Water has always been a way of life for South Jersey native Jaclyn Gehring.
“I grew up in the Cape May area, with the beach on one side of our house, and lake and wetlands on the other. I loved playing in the water, collecting rocks and exploring wildlife.”
What once was play has evolved into a research focus for Jaclyn, who entered Union with the desire to pursue geology and then gravitated toward hydrology after doing summer research with Professor Mason Stahl following her sophomore year.
“It was a very cool project,” she says. “We collected water samples from streams and creeks of two local, important rivers, the Mohawk and the Hudson, to understand how different environmental components affect carbon cycling in rivers.
One of the great things about Union is the incredible amount of research opportunities for undergraduates.”
Jaclyn is continuing to work with Professor Stahl, the James M. Kenney Assistant Professor of Environmental Engineering, on her senior thesis, “Developing a Groundwater Isoscape for the United States.” This project integrates her data analytics minor as she seeks to implement a “big data” synthesis approach to investigating scientific questions regarding spatial patterns in the groundwater.
“My hope is that this will have a variety of applications across hydrology, ecology, forensics and other areas of environmental science,” says Jaclyn.
“Data science is an incredible field, especially at Union,” she notes. “The faculty want you to understand programming and statistics, but they also emphasize those skills in whatever field you go into, whether you’re an economics major or a geology major, like me.”