Interested in the study and protection of our environment?  The geologic history and future of the Earth? The oceans? All of the above? Would you like to turn your passion into a career?

UMW’s Department of Earth and Environmental Sciences is the place to learn about all aspects of  the Earth sciences and our role in living with the Earth’s resources and limitations.  We offer a B.S. in Environmental Science and Geology, with the following concentrations to help you focus on your individual goals:

Click on topics at left for more information, and follow us on Facebook and Instagram.  Seeking an internship?  Look here.


Recent News From Our Students and Faculty

Geology Major Co-Authors U.S. Geological Survey Data Release

Alisa Shtabnoy (Geology major) was included as a co-author on a USGS data release titled “Hyperspectral profiles of Harmful Algal Blooms (HABs) and other algae” under mentorship from Dr. Natalie Hall (USGS Supervisory Geographer). As part of an internship with the USGS MD-DE-DC Water Science Center, this study collected reflectance measurements (spectral signatures) of various algae which can be used to monitor and detect Harmful Algal Blooms using remote sensing technology. Read more here –  Hyperspectral profiles of Harmful Algal Blooms (HABs) and other algae, 2022 – ScienceBase-Catalog

Congratulations Alisa!

EESC Faculty Contributes to With Good Reason-Mapping Climate History

Dr. Pamela Grothe (Asst. Prof- EESC) discussed the important role coral reefs play in tracking climate change history in an episode of With Good Reason. Listen here!


Success at CPRC SETAC

Three EESC students (Ned Gable- EESC 27’, Summer Orledge- EESC ’25, Joey Gasink- EESC ’26) and their research mentor Dr. Tyler Frankel (Asst. Professor- EESC) attended the CPRC SETAC Annual Spring Conference held on April 8th, 2024 in Baltimore, MD. Summer Orledge presented her work titled “ The presence, concentration, and potential ecological impacts of trace metal contaminants in the James River near a coal ash repository (New Canton, VA)”. Joey Gasink presented his abstract “Assessing the potential interactions between climate change and trace metal toxicity in the embryonic Seminole Ramshorn Snail (Planorbella duryi)” and was awarded 2nd place in the student poster competition which included undergraduate, M.S., and Ph.D. students. Congratulations to our students!

Joey Gasink holding up his award from the CPRC SETAC 2024 Conference


From Left to Right- Joey Gasink, Ned Gable, Summer Orledge, Dr. Frankel


UMW EESC Student Presents At Westmoreland State Park Visitor’s Center

Kate Stoneman (right) presenting her research

Kate Stoneman presenting her research on “Why is Shark Tooth Island Disappearing” at the Westmoreland State Park Visitor’s Center on Sunday, April 8th, 2024. This public-facing educational poster ties changes in a popular local landmark, Shark Tooth Island, to climate change and groundwater withdrawal.  It is now on display at the state park’s Discovery Center and at two public libraries in Westmoreland County. Kate’s ongoing research with Prof. Tippett is collecting field data to determine how long the island has left.


EESC Faculty Member Selected for 2023 Alumni Association Award

Dr. Tyler Frankel, Assistant Professor of Environmental Sciences, is the recipient of the 2023 Alumni Association Award for Outstanding Young Faculty. Since arriving at UMW in 2018, Dr. Frankel has established a strong research program that has trained 19 undergraduate research students, culminating in ​four co-authored student publications in high-quality journals and 35 conference abstracts. He has secured multiple external grants totaling over $210k and is a recipient of a Jepson Fellowship. He has expanded the curriculum in the Department by the addition of courses in Advanced Ecotoxicology and Sustainable Aquaculture and has developed student laboratory investigations focused on “cutting edge” environmental issues, such as the ecological threat of microplastics and the promise of sustainable agriculture. Dr. Frankel also serves on the UMW Honor Council and is a member of the UMW Institutional Animal Care and Use Committee. His service to the greater scientific community includes membership on the Board of Directors for the Chesapeake Potomac Regional Chapter of the Society of Environmental Toxicology and Chemistry.

EESC Student Success at 2023 UMW SSI Symposium

Congratulations to Jessica Oberlies (Env. Sci. ’25) for taking first place on her poster presentation at UMW’s 2023 Summer Science Symposium on her coral and climate research. Her project is titled, “A new coral geochemical archive to reconstruct central tropical Pacific climate” and she is mentored by Dr. Grothe. Their work hopes to better understand the climate impacts in the tropical Pacific.

