Mike Pagel is the School of Freshwater Sciences First Graduate!
|Mike Pagel, Spring 2012, in Lake Michigan|
“I was then, and am now, very interested in the water science field,” said Mike, who was looking to build his undergraduate education in biology when he joined the program in fall of 2010. “From the hard science of water quality to the pressing issues of policy and management, I felt further specialization within the environmental sciences would really benefit my career.”
An interdisciplinary science and business program, the professional track at the School helped Mike learn the ins and outs of water management and develop skills necessary to pursue a career in management, industry, or business settings. In order to develop real-world skills applicable after graduation, Mike worked as an environmental intern in the Water Department at Xcel Energy in Minneapolis, focusing on water resources and environmental compliance projects at company facilities throughout the Midwest.
During his time at the School, Mike, along with other SFS students including Emily Tyner, Todd Brennan, Tom Hansen, AJ Koski, Brice Grunert and Jeff Houghton, devised a rehabilitation plan for a functioning Wisconsin wetland in Milwaukee’s Inner Harbor. This plan for Milwaukee’s Grand Trunk became the basis for a City of Milwaukee project that has earned significant support from the Fund for Lake Michigan and other restoration funders and will soon be implemented.
“I enjoyed especially my experience with Xcel Energy and would like to get into a position involving environmental compliance in the energy industry,” Mike said. “The energy-environment balance is a fascinating issue and one that I look forward to working on in the future.”
In pursuit of that goal, Mike is moving to the Washington D.C. area in mid-June to seek positions with environmental consulting firms and government agencies.
“The school made me realize there is a huge community of scientists, policymakers, concerned citizens, etc. that are extremely interested in the field of freshwater sciences. After working with these water-focused groups here in Milwaukee, I found their dedication to be inspiring and I hope to seek out and become a part of such a community when I get to D.C.”
About the School: The UWM School of Freshwater Sciences is the first graduate school in the United States dedicated solely to the study of fresh water and the largest academic research institution on the Great Lakes. Established in 2009, SFS expands a tradition of freshwater studies at UWM that began in 1966 with the Center for Great Lakes Studies and continued with the Great Lakes WATER Institute in 1973. Research and education programs at SFS are integrated across four major areas: freshwater system dynamics; human and ecosystem health; freshwater technology; and freshwater economics, policy, and management. Academic programs offer three educational and research degrees for graduate students – a Master of Science Degree in Freshwater Sciences and Technology with thesis and professional tracks and a Doctoral Degree in Freshwater Sciences—as well as undergraduate research and learning opportunities.