Environmental Science

The University of Dubuque Environmental Science major is an interdisciplinary area of study concerned with biological, hydrological, and geochemical processes and interactions that shape the natural environment. Because of its interdisciplinary nature, the Environmental Science major is broader than most other science programs and is designed to provide a unique integration of chemistry, geology, and biology.

What You Will Learn

  • An appreciation of the breadth of environmental science and its importance in our daily lives.
  • The knowledge and skills needed for employment in a diverse array of environmental science-based careers.
  • Research skills that will enhance your ability to compete for opportunities in graduate school with a focus in natural resources conservation, education, and environmental sciences.
  • The program will also provide environmental science students with opportunities to conduct research in a laboratory or field setting.

Program of Study

The University of Dubuque environmental science degree grounds students with foundational courses in Ecology, Geology, and Chemistry. The program also offers the flexibility to focus a student's education into areas such as Geographic Information Science (GIS), Fish and Wildlife Management, and Environmental Toxicology.

What Our Students Do

The University of Dubuque Environmental Science Program is designed to allow students the opportunity to pursue their own research project under the supervision of a faculty member. Through the years, UD students have developed long-term data sets for the river, mussels, river turtles, and flying squirrels. Students obtain hands-on experience in the field, and in the lab, throughout every environmental science course.

Where Our Graduates Go

University of Dubuque environmental science graduates are enjoying success all across the United States and beyond. Some recent examples of where UD environmental science graduates have gone are: graduate schools in Florida, Kansas, Tennessee, and Texas; naturalist/technician positions with State Natural Resource Agencies in Iowa, New Mexico, Texas, and Washington; and an environmental consultant position in California. 

News from the Department

October 2016 - Congratulations to Environmental Science student Meagan Albon (C’ 18) on being elected to the post of Student Representative to the Central Plains Society of Mammalogists Board of Governors. There is only one student representative on the board and it has rarely gone to an undergraduate.

December 2 - Seminar: Brad Chamberlain - Luther College. Satan's Resin? Redeeming Plastic in a Disposable Age.

November 4 - Seminar: Tesla Monson - University of California-Berkeley. Chew On This: The Evolution of Mammalian Dentition.

October 7 - Seminar: Megan Livingston - University of Wisconsin-Madison. Development of a Robust 3D Organotypic Model of Human Mammary Ducts.

September 9 - Seminar: Nilda Rodriguez - University of Northern Iowa. Host-Pathogen Interactions between the Macrophage and the Parasitic Protozoan Leishmania chagasi.

Environmental Science - Program of Study

The courses below are a program sample of what students may encounter. Students will meet with their advisers to develop a personal educational program to plan their elective course choices, internships, undergraduate research, and other educational opportunities and experiences.

Year One

Fall Semester
EVS 105: Introduction to Environmental Sciences (4)
BIO 135: General Zoology (4)
UDMA 250: Calculus (4) or other Math Course
WVS 101: World View Seminar I (3)


Spring Semester
ESC 115: Basic Physical Geology (4)
EVS 230: Introduction to Statistics in the Environment (3)
WVS 201: World View Seminar II (3)
ENG 101: Composition and Rhetoric (3)
HWS 110:  Physical Activity (1)

Year Two

Fall Semester
EVS 248: Environmental Geology and Hydrology (4)
CHM 111: General Chemistry I (4)
Math (as needed) or other elective
RES 104: Research Writing (3)


Spring Semester
EVS 246: Ecology (4)
CHM 112: General Chemistry II (4)
COM 101: Speech Communication (3)
CIS 101/103: Introduction to Computers (3)
HWS 110: Physical Activity (1)

Year Three

Fall Semester
EVS 247: Environmental Chemistry (4)
EVS Elective (4)
REL 110: Judeo-Christian Journeys (3) or other REL Course
ENG 112/260: Literature (3)


Spring Semester
Science Elective
Science Elective
PSY 111/SOC 111: Introduction to Psychology (3)/Sociology (3) or other Social Development Course
UDHS 121: World Civilization (3) or other Global Awareness A Course

Year Four

Fall Semester
EVS 495: Senior Seminar
EVS Elective
ART 111: Survey of Western Art (3) or other Aesthetics B Course
BIO 125: Population, Resources, and Environment (3) or other Stewardship Course


Spring Semester
EVS Elective
EVS Elective
CCS 101/UDLS 111: Cross-Cultural Studies (1)/Elementary Spanish (3) or other Global Awareness B course

David Koch
David Koch
Department of Natural and Applied Sciences Head and Associate Professor

PhD, Kansas State University, Geography
MS, Kansas State University, Agronomy 
BS, University of Wisconsin-Madison, Agronomy and Genetics

Office Phone: 563.589.3598
E-mail: dkoch@dbq.edu 
Office Location: 204B University Science Center
Fax: 563.589.3688
Biography - Click Here

I received my PhD in Geography (GIS, remote sensing, and spatial analysis) in 2010, MS in Agronomy (soil chemistry) in 2002, and BS in Agronomy and Genetics in 1991.  Throughout that entire time period, the theme of environmental science has run through my academic work.  After receiving my BS, I served two years in the Peace Corp in Paraguay.

