I was delighted to have the opportunity to give back to the Vermont community that had become a second home to me during my years at Middlebury, and through the combination of grappling with real, current issues and the sense of community service and responsibility engendered by this project, I was able to take my learning to a deeper and more meaningful level.
Presenting our research to the Senate Committee at the Vermont State House impressed upon me the potential my work had to make a difference in the health and lives of Vermont citizens. Hours of policy research regarding the water testing policies of other states, interviews with well drillers, cost analysis of testing and remediation, and examination of scientific articles, legislative bills, and reports on policy and regulation did not go to waste.
In tackling the issue of well testing, I stepped out of my comfort zone of academia and integrated my scholarly knowledge with a real public health concern. My experience with ES 401 helped me see that law is an instrument of positive change and an opportunity to contribute to a better future, and this seminar helped me get to where I am today.
I feel after ES401 I was inspired to continue doing science that aided public health and welfare. I’ve chosen to stay close to the academic route as scientific research is my passion, but welcome collaborations with stakeholders in my fields of research. My current work builds on the skills that I gained in ES401, which I would say was definitely an invaluable opportunity. I had a great experience in ES401 and hope that it continues to be an opportunity for future environmental studies majors.
The students did an amazing job with their research and assembling a very complex series of related items to the topic. Very, very well done. Thank you for the opportunity to work with you and the students on this useful project!
The report exceeded my expectations. The students found multiple solutions and their recommendations should provide ideas for policy makers and State Agencies to move the industry forward.
The students provided insight into landscape characteristics of water quality in this region. This collaboration is a way to utilize student’s skills and generate community involvement between groups that might not otherwise interact.
The students took an expansive view of the material and brought to light some recommendations that are a little outside of the box, which can be a challenge when working on a project as a practitioner. Because the students come at the topic without bias based on past experience, they illuminated possibilities that may have been dismissed prematurely by those of us who work on this subject every day.
The students’ thorough research, interviews, analysis and recommendations provided a very deep and important foundation of information upon which we — and policy makers — can turn to and build from as the state potentially explores putting a price on carbon pollution. Their research provided a breadth and depth of analysis we have yet to have — and likely wouldn’t have had at such a level. It provided very valuable context and insight and offers some clarity on how the state might begin to address challenges imposed by this potential policy to ensure we mitigate any negative impacts.
The quality of the content and the presentations was consistently high across the four teams. Some of my personal highlights were how the policy team integrated of the work of the other teams to inform their recommendations, the fact that the geospatial team addressed potential concerns of releasing their risk potential maps showed that they were thinking about applications of their work, the thorough and candid presentation of uncertainties and the fact that there were so many questions and that the students answered them so masterfully.
Thank you so much for this opportunity, it was a pleasure working with you. I hope that the students also benefited from working with a health non-profit & state health department on a project that connects public health and the environment.
We plan to reflect seriously on the research and findings and will likely pivot off of some of the concerns or recommendations identified by both student groups. Their research and one-on-one interviews and focus groups provided some very real, tangible and important context to inform and shape our work moving forward.