Alumni Profiles

Where are they now?

UMCES prepares students for science-related careers in advanced research, teaching, resource management, environmental protection, and sustainable economic development. Graduates hold prestigious appointments in academia and in state and federal agencies. Keep reading to see where our alumni are now.

Featured Alumna: Deborah Bronk

Dr. Deborah Bronk is president and CEO of the Bigelow Laboratory for Ocean Science in Maine. She has conducted more than 50 research cruises and field studies in freshwater and marine environments that stretch from pole to pole during her three decades of experience as an oceanographer. In December 2020, she was elected a Fellow of the American Association for the Advancement of Science (AAAS), and recognized for her substantial research advances on the marine nitrogen cycle and for leadership in the ocean science research community. She earned her Ph.D. from the Marine Estuarine and Environmental Sciences (MEES) graduate program.

"Horn Point was such a supportive environment to do research. Everyone helped each other, and we just had a ton of fun doing it. That community spirit is something I have taken with me and have tried to promote throughout my career wherever I have landed." READ MORE

Ryan Powell ('14)

“He discovered a technique that could revolutionize the algal biofuel industry by harvesting algae cheaply enough to produce algal biofuels economically,” said Russell Hill,  who now serves as an informal science advisor. Using magnetite particles, Powell can now efficiently harvest algae grown in large ponds, something that was very expensive before his discovery.

Powell had made an important scientific advancement and decided that he wanted to make sure his technology made a difference in the world while studying at UMCES. “The traditional path in academia is publishing something in a scientific journal and you hope someone picks it up. I wanted to do the work to bring it to life,” he said.


Ricky Arnold '88

What inspires you about your work? I work with an incredible international team that plans and executes some of the most complicated things that humans do—all in the name of science and exploration.

How has your higher education prepared you for your career?​ My experience at UMCES reflected the values of high-achieving organizations, where creative problem-solving, teamwork, and reality-based solutions are required to be a successful employee.

What was the most important lesson attributable to your higher education? The importance of relationships and investing in other people. I am incredibly thankful for the amount of time and energy that the faculty at UMCES invests in their students.

Read Ricky Arnold's full Q&A to learn more.

Dylan Taillie '21

"I hope to help inform resource managers on decisions regarding land protection and forest management. This will ultimately help both the C&O Canal and their partner organizations use their money more efficiently. Beyond management implications, the model we are creating incorporates landscape and forest metrics that hopefully will be interesting in the field of landscape ecology. It will tick the boxes for being a scientifically rigorous study that adds to the field and a valuable tool for managers."


Wenfei Ni '20

"Climate change is a non-ignorable and significant fact closely bound with our daily lives. It is not only about getting warmer, but also causes complicated environmental change within the whole earth system."


Ellie Rothermel '20

"Acoustic telemetry acts as a sort of “E-ZPass” system for fish that allows us to get a baseline for how endangered or commercially important species like sturgeon and striped bass utilize offshore areas. My findings can be used both to help limit impacts to these fish during wind farm construction and to evaluate changes in their behavior that might happen once wind turbines are in place."


Aimee Hoover '17

Knauss Fellow with NOAA Fisheries.

"The Eastern Pacific population [of leatherback turtles] is at risk of extirpation, as numbers have declined 98 percent in the past 30 years. By understanding where the young develop and where adults are most likely to be throughout the Pacific, we can better manage this population."


Aaron Watson '13

Assistant Marine Scientist for South Carolina's Department of Natural Resources

"Working at IMET and with Dr. Place taught me to think independently, pursue interesting or unique results, how to improve my writing and especially how to establish and build collaborations."


Holly Bamford ‘02

Chief conservation officer for National Fish and Wildlife Foundation

“Take advantage of all your interactions with faculty and students… It’s all about building a network of networks, and UMCES is a great place to do that."


Jim Hagy ‘02

Branch chief, gulf ecology division, Environmental Protection Agency

"I’m passionate about having the world we live in have a good environment that we can benefit from."


Secretary of Inter-American Convention for the Protection and Conservation of Sea Turtles

"My goal is to convey the message that the scientific community is worried about the mortality rate for endangered sea turtle species and how laws can be implemented to protect them."