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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

Randolph student pursues passion for sustainability at Lynchburg Grows

As a general farm intern this spring, Brooklyn Ford '22 is involved in all aspects of the nonprofit urban farm’s daily operations, from planting to harvesting to composting.

Read More

Randolph professor, students continue water quality monitoring project despite pandemic

Randolph’s 18-year streak studying the Blackwater Creek continued in 2020—just with some masks and social distancing thrown in.

Read More

Warren presents at environmental studies conference, elected to board of directors

Warrin, who was elected to serve on the AESS board of directors for a second term in June, made two presentations, including “Connecting Campus and Communities for Climate Justice” and “Getting the Most of External Reviews: Before, During, and After.”

Read More

Before and After: Summer Research Project revisits professor's dissertation work

Bryce Russell '22, Nadia Tibbs ’22, and professor Sarah Sojka are working with samples from the Eastern Shore of Virginia for their project, which will look at the impact of seagrass restoration on ecosystem carbon storage.

Read More

Randolph student receives recognition from Udall Foundation

Paige Edwards '21, who is double majoring in chemistry and environmental science, was recently selected as an honorable mention for the highly competitive 2020 Udall Undergraduate Scholarship.

Read More

Randolph student pursues passion for sustainability at Lynchburg Grows

As a general farm intern this spring, Brooklyn Ford '22 is involved in all aspects of the nonprofit urban farm’s daily operations, from planting to harvesting to composting.

Read More

Randolph professor, students continue water quality monitoring project despite pandemic

Randolph’s 18-year streak studying the Blackwater Creek continued in 2020—just with some masks and social distancing thrown in.

Read More

Warren presents at environmental studies conference, elected to board of directors

Warrin, who was elected to serve on the AESS board of directors for a second term in June, made two presentations, including “Connecting Campus and Communities for Climate Justice” and “Getting the Most of External Reviews: Before, During, and After.”

Read More

Before and After: Summer Research Project revisits professor's dissertation work

Bryce Russell '22, Nadia Tibbs ’22, and professor Sarah Sojka are working with samples from the Eastern Shore of Virginia for their project, which will look at the impact of seagrass restoration on ecosystem carbon storage.

Read More

Randolph student receives recognition from Udall Foundation

Paige Edwards '21, who is double majoring in chemistry and environmental science, was recently selected as an honorable mention for the highly competitive 2020 Udall Undergraduate Scholarship.

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:Main Hall 106A
Phone:(434) 947-8335
Email:kwarrin@randolphcollege.edu

News Headlines

A childhood love of thunderstorms led me to study meteorology as an undergraduate, and then a stirring guest speaker from NASA convinced me to focus on global change as my mien for graduate study and my career beyond.

At Randolph, I have had the challenge and privilege of developing an interdisciplinary major in environmental studies. 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 sound grasp of the underlying science and policy, and a comfortable ability to work with numbers.

My philosophy for teaching environmental studies also rests on the belief that to understand the environment, you have to get out in it, literally and figuratively. Environmental studies students all get wet and dirty at some point (or at several points) in their academic experience here — through stream monitoring in Introductory Environmental Studies, or geology field trips in Earth Interactions, or on a geocaching treasure hunt. I also encourage each student to consider how study abroad, field work programs, and internships opportunities fit into her ultimate academic plan, and how seeking “a life more abundant” fits into her own environmental philosophy.

I am the the Herzog Family Chair of Environmental Studies at Randolph College, and hold degrees in meteorology (B.S. from Cornell University) and energy and resources (M.S. and Ph.D. from the University of California at Berkeley). I have taught at U.C. Berkeley, Emory University in Atlanta, GA, and Vanderbilt University in Nashville, TN.

I teach many of the core and upper-division courses in environmental studies (including quantitative aspects of environmental problems, energy & society, earth interactions, and environmental policy), coordinate the senior program in environmental studies, am a faculty advisor for the student-run environmental club, and chair the Randolph Environmental Issues Council.

My specialties and areas of research include: climate and global change, mathematical modeling, energy and environmental policy, and quantitative methods in environmental analysis.

In addition to the global environment, my passions in life include my daughter, Galen, and son, Xan, hiking, gardening, low-stress cooking, reading anything I can get my hands on, and practicing t’ai chi chuan and yoga.

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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:Environmental Studies & Science, Physics
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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