Appalachian Laboratory

Today's Students, Tomorrow's Scientists

Student Support

Meet a Few of Our Students

Joel Bostic is a Ph.D. candidate researching the role of land-use, climate, and hydrogeology on the amounts and sources of nitrogen exported in streamwater across the Chesapeake Bay watershed. Joel has a B.S. in Earth Science Education from Western Carolina University, a M.S. in Marine Science from the University of South Carolina, and is currently a part-time Instructor of Geosciences at Warren Wilson College in North Carolina. During his free time, Joel enjoys exploring the trails and rivers of western Maryland with his wife and two sons.

Jonathan Johnson, a U.S. Air Force veteran, comes to the Appalachian Laboratory most recently from West Virginia University (WVU), where he majored in geology.  Jonathan, the first in his family to attend college, originally chose geography as his intended major, but due to an advising mistake, wound up in a geology course his first semester. He loved the course and pursued further study, and since then, he has found a way of combining his initial interest in geography with his new love of geological sciences. Now as a student in the laboratory of Dr. Dave Nelson, he collects and analyzes fossil pollen in sediment cores from the Great Lakes region to understand why populations of mesic tree species (including several that occur in western Maryland, such as maple, hemlock, and beech) abruptly and repeatedly declined during the past several thousand years. The results of this project will inform efforts to understand the vulnerability of modern forests to environmental changes.

Megan Massa began working on her master’s degree in the laboratory of Dr. Emily Cohen in spring 2021 after being recruited over Twitter!  Prior to joining AL, she worked several wildlife technician jobs with birds across the US. Her current research interest and activities focus on bird population trends in National Parks, bird ecology, and grassland management. In her spare time, she enjoys birding and creating artwork (mostly bird paintings and pet portraits) in a variety of media and intends to incorporate art and design into her research, with a focus on communicating results to National Park Service managers and visitors. Megan holds a BS in Biology from the College of William and Mary, 2018

Tan Zou is a Ph.D. candidate working with Dr. Xin Zhang at the University of Maryland Center for Environmental Science, Appalachian Laboratory. Her interest lies broadly in the area of sustainability and nutrient management. More specifically, her doctoral research focuses on regional to global scale phosphorus (P) management. Tan holds a Master's degree in Civil and Environmental Engineering from the University of California, Los Angeles and a Bachelor's degree in Civil Engineering from the South China Agricultural University.

Student Research

From bats and birds to the impact of large storms on stream and river health, Appalachian Laboratory students conduct leading-edge research throughout Maryland and beyond on a number of pressing environmental science challenges. 

Use the links below to learn more about just a few examples of the research projects in which our students are engaged.