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Master of Science in Environmental Science

Master of Science in Environmental Science


University of Guam



(Research or Professional)



University of GuamThe graduate Environmental Science Program prepares students for professional employment, teaching, or advanced studies in environmental science and related disciplines. Courses are offered by faculty members from the College of Natural and Applied Sciences, the Water and Environmental Research Institute of the Western Pacific, the Marine Laboratory, and the College of Liberal Arts and Social Sciences. Specific objectives of the program include seeking answers to environmental questions, especially those arising in the developing island nations of the Western Pacific; promoting needed educational and service projects in island communities; and equipping graduates with the knowledge and skills needed for sound scientific inquiry and professional practice, and a solid understanding and commitment to professional ethics.



University of GuamThe Environmental Science Program faculty is committed to the search for objective truth; impartial, honest, and thorough scientific debate; and excellence in all endeavors.  We hold that scientists must have the integrity to not compromise research or other work in response to political, ideological, social, or financial pressures.  Scientific integrity also includes a commitment to share data and cooperate with others in their attempts to advance scientific understanding and replicate or verify the quality of previous work.  We seek to instill these values in our students through personal example as well as thoughtful academic instruction.





  • DENTON, Gary R.W., Professor, Environmental Toxicology
  • GOLABI, Mohammad H., Professor, Soil Science (Program Chair)
  • GONG, Hui, Associate Professor, Aquaculture
  • HABANA, Nathan C., Asst. Professor, Groundwater Hydrology
  • HOUK, Peter, Assistant Professor, Marine Biology
  • JENSON, John W., Professor, Environmental Geology (Chair, Program & Curriculum Committee)
  • JONES, Roseanne M., Professor, Economics
  • KERR, Alexander, Associate Professor, Marine Biology
  • KHOSROWPANAH, Shahram, Professor, Engineering
  • KING, Romina, Asst. Professor, Geography
  • LANDER, Mark A., Assistant Professor, Meteorology
  • MARLER, Thomas E., Professor, Pomology
  • McCONNELL, James, Professor, Ornamental Horticulture
  • MILLER, Ross H., Professor, Entomology (Chair, Recruiting & Admissions Committee)
  • MOORE, Aubrey, Associate Professor, Entomology
  • PETERSON, John A., Associate Professor, Anthropology
  • RAYMUNDO, Laurie, Professor, Marine Biology
  • RIGHETTI, Timothy L., Associate Professor, Biology
  • ROUSE, Joseph D., Associate Professor, Environmental Engineering (Program Recorder)
  • WEN, Yuming, Associate Professor, Geographic Information Systems



University of GuamUniversity of Guam


General Admission Requirements:

Applicants must first meet the Graduate Admission Standards for pre-candidacy as described on page 8 of this Graduate Bulletin. Once admitted for pre-candidacy by the University Graduate Studies office, they may then apply for admission to the Environmental Science Program.  In addition to the materials submitted for admission to pre-candidacy, applicants must submit the following to the Environmental Science Graduate Program Recruiting and Admission Committee: three letters of recommendation and a comprehensive statement of academic achievements, interests, professional goals, and specific reasons for pursuing a master’s degree in environmental science. 

Application packages are first evaluated by the Recruiting and Admission Committee, based on the submitted materials and the Background and Performance Requirements specified below.  The Recruiting and Admission Committee recommends acceptance or rejection of the application to the Program Chair.  Upon approval by the Chair, the applicant is admitted to the program.


Background and Performance Guidelines

The Environmental Science Program is built around three component disciplines: Biology-Ecology, Geoscience-Engineering, and Economics-Management.  Applicants are expected to have backgrounds related to at least one of these three disciplines. Related backgrounds are broadly defined.  For example, for Biology-Ecology, related disciplines include all the sub-disciplines of biology and other life sciences, such as physiology, biochemistry, or genetics; the health sciences; and agricultural, animal, and plant sciences.  Disciplines related to Geosciences-Engineering include the physical and natural sciences, particularly physics, chemistry, and earth, oceanographic, and atmospheric sciences.  Relevant disciplines also include engineering and applied sciences, particularly civil or environmental engineering, applied mathematics, statistics, and computer science.  Economics-Management-related backgrounds include economics, business, management, law, public administration, political science, and human, economic, or political geography. Applicants with other backgrounds, especially with interdisciplinary training or experience, who have completed the prerequisites listed below or can provide other evidence of their ability to successfully complete the core course requirements will be considered as well.

