Student Stories

From advancing environmental justice to using technology to develop sustainable solutions, our students approach our planet’s most pressing environmental challenges from a diverse range of backgrounds, interests, and experiences. Check out how some of our future environmental leaders are making a difference, both locally and abroad.

  • Banner drop outside of a Board of Regents Meeting. Photo courtesy of Ashley Cheung

    A Full-Course Meal

    Ashley Cheung’s life has always been intertwined with the environment.

  • Top Podcasts in Earth Observation

    Here are a few of our favorite Earth observation podcasts, ranging in topics from more focused remote sensing research topics to broad geospatial data and applications.

  • How Satellites — and People — Saved the Chimps

    A remote perspective highlighted the importance of involving humans in the work to protect chimpanzee habitat in Tanzania.

  • Hench completed site visits as part of her internship, which focused on tire recycling and reuse. Photo courtesy of Oliva Hench

    Industry Revolution

    Making copies, sorting files, delivering documents. These are tasks one might associate with your standard internship, but they’re nowhere to be found in the lineup of duties for students participating in UW–Madison’s Corporate Sustainability Internship Program.

  • Winkler-Schor with a kitten while conducting research. Photo courtesy of Sophia Winkler-Schor

    The Psychology of Sustainable Farming

    Nelson Institute environment and resources PhD student Sophia Winkler-Schor has spent most of her life fascinated with both the environment and Latin America.

  • Travis Blomberg

    An On-Track Diversion

    If Travis Blomberg is successful, only 10 percent of UW–Madison’s waste will end up in a landfill.

  • Butterfly landing on Sanchez-Mora's nose. Photo courtesy of Angelica Sanchez-Mora

    EC Graduate and Board of Visitors Member Helps connect People to Urban Green Spaces

    Hidden among the pavement and large buildings of many urban areas are small but sacred green spaces. From a young age Angélica Sánchez-Mora was able to appreciate both urban and rural living. Now, she works to help connect those living in urban spaces to the slices of nature around them.

  • Williamson searches for salamanders on an NRF Field Trip to Red Banks Alvar State Natural Area near Green Bay, Wis.

    A Welcome Return

    Caitlin Williamson’s connection with the Nelson Institute runs deep, having graduated with the very first cohort of students to complete the environmental conservation (EC) master’s degree in 2015.

  • Alpha Advocate

    As a kid, Francisco Santiago-Ávila had a plan to become a priest.

  • Eddinger (left) while working in the Conservation Corps after graduating from his undergraduate studies. Photo provided by Jesse Eddinger

    Continuing a Legacy

    Being out in nature and working with the land is within graduate student Jesse Eddinger’s genes.

  • Jonathan Patz and Tebbe traveled to the Consortium of Public Universities for Global Health, which was held back in-person for the first time this year. Photo courtesy of Nova Tebbe

    Taking Stock of the United Nations Paris Agreement

    Nova Tebbe, a PhD student in the Center for Sustainability and the Global Environment, exemplifies the interdisciplinary research of the Nelson Institute.

  • Fleury in the field overlooking a river. Photo by Nitesh Singh

    Mitigating Wildlife Conflict in Botswana

    From the age of three, Nelson Institute environment and resources PhD student Gabi Fleury wanted to travel to Africa and be a conservationist.

  • Bertalot pilots the Center for Limnology’s boat “Humpback” during a sampling day last summer. Photo by Ally Kundinger

    The Reward of Research

    As a recent runner-up for the Center for Climatic Research’s Reid Bryson Scholarship poster session, undergraduate senior Sean Bertalot never expected such a distinction just a few short years ago. 

  • David Kolodziejski

    EOI Graduate Passionate to Provide Climate Solutions using Remote Sensing and GIS

    Recent graduate of the environmental observation informatics (EOI) MS program, David Kolodziejski found his niche in geographic information systems (GIS) and remote sensing after a long period of career exploration.

  • Rachel French

    Bikepacking for Credit

    Imagine biking 50 miles up a mountain carrying nearly 100 pounds of gear with only peanut butter, tortillas, and applesauce to keep you going.