College of Science

AMWS Alumni tackles Climate Science at the South Pole

October 19, 2018

Cherisa Friedlander, a recent graduate of the Applied Marine and Watershed Science master’s program (now known as ENSCI), has been on quite the adventure since graduation. Directly following commencement, she embarked on a 13-month assignment at the Amundsen-Scott South Pole Station in Antarctica.

Cherisa currently serves as a Lieutenant in the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) Corps, one of the nation’s seven uniformed services. Her primary role in the South Pole consists of maintaining NOAA’s Atmospheric Research Observatory, granting her the title of ARO station chief. Her days are often spent monitoring atmospheric CO2, chlorofluorcarbons (CFCs), and the ozone hole. As an active duty NOAA Corps officer, Cherisa has had the pleasure of serving at several stations across the country, sailing the Atlantic and Pacific Ocean, and most recently - wintering over in Antarctica.

While pursuing her graduate studies at CSUMB, Cherisa conducted research on Petrale Sole and fish reproductive ecology, took courses in advanced marine science and policy, and obtained her open water SCUBA certification. Reflecting on the skills she strengthened throughout the graduate program, public speaking is one she feels she was able to substantially build upon. Cherisa recalls

Giving presentations in many of my courses really helped me hone in on my public speaking skills, and communication is key in my job." She offered a bit of insight, “The more you practice, the better you get, and it really helps instill confidence when interacting in the real world.

Overall, Cherisa strongly believes that serving in the NOAA Corps has been a rewarding experience; allowing her to combine her dedication to service with her love for science.

Keep up the excellent work, Cherisa! On behalf of the School of Natural Sciences, we thank you for your service.

Interested in learning more about life at the South Pole? Check out Cherisa’s radio interview on RNZ's website.