The recommended prerequisites listed below represent the ideal background preparation for each component discipline.  It is acknowledged, however, that capable students from any given undergraduate major may not necessarily have completed the full suite of courses listed.  Any of the listed prerequisites may therefore be waived by the Program Chair on the recommendation of the Recruiting and Admission Committee, based on its confidence that the applicant will nevertheless be able to successfully complete the core requirements (described in the section titled Degree Requirements, below).  Applicants who have taken the prerequisite courses listed below should have no grade lower than a C in any of the courses listed for their discipline of interest. An applicant who does not meet these criteria may be admitted to the program on a provisional basis if a faculty member agrees to serve as his or her provisional advisor.  Full admission may be granted by the Program Chair on the recommendation of the Recruiting & Admission Committee after such a student has completed 12 hours of environmental science courses approved in advance by the student’s advisor, with grades of B or better in each of them, and has demonstrated to the satisfaction of the provisional advisor, the Recruiting and Admission Committee, and the Program Chair that he or she has remedied whatever deficiencies the committee identified when it recommended provisional admission. 

Recommended Disciplinary Prerequisites

Quantitative Methods (preparation for core requirements in advanced methods)

Mathematics: 2 semesters calculus (differential & integral)
Methods: statistics and geographic information systems (upper level, i.e., 300 or 400 level)

    • Physics: 1 semester general physics with lab
    • Chemistry: 2 semesters inorganic chemistry with lab and 2 semesters organic chemistry with lab
    • Biology: 2 semesters of general biology with lab
    • Physics: 2 semesters general physics with lab
    • Chemistry: 2 semesters general chemistry with lab
    • Biology: 1 semester biological/life science
    • Physics: 1 semester general physics
    • Chemistry: 1 semester general chemistry
    • Biology: 1 semester biological/life science
    • Economics & business: 1 semester microeconomics and 1 semester intro to business or public administration



University of GuamUpon admission, students must choose and be accepted by a faculty advisor with expertise in their selected sub-discipline.  Subsequently, the student’s individual program is developed by the student in consultation with his or her advisor, and the student’s advisory committee.  Final program approval requires endorsement by the Chair of the Environmental Science Program, with subsequent approval by the Assistant Vice President for Graduate Studies & Sponsored Programs.  In consultation with his or her advisor, each student must select which of the two tracks he or she will follow:  research or professional, as described below.  For the research track, the capstone experience is a research thesis.  For the professional track there are three options: a professional thesis, an internship, or additional coursework with a related research paper.  Students may only apply for degree candidacy and register for capstone credits after their proposal has been presented to and approved by their advisory committee, as described below.



The Core Requirement

The University of Guam’s graduate Environmental Science Program is a rigorous and challenging program, designed to produce graduates equipped with essential knowledge and skills and committed to the highest standards of professional integrity in research and application of science to matters of public interest.  The core requirement thus consists of six courses totaling 18 credit hours:

  • The “inner core” is three courses totaling 9 credit hours, centered on the essential skills of scientific thought and practice and advanced methods of applied environmental science.  Scientific Competence & Integrity (EV/BI508, 3 credit hours) addresses critical thinking, the defining methods of science, evolution of scientific thought and practice, the application of science to public problems, and historical and contemporary ethical issues in scientific and professional practice.  The inner core further includes two methods courses: a technical writing course, and one of two advanced quantitative methods courses, at the choice of the student.  Biological Literature & Scientific Writing (EV/BI503, 2 credit hours) develops and hones skills in scientific and technical writing.  For their advanced quantitative methods course, students may choose either of two courses: Advanced Statistical Methods (EV/BI507, 4 credit hours, with lab) or Advanced Geospatial Methods (EV558, 4 credit hours, with lab).  The course not chosen to meet the core requirement may, of course, be taken as an elective.

  • Building on these central courses, is an “outer core” of three 3 credit hour courses in each of the respective sub-disciplines of environmental science: Biology-Ecology (EV510), Geosciences-Engineering (EV511), and Economics-Management-Law (EV512).  Students take all three of these courses, irrespective of which sub-discipline they choose for their concentration.  This second suite of core courses thus equips each student with the essential knowledge and skills from each of the three sub-disciplines that define environmental science. 

