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Post Doc Profile

Yuehan Lu

The environment postdoc position caps a decade-long effort to build a nationally competitive undergraduate program in environmental science and policy. Appointments rotate across the sciences, social sciences, and humanities, integrating all aspects of Arts & Sciences into the program. The initiative is funded partly by the Andrew W. Mellon Foundation; and partly by donors who are helping to complete the matching requirement.

Chris Marcoux, appointed for 2009-11, is working with professors and students at the College’s AidData project with a research focus on the distribution of international environmental aid. Jes Therkelsen, at W&M from 2010 - 2012, is teaching and experimenting with how scientists can use visual communication.

Allison Cornell, a freshman of College of William and Mary, is collecting water samples in West Point,Virginia.Dr. Yuehan Lu obtained her Ph.D. in oceanography and organic geochemistry at the University of Michigan and joined us as the first Mellon Environmental Postdoctoral Fellow in September 2008.

Yuehan offered a new course Assessing Environmental Quality in the spring of 2009. This course is aimed at senior level undergraduates majoring in sciences and emphasizes the applications of scientific principles to environmental quality evaluations. Incorporating her research interests into teaching, Yuehan supervised a class project to assess water quality of two streams near the campus. Students conducted field surveys on both the Williamsburg and VIMS campuses and generated a water quality report at the end of the semester.

{{youtube:medium:center|Izqirsvc6A8, Yuehan Lu - teaching water quality research }}

Collaborating with Professors Randy Chambers (wetland ecologist, Keck Lab), Elizabeth Canuel (organic geochemist, VIMS) and Jim Bauer (biogeochemist, VIMS), Yuehan is working on an interdisciplinary research project evaluating the effects of accelerated land-use on water quality and aquatic ecosystem health. Allison Cornell '13, a freshman who has a great interest in chemistry and environmental sciences, is involved in field surveys and sample collections for this project and is expected to do further work in the summer.

Yuehan views this Mellon postdoc position as an excellent launch for her academic career. "Unlike the traditional postdoctoral positions, which only focus on either teaching or research, this position values both." said Lu, "I work in an environment where everyone competes to be the best teacher and conducts high-quality research meanwhile. I used to view teaching and research separately and now I have learned how one can strongly support and significantly improve the other one. "