Amandeep Arora
Amandeep Arora
Assistant Professor

PhD - Oklahoma State University MS - Guru Nanak Dev University, India BSed - Panjab University, India BS - Panjab University, India

Office Phone: 563.589.3498
E-mail: aarora@dbq.edu 
Office Location: 104E University Science Center

Bindu Balakrishnan
Bindu Balakrishnan
Assistant Professor, Physician Assistant Program

PhD, National Institute of Mental Health and Neurosciences - India
MSc Physiology, Kasturba Medical College - India

Office Phone: 563.589.3261
E-mail: bbalakrishnan@dbq.edu 
Office Location: 104D University Science Center
Fax: 563.589.3688

Richard Cowart
Richard Cowart

PhD, Texas A&M University; Microbiology
MS, Texas A&M University; Microbiology
BS, West Texas State University; Biology

Office Phone: 563.589.3142
E-mail: rcowart@dbq.edu 
Office Location: 204A University Science Center
Fax: 563.589.3688
Biography - Click Here

Education and Postdoctoral Training
Research Fellow, Department of Biochemistry, Vanderbilt University School of Medicine, Nashville, TN 1/83 - 8/84
Postdoctoral Fellow, Department of Biochemistry & Biophysics, Texas A&M University, College Station, TX 1/80 - 12/82
Texas A&M University, College Station, TX, Ph.D., 1979, Microbiology
Texas A&M University, College Station, TX, M.S., 1976, Microbiology
West Texas State University, Canyon, TX, B.S., 1971, Biology

American Society for Microbiology
American Society of Biochemistry and Molecular Biology

Recent Publications
Extracellular Iron Reductase Activity Elaborated by Listeria monocytogenes. (1996) Barchini, E., and R.E. Cowart. Arch. Microbiol. 166:51-57.

Aspergillus fumigatus Conidia induce a Th1-type Cytokine Response. (1997) Grazziutti, M.L., J.H. Rex, R.E. Cowart, E.J. Anaissie, A. Ford, and C.A. Savary. J. Infect. Dis. 176:1579-1583.

Multidimensional Flow Cytometric Analysis of Dendritic Cells in Peripheral Blood of Normal Donors and Cancer Patients. (1998) Savary, C.A., M.L. Grazziutti, B. Melichar, D. Prezepiorka, R. Freedman, R.E. Cowart, D. Cohen, E. Anaissie, D. Woodside, B. McIntyre, D. Pierson, N. Pellis, and J.H. Rex. Cancer Immunol. Immunother. 45:234-240.

Activated Lymphocytes Reduce Adherence of Aspergillus fumigatus. (1998) Martins, M.D., L. Rodriquez, C.A. Savary, M.L. Grazziutti, D. Deshpande, D.M. Cohen, R.E. Cowart, D.G. Woodside, B.W. McIntyre, E.J. Anaissie, and J.H. Rex. Medical Mycology 36:281-289.

Extracellular Iron Reductases: Identification of a New Class of Enzymes by Siderophore Producing Microorganisms. (1999) Vartivarian, S.E. and R.E. Cowart. Arch. Biochem. Biophys. 364:75-82.

Reduction of Iron by Extracellular Iron Reductases: Implications for Microbial Iron
Acquisition. (2002) Cowart, R.E. Arch. Biochem. Biophys. 400:273-281.

Removal of Iron from Fe3+-transferrin. Campbell, J., L. Schneider, and R.E. Cowart. In Preparation.

Surface Proteins of Listeria monocytogenes. Cowart, R.E. and P.J. Kelleher. In Preparation.

Research in The Iron Lab
We are finishing up the writing for submission of the work of Jackie Campbell and Lori Schneider on the removal of iron from transferrin. Additional work was carried out after they left, but these additional studies will make this a superb paper. Jackie has now passed her prelims in the Department of Microbiology and Immunology, Vanderbilt University School of Medicine, and is now a Ph.D. candidate. Congradulations to Jackie. Lori has successfully completed two semesters at Iowa State University School of Veterinary Medicine and is thinking about a career in research. This likley means a Ph.D. after her DVM should she decide to go this direction.