The Elective Requirement

Beyond the core, each student must complete at least three elective courses for a total of at least 9 credit hours related to his or her selected area of concentration and agreed upon by his or her advisor.  Elective courses should support the student’s proposed capstone requirement within either the research or professional track, as described below.  Students who desire to take additional electives (i.e., beyond the requirement) may do so with the consent of their advisor, but students need take no more than three elective courses to meet the degree requirement.  Students may include no more than one 400G-level course among their electives, nor may electives include 400G-level courses in statistics, geographic information systems, or any other subject that is a prerequisite for admission to the program.

The Capstone Requirement

For the research thesis or professional thesis options, the capstone requirement is 6 hours of thesis (EV695) credit.  For the internship option, the capstone requirement is 6 hours of internship (EV698) credit.  For the research-paper/coursework option, the capstone requirement is an additional 9 hours of coursework credit with a related research paper derived from the current professional literature. These requirements are based on the expectation that full-time students will complete their program in two years.



Students must maintain at least a B (3.00) average, with no more than one grade of C in all courses taken for credit.  Students may retake any course for which they have received a grade of C.  However, any student who fails to improve his or her grade to at least a B after re-taking the course and whose record shows two unimproved C grades as a result, will be dismissed from the program.




University of GuamRESEARCH TRACK

The purpose of the research track is to prepare students for advanced (doctoral level) studies in environmental science and related disciplines, or careers in scientific or professional work for which a research background is necessary or desirable.  The capstone requirement for the research track is thus a traditional research thesis, for which the student earns 6 hours of academic credit. General requirements for research theses are described on page 11 of the Graduate Bulletin. Research theses are expected to make an original contribution to the selected sub-discipline and reflect mastery of the knowledge and skills required to successfully pursue advanced study and research in environmental science. 



The purpose of the professional track is to produce competent and credentialed scientists specifically prepared for employment in industry, government, or education.  Students following the professional track may select one of the three options described below: professional thesis, internship, or additional coursework with a research paper.  The professional track options demand the same mastery of basic knowledge and skills required of the research-track students, including writing skills.  These options, however, accommodate students planning professional careers in industry, government, or education rather than scientific research careers. The professional track option requires submission of a professional thesis, which requires the same standards as for a research thesis, and may (as the research track) leave open the possibility of progressing to advanced (doctoral level) studies. The internship option requires a report, which must be worthy of a typical consultant’s report from a major (year-long) project or substantive agency publication (such as a comprehensive regulatory guideline), and requires the same level of effort as a research or professional thesis. The research paper for the coursework option must be derived from the current relevant professional literature and comprise no fewer than 20 pages, double-spaced, 12-point Times Roman font, inclusive of figures and references.  The thesis or paper should be worthy, in accordance with the topic, of local and/or on-line publication as a technical report, user’s manual, review paper, or educational pamphlet.  Each option also requires a comprehensive oral defense presentation following submission of the thesis or paper.  Following the defense, the student corrects or revises the thesis or paper, based on the committee’s review of it.  The grade (Pass or Fail) is based on the committee’s evaluation of the final report or paper and the outcome of the oral examination. General requirements for capstone documents are contained in the Graduate Bulletin. 


Professional Thesis Option

This option consists of a 6 credit hour professional thesis (EV695) agreed upon by the student and committee, and approved by the program chair.  Examples would include the development of a major database; solution of a practical environmental engineering problem; or construction of an educational website containing animations, databases, and informative or instructional material on a selected local or regional environmental problem.  The student prepares a proposal agreed upon by the student and committee, and approved by the Program Chair.  At the completion of the project, the student prepares and presents a written thesis, as specified above, and stands for a comprehensive oral examination (thesis defense) before his or her committee. 

Example: The student was employed as a WERI Research Assistant.  Her coursework focused on groundwater hydrology, and she designed, developed, and documented a comprehensive database of historical and current water wells drilled on northern Guam. The Northern Guam Lens Aquifer Database consists of a spreadsheet that contains basic information on 525 wells, including locations, depth, use, custodial agency, with each cell linked to digital appendices that contain all of the historical records that could be located for the well, including drilling and pump test logs, and design and construction records.   The database is published at WERI Technical Report 141 and is now a permanent on-line water resource management tool for water managers, educators, scientists, and engineers.


