UNCP adds a major
in Environmental Science
By Scott Bigelow
this day, Dr. Leon Jernigan looked the part of the coordinator of the
new environmental science program at The University of North Carolina
Tan and wearing
camouflage pants, t-shirt and hiking boots, Dr. Jernigan had just returned
from a Biology Club community service outing to pick-up roadside trash.
He will help UNCP launch the new environmental science major in the
fall semester 2004.
working on this program, almost the day I got here two years ago,"
Dr. Jernigan said. "The students seem to have a high degree of
interest in the program, and I think it will be very popular."
The new major in
environmental science requires courses from the three UNCP departments
- biology, chemistry and math and computer science. Several new courses
will be added to UNCP's science curriculum.
"We have created six new core courses and an internship for the
degree - field botany, field zoology, field microbiology, freshwater
ecosystems, soils and hydrology, environmental laws and regulations
and an internship," Dr. Jernigan said. "Yes, we will be getting
out in the field."
Dr. Jernigan, who
has 14 years experience in environmental consulting, said the internship
program is a unique requirement.
is a great feature of the program," Dr. Jernigan said. "Students
will have the opportunity to find out what their job future will be
like with a private consulting firm or with a government agency."
will be available with private companies and with a variety of government
agencies like the North Carolina Department of Environment and Natural
Resources, the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, the EPA, the Fish and Wildlife
Service, or with private non-profits like the Sierra Club or the Audubon
Dr. Jernigan said
there are some interesting electives available to environmental science
feature of the program is the elective, introduction to cartography,
that the geography program offers," he said. "Students will
learn mapping skills as well as practical skills, like using GPS (global
positioning systems) and GIS (geographic imaging systems)."
Some of the other
electives include oceanography, weather and climate conservation biology
and environmental geology. Ten biology courses, six chemistry courses
and two math courses are required.
is to turn out a student who has the techniques and skill to enter the
job market in an entry-level position or to go on to graduate school,"
Dr. Jernigan said.
Chair Andy Ash said the new program fills a critical need in the region.
"We are very
fortunate to have found someone with Dr. Jernigan's qualifications to
coordinate the environmental program," Dr. Ash said. "There
is a documented need for such a program, and it will represent a new
dimension to the outreach role of UNCP in Southeastern North Carolina."
Dr. Jernigan earned
a master's degree in zoology and a Ph.D. in botany/applied ecology from
NC State University. He taught part-time at UNCP for five years before
joining the faculty on a full-time basis in 2003.
This is the second
new major announced by UNCP this spring. A Spanish major was added to
the Department of English, Languages and Theatre.
the new major may be directed to Dr. Jernigan at 910.521.6884 or to
to University Newswire