I had a good summer studying Advanced Bacterial Genetics at Cold Spring Harbor Laboratory. The course was intense but very good. Research in the lab is centering around the thermodynamics of the transfer of iron from various chelators to bacterial siderophores, and learning more about bioinformatics and molecular modeling. Plans are also being made to get back to isolating and characterizing bacterial iron reductases.

Relevant Scholarly Activities

I am an active, ad hoc reviewer for the journal Archives of Biochemistry & Biophysics.

Attending STEM Conference for Educators, June 20 – 24, 2016, San Diego, CA.

ATP, Positive Heterotropic Interactions, and Allosteric Control of Fe3+ Release from Fe3+-Transferrin.  Richard E. Cowart.  Presented at the University of Iowa School of Medicine, Department of Biochemistry, June 6, 2015.

U.S. Patent No. 8,647,640, February 11, 2014.  Vaccine Compositions and Methods of Use to Protect against Infectious Diseases.  Richard E. Cowart, Inventor. 

A putative P-type ATPase required for virulence and resistance to haem toxicity in Listeria monocytogenes.  (2012) McLaughlin H.P., Q. Xiao, R.B. Rea, H. Pi, P.G. Casey, T. Darby, A. Charbit, R.D. Sleator., S.A. Joyce., R.E. Cowart, C. Hill, P.E. Klebba, and C.G. Gahan. PLoS One. 7 (2):1-12. 

Reduction of iron by extracellular iron reductases:  Implications for microbial iron acquisition. (2002) Cowart, R.E. Arch. Biochem. Biophys. 400:273-281.

Extracellular iron reductases: Identification of a new class of enzymes by siderophore producing microorganisms. (1999) Vartivarian, S.E. and R.E. Cowart. Arch. Biochem. Biophys. 364:75-82.



I am currently teaching the following courses: Biol 110 Human Biology (a non-majors course), Biol 314 Microbiology, and Biol 213 General and Medical Microbiology. I am also, presently developing the course, “Industrial and Environmental Microbiologys

Comments are alwaywelcome. Feel free to contact me at rcowart@dbq.edu

Dan Duclos
Dan Duclos
Adjunct Instructor of Natural and Applied Sciences

E-mail: dduclos@dbq.edu 

Dale Hampton Easley
Dale Hampton Easley
Department of Natural and Applied Sciences Professor

PhD, University of Wyoming
MS, University of Wyoming
BS, Guilford College

Office Phone: 563.589.3639
E-mail: deasley@dbq.edu 
Office Location: 104B University Science Center
Fax: 563.589.3688

Kelly Grussendorf
Kelly Grussendorf
Assistant Professor

PhD, University of Kansas
BA, Minnesota State University - Moorhead

Office Phone: 563.589.3149
E-mail: kgrussendorf@dbq.edu 
Office Location: 309A University Science Center

Adam Hoffman
Adam Hoffman
Associate Professor of Environmental Chemistry

PhD, University of Wisconsin-Madison
BA, University of Minnesota-Morris

Office Phone: 563.589.3746
E-mail: ahoffman@dbq.edu 
Office Location: 104E University Science Center
Fax: 563.589.3688

Lalith Jayawickrama
Lalith Jayawickrama
Teaching Specialist Faculty, Department of Natural and Applied Sciences

MS, University of Delaware
BS, Ramapo College of New Jersey

Office Phone: 563.589.3148
E-mail: lalithj@dbq.edu 
Office Location: 317 University Science Center
Fax: 563.589.3688

Rasika Mudalige-Jayawickrama
Rasika Mudalige-Jayawickrama
Associate Professor of Natural and Applied Sciences

PhD, University of Hawaii
MS, Louisiana State University
BS, University of Colombo, Sri Lanka

Office Phone: 563.589.3144
E-mail: rmudalig@dbq.edu 
Office Location: 104C University Science Center
Fax: 563.589.3688

James Prochaska
James Prochaska
Adjunct Instructor of Natural and Applied Sciences

MS, University of Wisconsin - Superior; Physics
BS, Loras College; Chemistry

Office Phone: 563.589.3149
E-mail: jprochaska@dbq.edu 
Office Location: 104 University Science Center
Fax: 563.589.3688

Mark Sinton
Mark Sinton
Assistant Professor of Natural and Applied Sciences

PhD, Michigan State University
MS, University of Denver
BA, University of Denver

Office Phone: 563.589.3153
E-mail: msinton@dbq.edu 
Office Location: 204C University Science Center
Fax: 563.589.3688