Internship Option

This option consists of a semester-length 6 credit hour (or equivalent) internship (EV698) with an environmental firm or government agency, under collaborative supervision of an academic advisor and workplace supervisor.  The internship must include work on a specific project, product, or set of projects and products.  These are agreed upon in advance by the student and his or her advisory committee (which includes the workplace supervisor), and approved by the Program Chair.  At the completion of the internship, the student prepares and presents a written report, as specified above, on the project undertaken during the internship, with the purpose and content of the report agreed on in advance by the student and the committee.  The model for the internship product is a report or document such as typically results from a major project at private firm or government agency.  Following review of the report by the advisory committee, the student stands for a comprehensive oral defense.  

Example: (Hypothetical) The student is employed with the environmental office of the local US Navy Facilities Engineering Command.  As part of his work he is required to coordinate the production of an Environmental Impact Assessment in conjunction with the relocation of some wetlands on DOD property.  In consultation with his academic and professional supervisors, he prepares a formal report, which meets the requirements of the command, and which he presents to his committee.


Research Paper-Coursework Option

University of GuamThis option requires 9 credit hours of additional coursework equivalent to a second, and separate, major sub-discipline. The student may select the second concentration from among the three sub-disciplines (Biology-Ecology, Geosciences-Engineering, or Economics-Management) or a second concentration in a relevant inter-disciplinary field, such as Mathematics, Micronesian Studies, or Business Administration. Thus, in addition to selecting 9 credit hours for his or her first sub-discipline, the student selects courses comprising 9 additional credit hours in another appropriate field.  Examples of appropriate courses include probability and statistics, or numerical analysis, from Mathematics; physical geography, health and human adaptation, or economic development in Micronesia, from Micronesian Studies; or management and economics courses from Business Administration. These courses may include no more than one special topic or reading and conference course. The committee must include members with expertise in the two concentrations selected, and agree on the curriculum proposed by the student. The student also prepares a proposal for a research paper, as specified above, which must address a topic related to both of the two selected concentration areas of coursework and offer some judgment or present an argument, drawing on a comprehensive review of the current scientific literature. The topic must be agreed upon by the committee and approved by the Program Chair. The paper does not require original research, but must draw from the appropriate works from the current professional literature, based on a comprehensive review of the literature. On completion of the coursework, the student prepares and submits the paper to the advisory committee and stands for a comprehensive oral defense.          

Example:  (Hypotehical) The student is employed as an instructor at the College of Micronesia. For the  research paper, the student conducts a comprehensive literature search on the historical incidence of El Nino-related droughts in Micronesia and prepares a summary paper describing its effects, and the human responses to them in Micronesia.  He/she selects Geology/Engineering as his/her first major sub-discipline concentration, comprised of Hydrology (EV542), Hydrogeology (EV543) and Tropical Climate and Climate Variability (EV535). For the second sub-discipline concentration field he selects Micronesian Studies, with Physical Geography of Micronesia (EV/MI506), Health and Human Adaptation in Micronesia (EV514), and Economic Development and Change in Micronesia (EV520). Based on knowledge gained from the suite of courses he searches, studies and critically evaluates the literature pertaining to water resources on Micronesia and similar islands. He/she then prepares a paper informed by his studies and citing his/her research, on a selected issue or problem.



Each student must complete the core requirement, consisting of 18 credit hours, plus at least three elective courses totaling at least 9 hours of elective credits. Electives may include no more than one course at 400G level, nor may electives include 400G-level courses in statistics, geographic information systems, or any other subject that is a prerequisite for admission to the program.  Students in the research track must also complete 6 hours of thesis credit.  Similarly, students taking the professional thesis or internship options within the professional track (as described in the previous section), must complete 6 hours of professional thesis or internship credit.  For students taking the research paper-coursework option within the professional track, the capstone requirement includes 9 credit hours of additional elective courses and a research paper (as described above).  These coursework and capstone requirements are summarized in the table below.


Curriculum Component







Fundamentals of Scientific Practice and Tools of Environmental Science*
(inner core)

Scientific Competence & Integrity



Advanced Statistical Methods, or
Advanced Geospatial Methods

EV/BI507 or EV558


Biological Literature & Scientific Writing




Component Disciplines
(outer core)







Economics-Management Law





As appropriate to support capstone research

or professional thesis. (No more than 3 hours of 400G level.)

 At least 3 courses






Research   thesis,   professional   thesis,   or internship (Not required for Research Paper-Coursework Option

EV695 or 698 ♣





Professional Track Research paper-Coursework option: paper plus 9 more credit hours of electives (but no thesis hours) ♣♣
























 *Students should take these courses in the first year of their program.

