Erika Koontz '17

    Major: Environmental Studies

    I work at the Smithsonian Environmental Research Center as a research technician studying marsh farts, or greenhouse gas emissions from tidal wetlands. I am responsible for the monthly sampling of marsh porewater, fluxes (gas emissions over time), and measuring plant growth. I also lead an annual summer campaign using mail-in sampling kits to 17 of the 29 National Estuarine Research Reserves (NERRs), which are managed by NOAA.

    Favorite Class

    Wetland Ecology with Dr. Van Meter—obviously because I do wetland stuff now! I also really do enjoy the science that happens in the land-water interface, and that class taught me a lot about the diverse environments that occur in that space.

    Fondest WC Memory

    Going on Spring Break in 2014 to Columbus, Georgia, with the Washington College Habitat for Humanity club.

    Let’s Hear It for the Liberal Arts

    My internship with the Washington College Geographic Information Systems (GIS) lab gave me real, on the job experience that I have been able to apply in every single position I have had since (and before!) I graduated.


    Take a GIS class or basics of computing! You may not be directly interested in it, but the cognitive skills you gain from learning about maps and/or coding are valuable in ALL industries.