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Environmental Science & Studies

The environmental studies program at Randolph College embodies the conviction that to pursue a career in the realm of the environment, a student must grasp the complex interactions that characterize today’s most pressing environmental problems.  

Environmental science professor Karin Warren helps summer research students conduct a forest inventory.

Prepared to Save the World

The goal of Randolph’s environmental studies program is to develop scholars, thinkers, teachers, and activists who back up their passion for the environment with a strong grasp of the underlying science and policy and a comfortable ability to work with numbers.

Bachelor’s degrees in environmental studies and environmental science are offered. They are diverse and challenging interdisciplinary programs and give students the knowledge base and practical skills and tools needed for graduate or professional school, private consulting, public advocacy or administration, and careers with government agencies and laboratories, as well as non-governmental organizations.

A minor in environmental studies is an option for students in any major program who wish to add an environmental perspective to their chosen field.

Degrees offered

Bachelor of Arts Degreein Environmental Studies

Bachelor of Science Degree in Environmental Science

Minor in Environmental Studies

Curriculum and Courses

Opportunity for Experience

Many academic opportunities are available to the environmental studies student, such as the Randolph College Organic Garden, the Marine Biological Laboratory in Environmental Science at Woods Hole Oceanographic Institute, Washington Semester Programs, summer and semester fieldwork through the International School for Field Studies, and many study abroad options.

Outcomes: Real World Success

Sustainability Leadership

Megan Bloomer ’06

Vice President of Sustainability and Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR) for The Cheesecake Factory

Megan Bloomer has made a career out of helping companies become more sustainable.  She has been successful because she demonstrates that sustainability is much more than a recycling program.

“I can tell you what goes into which recycling bin,” Bloomer said, “but let’s go talk about how we can save $20 million on energy.”

In addition to making business sustainable, Bloomer helps current Randolph College students connect their liberal arts and science backgrounds to careers. In addition to setting up internship programs, she often corresponds with students to offer advice on resumes and jobs.

“I believe no one got where they are in life without someone else helping them along the way,” Bloomer said. “The success that I have today in my professional life is due to a lot of people who walk around on that campus. The ability to spend an hour of my time helping current undergrads have that same kind of experience is really important to me.”

Student-Led Sustainability

The College’s Environmental Club is the epicenter of almost every sustainability-related, student-led project on campus. Student-members who have ideas that benefit the majority of the College’s student population are encouraged to write proposals that get reviewed for Student Government funding.

Past projects have included seed funding for the Organic Garden, Earth Week activities, bike share components, student-made laundry detergent, free passes for the indoor climbing in downtown Lynchburg, and more.

Top Ranked Professors

Randolph College’s faculty are consistently recognized as among the best in the nation. The Princeton Review ranked the College 18th for most accessible professors in the 2020 edition of its flagship college guide, The Best 385 Colleges.

Randolph has been ranked in the top 20 for most accessible professors for three consecutive years.

Environmental Studies & Science Faculty

Karin Warren

Herzog Family Professor of Environmental Studies

Read More... Karin Warren

Sarah Sojka

Associate Professor of Enviromental Studies and Physics

Read More... Sarah Sojka

Department News

2021 graduate joins Randolph as new sustainability coordinator

Randolph’s new Sustainability and Special Projects Coordinator Riley Lorson ’21 is following in the footsteps of her predecessors by upholding Randolph’s commitment to the environment.

Read More

Virginia Heat Watch: Summer research focusing on climate vulnerability as part of statewide project

Randolph is one of 12 institutions in the Virginia Foundation for Independent Colleges (VFIC) collaborating on Virginia Heat Watch, which will map and analyze where residents are most at-risk during heat waves.

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Small but mighty: Summer research evaluating the diversity of microscopic algae from the Eastern Shore

Aleighson Robertson ’24 scrolls through the images on her laptop, pointing out the microorganisms captured on each frame.

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Randolph students continue ongoing project with 500-Year Forest Foundation

They are focusing on old growth forest assessment and invasive species management, building on work done during Randolph's Summer Research Program in 2019.

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Warren to lead regional efforts for statewide heat mapping project this summer

The project, called Heat Watch, will study where residents are most at risk during extreme heat waves.

Read More

2021 graduate joins Randolph as new sustainability coordinator

Randolph’s new Sustainability and Special Projects Coordinator Riley Lorson ’21 is following in the footsteps of her predecessors by upholding Randolph’s commitment to the environment.