** Electives may not include 400G courses in statistics or GIS, or other program prerequisites.

♣ Research Thesis (EV695), Professional Thesis, or Professional Internship (EV698).

♣♣ Students selecting the research paper-coursework option within the Professional Track must take an additional 9 hours of electives in lieu of 6 credit hours of thesis, for a total of 18 elective credit hours, and submit and defend a research paper.


Research spans topics of global, regional, and local interest. 
Recent and ongoing projects include: 






Invasive species on tropical islands

West Pacific climatic history

Watershed management, Pohnpei Island, FSM

Tropical island terrestrial & aquatic ecology

Atoll island hydrology and modeling

Land coverage strategies for soil erosion control in southern Guam

Assessment & preservation of biodiversity

Geologic map of Guam

Land cover accuracy assessment for southern Guam

Systematics of Micronesian insects

Carbonate island karst geology of Guam, Saipan, Tinian, Aguijan,Rota, and Fais

Remote sensing applications to soil erosion and sediment loading in southern Guam badlands

Developing composting technology as a waste management strategy for resource recovery and recycling of organic wastes 

Modeling the Northern Guam Lens Aquifer

 A training needs assessment for hazardous waste handlers at Camp Butler, Okinawa.



Saltwater intrusion in the Northern Guam Lens Aquifer

An evaluation of public participation in the EIA process in Palau.  



Dye trace studies of Guam’s aquifer and coastal zones

An assessment of the Environmental Education curriculum in Chuuk State, FSM public schools. 



Groundwater resources on Fais Island, Yap State, FSM

Using vetiver technology for mitigating sedimentation to improve the water quality in order to protect coral reefs 



Modeling recharge for the Northern Guam Lens Aquifer

Using composted organic waste as an alternative to synthetic fertilizers to improve soils agricultural sustainability in Guam and Micronesia  



Water distribution system modeling for island water supplies



Water distribution system modeling for island water supplies



Slow sand filter technology for FSM drinking water



Soil erosion modeling for southern Guam watersheds


Program Chair

University of Guam

Professor, Environmental Engineering and Program Chair

Office Location: WERI Bldg. Room 112
Mailing Address: UOG Station, Mangilao, Guam 96923
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University of Guam


Office Location: WERI Bldg., Rm. 113
Mailing Address: UOG Station, Mangilao, Guam 96923
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University of Guam

Assistant Professor

Marine Lab
Office Location: Marine Lab, Rm. 102
Mailing Address: UOG Station, Mangilao, Guam 96923
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University of Guam


Office Location: WERI Bldg., Rm. 114
Mailing Address: UOG Station, Mangilao, Guam 96923
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University of Guam

Professor, Economics

Office Location: SBPA Bldg., Rm. 119
Mailing Address: UOG Station, Mangilao, Guam 96923
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University of Guam

Associate Professor

Marine Lab
Office Location: Marine Lab, Rm. 109
Mailing Address: UOG Station, Mangilao, Guam 96923
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University of Guam

Interim Dean, School of Engineering

Office Location: WERI Bldg., Rm. 102
Mailing Address: UOG Station, Mangilao, Guam 96923


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University of Guam

Assistant Professor

Office Location: Dean Circle, House #5
Mailing Address: UOG Station, Mangilao, Guam 96923
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University of Guam

Professor, Pomology

Office Location: Agriculture & Life Sciences Bldg., 3rd Flr., Rm. 319
Mailing Address: UOG Station, Mangilao, Guam 96923
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University of Guam

Professor, Ornamental Horticulture

Office Location: Agriculture & Life Sciences Bldg., 3rd Flr., Rm. 317
Mailing Address: UOG Station, Mangilao, Guam 96923
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University of Guam

Professor, Entomology

Office Location: Dean's Circle, House 35
Mailing Address: UOG Station, Mangilao, Guam 96923
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University of Guam

Associate Professor, Extension Entomologist

Office Location: Agriculture & Life Sciences Bldg. 1st Floor, Room 105H
Mailing Address: UOG Station, Mangilao, Guam 96923
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University of Guam

Assistant Vice President, Graduate Studies, Research, and Sponsored Programs (GSRSP)/Director, Center for Island Sustainability (CIS)

Center for Island Sustainability
Graduate Studies, Sponsored Programs & Research
Office Location: GSRSP Office, 1st Floor, Health Science Bldg.
Mailing Address: UOG Station, Mangilao, Guam 96923
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University of Guam

