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 high school research assistantship position. 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 motivates my work. The combination of curiosity and excitement when brainstorming research questions is one of my favorite parts of starting a new project. At sunrise, waking up and putting on dirty field clothes to bushwhack through the riparian underlines the unity of our field crews. In Dr. Olson’s lab on campus, walking into the room always reminds me of a bustling beehive with everyone working hard in sync. The back and forth dialog about 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 was focus on better understanding riparian and stream retention. We are in the process of selecting a journal for manuscript submission. 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.

I am in the process of applying to graduate school. A master’s in geoscience or watershed science will 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 climate-induced events 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! Periodically returning home, I am reminded of how special the coastline is in San Diego. During my time off from school, I continue to explore point breaks in southern and central California.