Richard W. Smith
Richard W. Smith
Assistant Professor - Physics

MA, Mankato State University
BS, University of Dubuque

Office Phone: 563.589.3146
E-mail: rwsmith@dbq.edu 
Office Location: 230C University Science Center
Fax: 563.589.3688

Ken Turner, Jr.
Ken Turner, Jr.
Assistant Professor of Science Education

EDD, National Louis University
MAT, De Pauw University
BA, Valparaiso University

Office Phone: 563.589.3799
E-mail: kturner@dbq.edu 
Office Location: 309A University Science Center
Biography - Click Here

Turner is  pursuing a doctorate at National Louis University while teaching education, science, and research classes at University of Dubuque and  National Louis University.

He led teams of teachers and students in research on local wetlands, fullerenes, liquid crystals, piezoelectrics, lighter-than-air solids, diamond thin-films, and more.  He has taught Materials Engineering and Design at the Cray Academy (Eau Clair, WI) and at the Center for Talent Development (Northwestern University). He initiated, led, and published two different integrated curriculums. He has years of experience teaching high school and middle school sciences, and holds certifications in high school and elementary teaching in addition to being a National Board Certified Teacher. 

He is a module developer, beta tester, book author, and workshop leader for Materials World Modules, at the Materials Science Institute, Northwestern University. He has authored articles, participated in nationwide validity studies, directed a Toyota Tapestry project, led workshops from Boston to San Francisco, and won Illinois “Those Who Excel” award for excellence in teaching three times.

He has been published in The Science Teacher, Journal of Chemical Education, Journal of Materials Education, and others.  He published, “Ready for the Next Generation Science Standards” at the Iowa Academy of Science (2014), and will present “Formative Evaluation of Preparedness to Teach Engineering Design and NGSS” at Evaluation 2014, the national conference for the American Evaluation Association.  He has researched, published, and taught Engineering Design for over a decade.

He believes that, as never before, our students, teachers, and leaders will need to bring all of their creativity and intelligence to bear on each problem they face. Therefore, integrity, collaboration, and innovation must mark our efforts in school and personal improvement. It is a moral imperative.

Danielle Yaklin
Danielle Yaklin
Laboratory Manager

Office Phone: 563.589.3752
E-mail: DYaklin@dbq.edu 
Office Location: 317 University Science Center

Gerald L. Zuercher
Gerald L. Zuercher
Professor of Vertebrate Ecology

PhD, Kansas State University
MS, University of Alaska, Fairbanks
BS, Mississippi State University

Office Phone: 563.589.3147
E-mail: gzuerche@dbq.edu 
Office Location: 104E University Science Center
Fax: 563.589.3688

Michele Zuercher
Michele Zuercher
Teaching Specialist

Office Phone: 563.589.3151
E-mail: mzuercher@dbq.edu 
Office Location: 230A University Science Center

Careers in Environmental Science

The University of Dubuque Environmental Science (EVS) Program prepares students for a wide array of career options. Many EVS students spend a significant portion of their time outdoors, and EVS is a fine choice for their preparation. By choice of electives, and the addition of a minor, students can prepare for a variety of public and private jobs within the environmental science field.

BS Opportunities

Examples of specific careers that can be obtained with a bachelor of science in environmental science fall in four main categories:

  • Government: working at parks, wildlife management areas with GIS offices, and with the public. Employment is available at federal, state, and local levels.
  • Environmental Consulting: serving as the go-between for industry and regulators. Consultants do work such as environmental site assessment, soil and water sampling, and project management.
  • Education: teaching both in schools and as naturalists in parks. Many students decide to concurrently obtain an endorsement in science teaching, often at the high school level.
  • Non-profit Conservation: managing natural resources for non-profit organizations, such as the Nature Conservancy. To help prepare students, UD also offers a minor in natural resource management.

Post-graduate Opportunities

Examples of specific careers that can be obtained with a post-graduate degree in environmental science are all of those listed above plus university professor, scientific researcher, and project and resource manager. Additional education can further enhance opportunities for upward career mobility.


Successful Outcomes

BreAnn Nesteby BS, 2012 S Environmental Science, PBC Environmental GIS

After graduating from the University of Dubuque in 2012, I began graduate school at Western Illinois University under Dr. Susan Romano. Currently, I am finishing my final season of research and will be graduating in the fall with a master of science degree in biology - landscape ecology. I recently accepted a position working for the Army Corps of Engineers at the Mississippi River Project Office - Natural Resource Division, near Le Claire, Iowa. I strongly believe the UD Science Department and its faculty played a key role in helping me get on my current path by giving me opportunities in both the field and lab.