Associate Professor

Marine Lab
Office Location: Marine Lab, Rm. 101
Mailing Address: UOG Station, Mangilao, Guam 96923
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University of Guam

Associate Professor, Biology

Office Location: Science Bldg., Rm. 301
Mailing Address: UOG Station, Mangilao, Guam 96923
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University of Guam

Associate Professor

Office Location: WERI Bldg., Rm. 112
Mailing Address: UOG Station, Mangilao, Guam 96923
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University of Guam

Associate Professor, GIS

Office Location: WERI Bldg., Rm. 111
Mailing Address: UOG Station, Mangilao, Guam 96923
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University of GuamBeing a military spouse sometimes means you travel to exotic locations in faraway places.  When we were transferred to Guam I was excited to see an opportunity to continue my education in the Environmental Science Graduate Program at the University of Guam. 
I enrolled in the professional track and in the years I attended I gained experience in exploratory drilling, pump tests, paleoclimatology data collection, USGS data collection, and experience working with ArcGIS among many other practical and applicable job skills. 
I learned an incredible amount and gained a wealth of experience.  The professors really care about you and are available to help you succeed. 

The knowledge I gained from the program enabled me to successfully transfer my professional skills to our next assignment. I highly recommend this outstanding program!

Vivianna M. Bendixson, 2013
Research Analyst
Kessler Consulting, Inc
Tampa, FL 33613


University of Guam

My interest in island environments was the main reason why I chose the Graduate Environmental Science Program at the University of Guam. I attended UOG from 2011 to 2013.  The classes were challenging, engaging and fun. At the university, I was employed by the Water and Environmental Research Institute (WERI) as a research assistant.  Through WERI, I was able to work on my thesis, which involved a geographic information systems based assessment of cumulative and secondary impacts from developments in Northern Guam.  Aside from my thesis work, I was part of the paleo-climate team that studied the relationship between rainfall, cave drip water, and speolothem growths. I also assisted other WERI researchers in conducting streamflow measurements for watershed assessments.

Before graduation, I was fortunate enough to be offered an environmental specialist position with a Navy contractor DZSP21 LLC.  The scientific knowledge and fieldwork experience that UOG and WERI provided have helped shape my environmental career for the future. I am thankful towards the university, its faculty, and its students for giving me a memorable graduate experience.

Leena S. Muller, 2013
Environmental Specialist
DZSP21 LLC, Environmental Compliance
Naval Base Guam


University of GuamWERI's faculty and staff are highly  knowledgeable in their fields and wonderfully supportive of their students.  The classes were interesting and engaging, while the fieldwork was quite simply...fun.  Working with WERI professors on Guam Hydrologic Survey research projects, particularly my 2001 masters thesis on the Northern Guam Lens, expanded my scientific knowledge, required application of that knowledge to address real-world issues, and involved interaction with local agencies and public officials.  I didn't realize it at the time, but those experiences formed the foundation for a rewarding career permitting potable water and wastewater treatment facilities, using best professional judgment to solve problems, and working with public officials and private industry representatives.

Mauryn Quenga McDonald, P.E., 2001
Water Facilities Administrator
Florida Department of Environmental Protection
FDEP representative to the Tampa Bay Estuary Program Management Board and the Tampa Bay Nitrogen Management Consortium


Christine SimardThe Graduate Environmental Science Program at the University of Guam is a well-designed program that benefits from having diverse and knowledgeable professors and a tropical Pacific region in which to study.  I attended the EV program from 2010 to 2012 with a background in geology and geography and an interest in studying hydrogeology.  My research focused on the Northern Guam Lens Aquifer, Guam’s primary potable water supply, and the natural and anthropogenic factors that affect its salinity.  While involved in the program, I was also employed as a Research Assistant at the Water & Environmental Research Institute of the Western Pacific at UOG working on paleoclimate field research at two caves on northern Guam.  The field research experiences were highly rewarding for me.  I enjoyed the sense of community that comes with a small university on an island.  I was able to generate close working relationships with the professors, staff, and other EV program students.  My overall experience in the UOG EV program was extremely positive, and I am grateful to those involved in the program that strengthened my scientific understanding and forwarded my environmental career.