Read More

Virginia Heat Watch: Summer research focusing on climate vulnerability as part of statewide project

Randolph is one of 12 institutions in the Virginia Foundation for Independent Colleges (VFIC) collaborating on Virginia Heat Watch, which will map and analyze where residents are most at-risk during heat waves.

Read More

Small but mighty: Summer research evaluating the diversity of microscopic algae from the Eastern Shore

Aleighson Robertson ’24 scrolls through the images on her laptop, pointing out the microorganisms captured on each frame.

Read More

Randolph students continue ongoing project with 500-Year Forest Foundation

They are focusing on old growth forest assessment and invasive species management, building on work done during Randolph's Summer Research Program in 2019.

Read More

Warren to lead regional efforts for statewide heat mapping project this summer

The project, called Heat Watch, will study where residents are most at risk during extreme heat waves.

Read More
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Department Chair

Karin Warren

Herzog Family Professor of Environmental Studies

Credentials:B.S., Cornell University
M.S., University of California, Berkeley
Ph.D., University of California, Berkeley
Associated Departments:Environmental Studies & Science
Office:Thoresen 6
Phone:(434) 947-8335
Email:kwarrin@randolphcollege.edu

News Headlines

Dr. Karin Warren is Professor and Herzog Family Chair of Environmental Studies & Science at Randolph College. She holds a B.S. in Meteorology from Cornell University, and M.S. and Ph.D. degrees in Energy and Resources from the University of California at Berkeley, where she held a Department of Energy Global Change Fellowship.

Her areas of research include climate change, community resilience, urban water quality, and quantitative environmental methods.

At Randolph, she developed the BA and BS degree programs in environmental studies and science, and has chaired the department since 2002.

She is co-chair of Randolph College’s Sustainability Council, faculty advisor to the student environmental club, and campus liaison for the President’s Climate Commitments, Bee Campus, and the Udall Fellowship. She also oversees the “Little Scientists” event at the Central Virginia Science Festival at Randolph College.

She helped create and is the Coordinator of the Lynchburg Regional Community Climate Resilience Coalition, serves on the Executive Board of the Association for Environmental Studies and Science, and as Secretary of the Executive Board of the 500-Year Forest Foundation . She is also the Virginia/Washington D.C. group manager for the Cloud Appreciation Society, and is an avid lifelong skywatcher.

She has three children who are all graduates of Randolph College Nursery School, and her favorite spot on campus is the organic garden and orchard. She likes wandering through woodlands, poking around in streams, looking under rocks, crocheting all sorts of things, and watching the skies to spot atmospheric phenomena.

You can follow her on Twitter @drkarinwarren and Instagram @RCEnvironStudies

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Sarah Sojka

Associate Professor of Enviromental Studies and Physics

Credentials:B.A., Eckerd College
M.S., University of Virginia
Ph.D., University of Virginia
Associated Departments:Physics, Environmental Studies & Science, Engineering
Office:Thoresen 7
Email:ssojka@randolphcollege.edu

News Headlines

I fell in love with science as a child, balanced on my toes on a stool leaning over the sink with a friend, our “chemicals”, including dish soap and bubble bath, surrounding us, trying to remove the smell from black pepper. I remember the intensity with which we worked and the thrill of feeling that we were discovering something. My goal as a science educator is to foster that same sense of wonder and curiosity in all of my students.

I earned my undergraduate degree at Eckerd College in Environmental Studies-Public Policy. As a student at a small liberal arts college, I loved getting to know my professors and the opportunities for research, including a project studying water quality in Nicaragua.

My interest in water quality led me to the University of Virginia for an M.S. and Ph.D. in Environmental Sciences. I studied how physical processes affect the biological processes in shallow coastal systems. Unfortunately, we frequently study average or calm weather conditions in these systems and forget how much winds and waves can affect the primary producers. I used modeling, experiments and monitoring data to study how wind conditions affect light and nutrient availability for seagrass. I am continuing this research and look forward to involving students in it.

After graduate school, I took my work inland and began working on rainwater harvesting systems. These systems are designed to collect the rain that falls on the roof of a building and use it for irrigation, toilets and other uses.

My primary interest is how rainwater harvesting can be used to reduce stormwater runoff and protect coastal systems.

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