Contact: gwichman@csumb.edu.

Welcome to my ePortfolio! 

I am undergraduate student in my senior year studying Environmental Science concentrating in Watershed Systems at California State University, Monterey Bay (CSUMB). I joined Dr. John Olson’s Watershed Environments and Ecology Lab during my first semester of college. My interest in research came from a research assistantship position that I completed during high school at a local university. The community of freshwater science researchers around me have helped me feel supported in my academic and professional journey.

The sense of camaraderie between my mentors, lab mates, and I during each stage of the research process motivates my work. The combination of curiosity and excitement when brainstorming research questions is my favorite part of starting a new project. Sharing fieldwork stories about off-roading and thunder storms during crew changes is one reason our lab is tight-knit. Walking into to Dr. Olson’s lab on campus makes me think of a beehive working hard in sync. Dialog around data interpretation reminds me that displaying data correctly is at the crux of solving environmental problems. Although in some ways research is about the deliverables, to me it is also about the journey.

My research interests have developed from my involvement with two research projects and various short term fieldwork. a) My honors capstone project is investigating the influence of salinity on leaf-litter breakdown rates in tidal streams. I will present my capstone through Dr. Olson’s lab upon graduation from CSUMB in Spring 2022. b) I visited Kansas State University for my Research Experience for Undergraduates (REU) through Dr. Walter Dodds’s Lab. The REU project aims at understanding riparian and stream retention. c) Revisiting field sites through Dr. Olson’s lab on the Santa Lucia Preserve and Carmel River Reroute has shown me the importance keeping track of seasonal and annual changes for streamflow and channel dimensions. d) Fieldwork stints through Dr. Olson’s lab exposed me to many styles of data collection. Rapid field surveys across an entire region has taught me that this approach can yield results that are applicable to many places. In short, my research interests include hydrology, freshwater and estuarine biogeochemistry, and long-term ecological monitoring.

My next step is to attend graduate school. In July 2022, I will begin the Master of GeoScience program at Southern Cross University, Lismore campus in New South Wales, Australia. My thesis will include antimony (Sb) geochemistry and contamination hydrology in the Macleay River and Estuary. This Master program will enable me to advance my career trajectory to become a researcher for a government agency. I would like to inform streamflow related environmental risk assessment during my career. Applied research is one way to effectively predict and understand biogeochemical cycles that impact water quality.

Outside of research, I enjoy surfing lesser known reefs near my home in San Diego and near my university in Monterey. When I moved north for college, I was introduced to cold water surf and subsequently a thicker wetsuit! During my time off from school, I continue to explore point breaks in southern and central California.