Student Research

A female student researching on a boatTwo avenues exist for qualifying junior or senior environmental studies majors to conduct original research on an environmental topic under the supervision of an Environmental Studies Council faculty member. The senior project enables students to acquire three to six hours of credit while conducting research during the course of the senior year. In addition, Randolph-Macon's Schapiro Undergraduate Research Fellowship (SURF) program provides qualified rising juniors or seniors with a stipend and housing to conduct research during the summer before the junior or senior year.

Example research projects conducted by Environmental Studies students include:

  • Using Geographic Information Systems to explore the relationship between land use and stream health (Troy Andersen)
  • Natural variation in fish communities in central Virginia streams: Implications for stream health monitoring programs (Meghan Ayers)
  • Factors affecting distribution and abundance of stream insects in mountain streams (Ryan Boggs)
  • Volume-storage capacity and media degradation of Filterra® Stormwater Bioretention filtration systems (Matt Brim)
  • Developing engineering criteria for water withdrawals for fish protection (Brian Cleary)
  • Assessing macroinvertebrate communities in streams impaired by fecal coliform in the vicinity of Lake Anna, Virginia (Ryan Cramer)
  • Atrazine pesticides in the South Anna River (Scott Currie)
  • Low Impact Development studies and implementation at Randolph-Macon College (Allison Dungan).
  • Habitat parameters that control the distribution and abundance of the federally-threatened Puritan Tiger Beetle (Cicindela puritana) on the bluffs and beaches of the Upper Chesapeake Bay (Christine Ebert)
  • Potomac River Estuary: Bedload Sediment Source or Sink? (Heather Fleming)
  • Water quality monitoring in the Pamunkey River near the Totopotomoy waste-water treatment plant (Lauren Grimmer)
  • Students with nets performing research in a creek.A habitat management plan for the pond at DeJarnette Park, Ashland, Virginia (Morgan Hyatt)
  • Food and floods: understanding factors that influence stream trout movement (Morgan Hyatt)
  • Factors affecting distribution and abundance of native brook trout in mountain streams (John Jordan)
  • Surf’s up: But does it bring sand from offshore to eastern Virginia’s barrier islands? (Gabe Kachuba)
  • Estuarine circulation and sediment transport: Kennebec River Estuary, Maine (Brad Knisley)
  • Mercury concentrations in fish caught by anglers in local Virginia Rivers (Rachel McLoughlin)
  • Assessing decadal scale changes to a giant sand wave field in Eastern Long Island Sound (Matt Moore)
  • Transitive inference as it applies to dominance hierarchy formation in brook trout (Salvelinus fontinalis) (Catherine Noyes)
  • Mapping erosion hazard areas in the City of Virginia Beach (Stephanie Parker)
  • Spawning behavior and hybridization of two Darter species native to Central Virginia (Carrie Peirce and Matt Convery)
  • Habitat preference and the effects of beach nourishment on the federally-threatened Northeastern Beach Tiger Beetle, Cicindela dorsalis dorsalis: western shore, Chesapeake Bay, Virginia (Chris Reed)
  • Effect of enriched atmospheric carbon dioxide on kudzu Pueraria lobata and dandelion Taraxacum officinale competition (Ben Rowe)
  • Stream monitoring methods suitable for citizen volunteers working in the Coastal Plain and Lower Piedmont Regions of Virginia (Mindy Ruby, Lauren Grimmer, Ryan Knisley)
  • A threatened species of northeastern tiger beetle, Cincindela dorsalis dorsalis as an indicator of beach health (Scott Shifflett)
  • Biomagnification and trophic transfer of polychlorinated biphenyls in the food web of the James River near Richmond, Virginia (Ashley Smith)
  • The role of individual recognition and transitive inference in the development of dominance hierarchies in brook trout (Shannon White)
  • Effectiveness of habitat enhancement for increasing trout populations in Colorado (Shannon White and Josh Harris)
  • The role of social learning in development of search images in foraging brook trout (Shannon White, Arba Williamson, and Josh Harris)
  • The influence of the nearshore geologic framework on the morphodynamics of the northern Virginia barrier islands (Bray Wilkins)