Christine A. Simard, 2012
Research Assistant III
Water & Environmental Research Institute of the Western Pacific
UOG Station
Mangilao, GU  96923



Leanne ObraWhat sets the Master of Science in Environmental Science program at UOG apart from other schools is its size.  Unlike the situation at most larger schools, the program is small enough that the professors and students have close interactions and each student receives individualized attention. UOG professors are also actively involved in research in a variety of areas.  As a conservation horticulturist, I had the unique opportunity to work closely with professors in several fields.  I worked with Dr. Mari Marutani managing laboratory and field experiments at Triton Farm, an integrated demonstration farm. Under Dr. Mohammad Golabi, we collaborated with Guam Water Works Authority to implement a low-cost Vetiver Grass Technology (VGT) experiment at the Inarajan Wastewater Treatment Plant. 

After graduating, I went on to work on a joint project with the University of Washington and UOG, the Ecology of Bird Loss Project.  This ongoing project will provide the first landscape-level assessment of the impacts of bird loss on an entire forest community and it will provide critical ecological indicators of the indirect impacts of the brown tree snake invasion.  

Through my formal education and work experiences, I have gained knowledge of a broad range of biological disciplines, including botany, ecology, geology, hydrology, forestry, soils, bio-statistics, entomology, ornithology, toxicology, and herpetology.  Besides getting a superb graduate education, I have created an extended network of friends and future colleagues, which includes not only my fellow students, but also the faculty.  The Environmental Science Program at UOG is packed full of interesting and diverse courses that will arm you with the knowledge and tools to make a real and positive difference in the world.

Leanne Obra, Biologist, 2009
USGS Brown Tree Snake Project
Tel: (671) 355-4014
Email: obral@usgs.gov



Rob MacCrackenThe Masters of Environmental Science program at the University of Guam is a well designed and robust curriculum that allows one to focus on a particular area of professional or academic interest, while guiding the student through a comprehensive and in-depth understanding of each of the important aspects of environmental science.  I have called upon the knowledge that I acquired in UOG’s Environmental Science program many times during my career as a hydrogeologist. 

After spending eight years in the mining industry of Western Australia and three years with Rio Tinto as a Project Hydrogeologist, I will be returning to academics and conducting research in pursuit of my PhD in Hydrogeology. I will likely be working at the University of Western Australia in association with the Commonwealth Scientific and Industrial Research Organisation (CSIRO). My career will become focused on research and academia and I hope to work in South America or Europe as a post-doc.

The Environmental Science graduate program at UOG is an excellent choice due to the high quality staff and well designed curriculum; and it is an outstanding alternative to programs within the continuous United States because of its location and the inevitable exposure to the cultural differences that are unique to the Western Pacific. The experiences that I acquired at UOG were an invaluable step towards a life of practicing science abroad.

Rob MacCracken, Hydrogeologist, 2006
Perth, Western Australia 



Michelle HoffmanI attended the University of Guam between 2005 and 2007 as a Master’s candidate in their Environmental Science Department. Prior to that, I had graduated from the University of South Florida with B.S. degrees in both Geology and Environmental Science, and had spent several years working in the field of Environmental Science. My research at the Water and Environmental Research Institute (WERI) involved a hydrogeochemical study that was fully funded by the Guam Hydrologic Survey (GHS). During my time at WERI, I gained experiences, friendships and professional relationships that will last a lifetime. The staff and faculty are warm and generous, and truly have students’ best interests at heart.  I also got to interact with students and faculty at the Marine Lab, which, in addition to more friendships, led to an opportunity to participate in a two-week study in Yap! From the heart of the western Pacific, I was able to travel to all sorts of other great destinations, such as Australia, Palau, Saipan, Indonesia, Singapore, Borneo, the Philippines and more. After making the (very difficult and heartbreaking) decision to return to my native Florida, I quickly landed a fantastic job with the Seminole Tribe of Florida’s Water Resource Management Department as their Environmental Biologist. Now I work in the heart of the Everglades, intimately involved in projects related to wetland conservation and management, invasive species management and the Comprehensive Everglades Restoration Project (CERP). My time on Guam was truly life-changing; it was the most meaningful, defining experience in my life to date. 

