayne Abess, for your endowment to this center and for giving people like me, a little girl from Lagos, with a big dream, the chance to come and actualize my dream. Thank you."
Dr. Jill Ulrich, 2016
"I owe my initiation in policy research to the Abess Center, which provided all of the guidance, encouragement, and resources needed to apply a multidisciplinary approach to researching mosquito-borne disease control. It is a truly unique program, and I don't think I could have had the freedom to pursue my research interests in such a holistic way anywhere else. I believe wholeheartedly in what the Abess Center is doing. It will always be home to me. I think I will always feel the desire to give back to and be a part of the Abess Center in any way I can."
Dr. Caitlin Augustin, 2017
"It’s hard to overstate what a huge impact the Abess Center has had on my life. My dissertation let me focus on one of the Grand Challenges of Engineering: Developing Carbon Sequestration Methods. The fact that I got to focus on a matter of such importance was a huge deal - I wanted my time in grad school to be “beyond the lab.” I walked into uncharted territory - both for myself and the field. I’ve been able to sit on panels, attend Congressional hearings, engage in international debates, and tour research labs due to the topic I studied. The Abess Center gave me the freedom to engage not just with researchers, but with policy members and practitioners. It taught me how to be taken seriously - to present critical analysis, to articulate the broader context of my problem, to seek out unconventional research pathways. The Abess Center, and its commitment to interdisciplinarity, gave me the skills that are so essential in the workplace today--such as survey design and methodology, decision sciences, program evaluation and impact measurement--things I would have missed if I had done just the 'hard' sciences, instead of the 'harder' sciences, as Kenny is fond of saying!"
Dr. Julia Wester, 2015
"Completing my PhD at the Abess Center changed my life. It exposed me to ideas and people I never would have encountered otherwise and gave me the opportunity to work collaboratively with people from such diverse backgrounds. The experiences I had there led me to work with a great group of innovative people on issues that I care about, continuing to work to save the environment, increase research opportunities for students, and expand outreach on the ocean. The Abess Center was critical to setting me on the path I am on now in ways that another, less innovative and interdisciplinary program never would have."