College of Science

Environmental Science MS

ENSCI Graduate Student Monitors Greenhouse Gas Emissions

Stefanie Kortman is a current graduate student in the Environmental Science master's program and an alumna of the Environmental Science, Technology, and Policy undergraduate program at CSUMB. She currently serves as a Graduate Assistant in the Department of Biology and Chemistry and is a recipient of the California State University Agricultural Research (CSU ARI) Institute Scholarship.

To prepare for a career in Environmental Science, Kortman chose to pursue the Professional Science Master's (PSM) track. The PSM track equips graduate students with a 400-hour professional internship that allows them to advance the skills they acquired in the classroom in a professional setting. PSM students often leave the program with unique technical skill sets that help distinguish them as they enter the workforce.

We recently touched base with Stefanie to learn more about how her PSM internship has helped advance her skills. To read more, check out her interview below.

Internship title: Greenhouse Gas Emissions Project Coordinator

What kind of work are you conducting at your internship site?

I am managing soil greenhouse gas emissions monitoring projects for a USDA collaborative project that focuses on organic, non-fumigating alternatives to soil-borne disease management in strawberries. In my role I am revising and updating protocols for field sampling and lab experiments with a novel gas analyzing instrument, as well as enhancing data processing methods by writing programming script that automates many aspects of data management, visualization, and statistical analysis.

How is your PSM project contributing to your professional goals?

My project is contributing to my professional goals by providing opportunities to engage in more sophisticated experimental design and data analysis for agriculture-based research. Additionally, I am continuing to build skills in communicating and collaborating with other researchers around the nation and partnering with commercial farmers in the Monterey Bay region to achieve goals that address soil health and agricultural sustainability. It is from these experiences and relationships that I am better able to advance my career in the direction I feel most fulfilled.

What is your favorite part about being a graduate student at CSUMB?

What I enjoy most about being a graduate student at CSUMB is the diversity of backgrounds from which students and professors come and the passion they each have for what they are doing or want to accomplish.

What are you aiming to do after graduate school?

After completing graduate school I will continue research on current grants - and hopefully new grant-funded research for which I am currently applying - and will continue to pursue additional opportunities that focus on addressing challenges to sustainable crop production in the greater Monterey Bay region.

To learn more about the agricultural research that takes place at CSUMB, check out the Haffa Lab web page.