Jessica Oberlies (left- EESC 25′) and Dr. Pamela Grothe (Assistant Professor- EESC)


Frankel Provides Plenary Talk For FMC Corporation R&D Expo

Dr. Tyler Frankel (Assistant Professor- EESC) was invited to provide the opening plenary talk at the FMC Corporation R&D Expo in June 2023. Held at the Delaware Stine Research Facility, this two-day event gathered FMC scientists from around the world to learn about the latest innovations, share ideas, and celebrate the company’s achievements. His talk titled “Developing and Applying Sensitive Methods To Assess Endocrine Disrupting Chemicals” provided an overview of his ecotoxicology program over the last decade and highlighted the exciting research and collaborations currently being conducted alongside undergraduates at the University of Mary Washington. Dr. Frankel is also a recipient of the 2022 FMC New Investigator Award which provides $50,000 in funds to support his research efforts.

Dr. Grothe’s Lab Featured In Richmond Times-Dispatch

Dr. Pamela Grothe has been featured in a story published by the Richmond Times-Dispatch, read all about it in the link below. Congratulations Dr. Grothe!

EESC Faculty Receives NSF Research Opportunity Award

Congratulations to Dr. Pamela Grothe, Assistant Professor of Earth and Environmental Science, for receiving a prestigious National Science Foundation (NSF) award through their Research Opportunity Award – award opportunities for faculty at primarily undergraduate teaching institutions. She was award $112,000 on her work titled “A multi-coral genus approach to reconstructing central tropical Pacific during the 19th and 20th centuries”. The goal of the research is to create a 200-yr-long record of temperatures in the tropical Pacific using the geochemistry of coral skeletons to quantify the human-induced warming in this region and allow for more accurate future predictions of climate change. Her work is alongside collaborators from Brown University and Florida State University and will include multiple UMW undergraduate students – and yes, that means a field trip to the tropical Pacific!

UMW Represents at Joint CPRC/HDC Chapter SETAC 2022 Spring Meeting

Left to Right – Pamela Daniels, Katherine Wolfe, Daniel Dusenberry, Carolyn Willmore, Sophia Weldi, and Dr. Tyler Frankel

Two EESC undergraduate students have won awards for their presentations at the Joint Chesapeake-Potomac Regional Chapter and Hudson-Delaware Chapter SETAC 2022 Spring Meeting which was held in Newark, DE from April 11th- April 12th. Presentations were judged by professionals in academia, governmental institutions, and private industry and included competition with Masters and Ph.D. students. Carolyn Willmore (Junior- EESC) won 1st place in the poster competition with her abstract titled “Assessing the Presence and Concentration of Anthropogenic Contaminants Near the Crows Nest Natural Area Preserve (Stafford, VA).” Sophia Weldi (Senior- EESC) won 2nd place in the poster competition with her abstract titled “Comparing the Impacts of Common Deicing agents NaCl and MgCl2 on the Viability, Embryonic Development, and Behavior of the Freshwater Gastropod Physa acuta.” Pamela Daniels (Senior- EESC) and Katherine Wolfe (Recent alumni- EESC) also presented a poster titled “Assessing the Effects of Aqueous Exposure to di(2-ethylhexyl) phthalate on the Viability, Behavior, and Heartrate of Daphnia magna.” Each student was mentored by Dr. Tyler Frankel (Assistant Professor- EESC). Please congratulate them when you see them!

Carolyn Willmore (Junior-EESC) standing next to her 1st place poster at the Joint CPRC/HDC SETAC 2022 Spring meeting

Sophia Weldi (Senior-EESC) standing next to her 2nd place poster at the Joint CPRC/HDC SETAC 2022 Spring meeting










EESC Faculty Member Awarded Grant from Morris Animal Foundation

We are pleased to announce that Dr. Tyler Frankel (Assistant Professor- EESC) has been awarded a $92,037 First Award Wildlife Grant by the Morris Animal Foundation. Designed to assist early career scientists in establishing a successful research program, the funds from this award will support an intensive two-year project examining the impacts of Virginia coal ash repositories on freshwater wetlands using cutting-edge toxicology and environmental DNA (eDNA) methods. Included in the grant are Dr. Ben Kisila (Professor – EESC) and Dr. Leanna Giancarlo (Assoc. Prof- CHEM) who will serve as faculty mentors.

EESC Students Present At Roundtable Symposium

EESC Majors Claire Bradley, Pam Daniels, and Katherine Wolfe recently completed a summer research project with Prof. John Tippett.  They delivered presentations on their project, “Underperformance of Stormwater Bioretention Practices in the Central Rappahannock Region: Causes, Effects & Solutions” to the Rappahannock Roundtable Symposium in Fredericksburg, and in a poster session at the American Water Works Association WaterJAM Conference in Virginia Beach (

In the coming months, they will be presenting their results and recommendations to the Chesapeake Watershed Forum and to the Stafford County Department of Development Services.  Additional information.


For information about any of our programs contact department chair Dr. Jodie Hayob at