Department of Applied Environmental Science
AES Lecturer is Dedicated to Igniting Students' Interest in Environmental Science
Andria “Andi” Greene, a lecturer in the Department of Applied Environmental Science, is passionate about science and serving students.
In 2023, she received the CSUMB Exceptional Level of Service to Students award. This award recognizes faculty who go above and beyond in enhancing the student learning environment for undergraduate and graduate students. We recently touched base with Andi to learn more about her career and what led her to CSUMB. Check out her interview below.
What led you to CSUMB?
I was looking to impact my community in some way - working in the private sector as a restoration ecologist was a lot of field time (I loved that!), but I felt oddly out of touch with the STEM community. As a graduate student, I felt confident yet challenged in front of the classroom. Teaching at a university would not only grow my own knowledge, but it would teach me humility. Being wrong is a part of the scientific process, and my students are quick to correct me! I hope to foster a safe environment that wasn't always accessible to me during my STEM education.
What is your favorite part of being a lecturer?
I am innately aware of the privilege it is to walk on the grounds of an academic institution! As many as 15 million girls are denied access to education - for a destiny barred by the four walls of a home or by the reality of war. So, everyday I try to remind myself how remarkable it is that I live in a place that allows me to follow my dreams. Holding my chin up high, I smile as if it's my duty to carry the world forward for the lost voices and perspectives of women and girls in the past, present, and future. This feeling is ethereal, but one I have felt ever since I walked onto university grounds as a freshman.
What are the courses that you've taught/are currently teaching?
I teach students how to become literate and excited about the environmental sciences (ENVS 201: Intro to Environmental Science) - to think not only of the planet, but also of people. I also teach students how to ID minerals, survey local streams, and I teach them the significance of water and rock resources on earth (GEOL 260: Hydrology and Geology)!
What is your background? (Educational, professional)
I grew up playing in the marsh of the Chesapeake Bay with my half Hispanic/half white family. I have six siblings! So it became my duty to show them what they can do with an education - especially my three sisters. As a first-gen student, I navigated applying to universities (only 2 - one of which I was waitlisted) and applying for financial aid and grants/scholarships. I accepted my offer at Virginia Tech because they gave me some money, otherwise, I would have gone to a local community college and transferred to a university as my older brother did. Then, I got an internship in my hometown at the Virginia Institute of Marine Science (VIMS) during my first summer. I didn't get into the NSF REU program, but somehow was persistent enough to get a lab tech position sorting marine invertebrates under a microscope! This was for an oyster restoration project. Upon returning to campus, I began research with Dr. Mike Aust looking at freshwater invertebrates as an indicator of stream health adjacent to the experimental forest where trees were routinely harvested. By graduation time, I earned a graduate fellowship (NSF GRFP) to study at UC Santa Cruz with Dr. Margaret Zimmer. Within a short time, I knew that the PhD fast track wasn't for me. So I earned an M.S. for my work in the marsh of the Elkhorn Slough - studying how well the marsh removed nitrogen (a common, widespread pollutant from fertilizer). My path has been anything but linear - with many "fail forwards" - and I feel as if it's just begun.
What hobbies do you like to participate in during your free time?
I have been a fly fisher for almost a decade! My husband and I can be found deep in the Sierra Nevada mountains fishing. I also love to read - at the moment, my favorite books are Code Breaker by Walter Isaacson (about CRISPER cas9 co-founder Dr. Jennifer Doudna) and Revolutionary Suicide by Dr. Huey P. Newton (co-founder of Black Panther Party for Self Defense and alumni of UC Santa Cruz). I also co-host a new podcast with my scientist bestie: Badass Women in STEM.
Anything else you would like to share?
I am the daughter of an Army veteran - my mom did tours in Kuwait and Iraq, and then started training to become a helicopter pilot. Now, she writes about her economic theory: Moneyless Economy Initiative (MEI). She is my role model!