Environmental Studies

Environmental Sciences illustration


Environmental Studies is inherently an interdisciplinary subject that promotes an understanding of the Earth as a Complex System.  We assist students in translating their passion for sustainability and the environment into reality.  Environmental challenges are complex and multi-tiered and require critical thinking and inspired problem solving, both characteristics of a liberal arts philosophy.  Our department helps prepare students who can address the questions and challenges for humanity’s long-term survival through the thorough pursuit of environmental knowledge. 

McDaniel College participates in the American College and University Presidents Climate Commitment.

Lewis Recitation Hall and Lewis Hall of Science

Dr. Jason Scullion
Department Chair
(410) 857-2436

Enviromental Studies Online Catalog

Major & Courses

Environmental concerns are broad, therefore we have designed the Environmental Studies program to offer students a liberal arts experience that addresses a diversity of environmental issues, while providing detailed training in specific fields. After graduation, students may pursue graduate studies in a number of disciplines or follow career paths as policy analysts, environmental consultants, environmental health specialists, urban or regional planners, science educators, or naturalists.

Three program tracks include:

Students may elect to complete a minor in Environmental Studies too.


Assistant Professor and Department Chair Jason ScullionAssistant Professor and Department Chair Jason Scullion

(Ph.D., University of Washington), teaches courses in environmental policy and management, conservation biology, and sustainability. His research is focused on improving the conservation and management of globally important forests. Current study sites are located in Central and South America. Research is focused on finding ways to improve forest governance under a range of circumstances, including payments for ecosystem service programs in Mexico and land-use management systems in the Peruvian Amazon. Dr. Scullion is also the board president and co-founder of the international nonprofit Wild Forests and Fauna (WildFF). 

Mona BeckerAssistant Professor Mona Becker

 (Ph.D., State University of New York at Stony Brook), teaches Environmental Problem Solving, Environmental Geology, Energy and the Environment, Science of Soil, Water and Air, and Climatology.  She is a publicly elected member of Westminster City Council; her connections in the city and Carroll County provide students with local environmental internships.  She is a member of the Executive Board of the Maryland Association of Science Teachers, and a member of the Monocacy Scenic River Citizens Advisory Board. Her research addresses stream water pollution in McDowell County, WV, focused on improving the water quality in impoverished areas of Appalachia.

Recent Publications:

Asbjornsen, H, Manson, R, Scullion, J, Perez, O, Holwerda, F, Muñoz, L, Geissert, D. Accepted for publication in Ecology and Society. Interactions between payments for hydrologic services, landowner decisions, and ecohydrological consequences: Synergies and disconnection in the cloud forest zone of central Veracruz, Mexico.

Vogt, D. J., Vogt, K. A., Gmur, S. J., Scullion, J. J., Suntana, A. S., Daryanto, S., & Siguroardóttir, R. 2016. Vulnerability of tropical forest ecosystems and forest dependent communities to droughts. Environmental Research, 144, 27-38

Scullion, J, Vogt, K. A., Winkler-Schor, S., Sienkiewicz, A., Peña, C., & Hajek, F. 2016. Designing conservation-development policies for the forest frontier. Sustainability Science, 11(2), 295-306


Each year graduating seniors in the Environmental Studies Department complete a capstone project focusing on their interests. Many students have investigated topics regarding ways McDaniel College can use alternative energy sources such as solar and wind power to become more sustainable. After graduation these students will be prepared to work as policy analysts, science researchers, environmental consultants, environmental health specialists, urban or regional planners, science educators, or naturalists. Our current graduates already serve in a variety of local, state, and federal agencies, educational institutions, as well as for-profit and not-for-profit organizations.

Student-Faculty Research

A sample of recent student-faculty research collaboration includes:

Student Professor Topic
Jeb Shingler Dr. Mona Becker E.Coli contamination of stream water in McDowell County, WV
Sabrina Beil Dr. Mona Becker Creation of a Native Plant Memory/Sensory Garden at Carroll Lutheran Village
Ashley Pritchard Dr. Mona Becker Chemical characterization of soil samples in a no-till field vs. a young forest
Blake Hodges Dr. Jason Scullion Study of forests and land-use in national parks in Mesoamerica
Beth Lang Dr. Jason Scullion Study of forests and land-use in national parks in Mesoamerica
Casey Kelehan Dr. Jason Scullion Analysis of tropical birds as indicators of forest integrity


McDaniel College’s location in the greater Washington-Baltimore region allows us to offer a number of valuable internship opportunities through government and consulting agencies. We also encourage students to take part in the institution’s Washington Partnership Internship Program. Additionally, there are many opportunities for students to take part in internationally based courses and internships, for example, the Field Studies Program, SIT and the Political Science Semester in Washington, D.C. (either through the American University or through George Washington University).

Research Projects

Thanks to a generous grant from the Margaret A Cargill Foundation exceptional students are provided the opportunity to conduct field research at exciting locations around the world. Past students have worked with the School for Field Studies, the Peruvian nonprofit ARCAmazon, and the School for International Training. Students are also afforded an opportunity to conduct research projects with both Dr. Becker and Dr. Scullion through McDaniel. Students frequently obtain internships, students have recently interned with the Smithsonian Environmental Research Center (SERC), the Stroud Water Research Center, the state of Delaware Park Service, and environmental consulting companies.

Study Abroad

Students have studied abroad with the School for Field Studies, the School for International Training, and Operation Wallacea to name a few. Some countries where our students have studied abroad include Peru, Ecuador, Costa Rica, South Africa, Indonesia, France, Germany, and the United Kingdom. In addition, several of our students have spent a semester in Budapest at McDaniel Europe.

Environmental Club

You might also be interested in joining the Environmental Action Club and/or belong to the Environmental Studies Honor Society. These two student groups often work together to organize activities such as tree plantings in local parks, Earth Day celebrations on campus, and Recyclemania — a nationwide recycling contest between college campuses.

Green Leaf National Honor Society

McDaniel also has a local chapter of the Green Leaf National Honor Society, established to recognize and reward the brightest students throughout the country who are studying some aspect of the natural environment as college undergraduates. Juniors with a 3.75 overall GPA and seniors with a 3.50 overall GPA may apply to the Green Leaf National Honor Society.