Michelle Hoffman, 2007
Environmental Scientist 
Seminole Tribe of Florida
Environmental Resource Mgmt. Dept.
Office (863) 902-3200  ext. 13413


Danko TaborosiAttending the Master's degree program in Environmental Science at WERI/UOG was enlightening, rewarding, and fun! The program -- like its institution and location -- is a truly singular blend of American standards, island lifestyle, Asia-Pacific setting, and an international outlook. The faculty and staff are so warm and encouraging that becoming lifelong colleagues and friends is the norm. Opportunities for education and research funding are available to all dedicated and ambitious students. Equipment and facilities are excellent, and the institute's location is unbeatable. The main building is right on the ocean, next to one of the largest coral reefs on Guam.

The close and trusting relationship between students and faculty means that research can be carried out with support of daily briefings with advisors, or independently by extended fieldwork on remote islands. Guam and its Western Pacific neighborhood are incredibly inspiring for scientific work and are full of chances to discover something truly new, especially in field-based research. I spent a couple of years exploring caves, sinkholes, and underground waters of Guam and had the privilege of contributing to a better understanding of tropical island aquifers.

Life outside the University is just as positive and enriching. Given Guam's fantastic location and diversity, making friends with people from all over the Pacific and the world and gaining insight into other cultures is a natural part of daily life. Calling Guam home for a few years was the single most important step I have taken on the path to truly becoming a world citizen. After earning my Master's degree and a year spent traveling in Central Asia, I was granted a full scholarship from the Japanese Government's Ministry of Science for further studies in Japan. I completed my Ph.D. in Earth Science at Hokkaido University in Sapporo. Not able to resist the call of the islands, I returned to Micronesia soon after. I now work with a non-government research and educational organization on the island of Pohnpei.

There is not a slightest doubt in my mind that if I was to miraculously find myself back in the days of trying to decide on a graduate school, I would choose Guam again.


Danko Taborosi, 2000
Island Research & Education Initiative
PO Box PS303, Palikir
Pohnpei, FM 96941



University of GuamObtaining a Master’s degree at the University of Guam (and specifically at the Water & Environmental Research Institute) has been one of the most important steps in my career path! The two years spent with Dr. John Jenson at WERI from 2006-2008 laid a critical foundation for all research projects and teaching opportunities that have since occurred. As a PhD student and now Assistant Professor within the Dept. of Civil and Environmental Engineering at the Colorado State University, I have been able to continue working on research projects in the western Pacific with Dr. Jenson, specifically working on quantifying groundwater volumes and stored rainwater catchment volumes under both average seasonal rainfall conditions and climatic events (droughts, overwash events) for atoll islands and their communities within the Federated States of Micronesia and the Republic of Maldives. I am also involved in projects that investigate the fate and transport of selenium, nitrate, and other chemical species in the groundwater systems of Colorado river basins, and thoroughly enjoy teaching undergraduate and graduate courses to the students in our department. I will always view my two years on Guam as some of the most meaningful of my life.

Ryan T. Bailey, 2008
Assistant Professor
Department of Civil and Environmental Engineering, College of Engineering
Colorado State University 


Karel-Gustaaf SmitMy experience at WERI (UOG) was enriching and offered me the opportunity to pursue a professional career I truly enjoy. The quality of the graduate program is second-to-none. I believe that the program made me exceptionally well prepared for a demanding professional career. The class sizes at WERI are small and provide for great interactions and discussions between students and faculty. Both the staff and faculty at WERI were supporting and encouraging every step of the way towards my graduation. I will always be thankful for their dedication and support. I would highly recommend the WERI graduate program to anyone with a quest for knowledge in Environmental Science, Karst Geology and Hydrology.


Karel-Gustaaf Smit, 2001
Food Safety Specialist/Dairy Specialist
Oregon Department of Agriculture



IMike Parkt's been a few years, but as always I am proud of being a UOG graduate and my work at WERI as it has been a tremendous help in my career. I graduated in 2007, and worked with Dr. Mohammed Golabi, Dr. Shahram Khosrowpanah, Dr. Leroy Heitz, and Dr. Yuming Wen. My thesis topic was: "The development of a GIS-based Soil Erosion Potential Model of the Ugum Watershed."  After graduation, I worked at the engineering firm Duenas, Camacho, & Associates (DCA).  My accomplishments while there included the environmental permitting of private development ventures, Government of Guam improvement projects, and the trans-oceanic fiber optic cable systems by AT&T Inc. I also participated in the important task of relocating endangered snails (yes, snails!) by working closely with island experts Barry Smith and Richard Randall.  I currently work for the Navy contractor DZSP 21 LLC in the Environmental Compliance department.


Mike Park, 2007
Environmental Specialist
Naval Base Guam

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