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Environmental science, a robust field

Colorado Mesa University ranks #10 in the 2020 Best Environmental Science Bachelor’s Degrees by gradreports

The field of environmental science is projected to see a substantial amount of growth in the years ahead and Colorado Mesa University professor Deborah Kennard, PhD, believes Grand Junction, Colorado is the best place to be for emerging environmental science majors.

The program has seen growth with Colorado residents as well out of state students.

“There’s a lot of interest in CMU because of its location and being able to study outside in places they’ll be working,” said Kennard. “One strength of the program is we can get off campus to these sites within 10 minutes, so most of our labs are outside completing field work.”

She’s not alone in her excitement for the program. In December, Colorado Mesa University ranked #10 in the 2020 Best Environmental Science Bachelor’s Degrees by gradreports.

“We calculated a salary score for each of Colorado Mesa University's programs by comparing program-specific median alumni earnings to median alumni earnings for the same program across all schools that provide this data. This way, students can compare the relative salary strength of a specific major at Colorado Mesa University to the same major at other schools,” the website reads.

The program’s placement rate for first year graduates has always been high, with 70 percent of CMU environmental science majors landing a job by graduation. Plus, 90 percent of alumni are employed.

“CMU alumni are not just making a good salary but they're also doing good in the world,” said Kennard.

A number of local companies and consulting firms in the area were started and are owned by former alumni of the program.

“They like to hire our majors because they know what kind of backgrounds and skills our students have,” she added.

Another plus of the program — the university is surrounded by public lands.

“Our program has a couple different focuses but one of the focuses is preparing students for careers in public land management so they can go on to work for the Bureau of Land Management, the US Forest Service, the National Park Service, as well as other federal agencies that manage public lands,” said Kennard.

According to Kennard, much of the program’s success goes back to contributions made by the late Dr. Russ Walker. Walker made his mark in the field of environmental science and conservation through the lives of his students and contributed to the conservation of thousands of acres of habitat in western Colorado.

Visit the environmental science program's website to learn more.


Written by Kelsey Coleman