Lake Superior State University
Lake Superior State University
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Alum Success

Rachael graduated from Novi High School in Novi, Michigan. Rachael completed their senior research project by developing a method of detecting blastomyces dermatitidis in soil using PCR. This study lays the foundation for further studying blastomyces dermatitidis in soil samples from endemic regions in northern Michigan. Rachael is a member of the Alpha Chi Honor Society. Rachael recently was selected to go to MSU to train in qPCR techniques and assisted in their cow bacteroides project. Rachael plans to attend graduate school in the future to study biochemistry.

Rachael Cunningham
2010 Outstanding Graduate
Forensic Chemistry

Environmental scientists utilize their knowledge of the natural sciences to protect the environment, manage natural resources, and assist policy makers in forming good public policy. Job opportunities include careers in environmental research, regulatory agencies, private consulting firms, chemical analysis, corporate regulatory compliance, resource management and planning, pollution control/remediation, public policy, and environmental & occupational health. Employment prospects in the environmental sciences continue to be good, with the Bureau of Labor Statistics projecting 19% growth this decade.


  • Environmental Science - Physical Sciences

  • Environmental Science - Chemistry

  • Environmental Science - Policy & Management

  • Environmental Health


Our B.S. programs offer the opportunity to specialize in any of the above areas. A faculty advisor will help you choose a course of study that will best prepare you for what ever career area(s) you are most interested in. At LSSU, our geographic location and small class sizes means that you will have the opportunity to work closely with faculty members both in and out of the classroom, developing hands on skills and solving real world problems. For more information on each of our degrees, Click Here, or schedule an on campus visit to meet with a faculty advisor.


Chemistry & Environmental Science Students Present Research at Symposia

State House education appropriator eyes LSSU tech research facilities

New tool beefs up environmental research lab

LSSU faculty and students fill special issue of Great Lakes Research journal





At LSSU, we have excellent resources to support your education, ranging from our collection of standard field sampling equipment (multi-parameter sondes, professional GPS receivers, ponar dredges, Van Dorn bottles, plankton nets, Hi-Vol samplers, etc.), to our suite of chemical instrumentation, to our fully featured GIS lab for mapping and spatial analysis.


LSSU is an ideal location to study the environmental sciences. Our campus is located on the shores of the St. Marys River, with three of the five great lakes less than an hours drive away.

Just to the west of campus lies Hiawatha National Forest, with nearly a million acres of unspoiled wilderness, and numerous smaller, inland lakes.

To the north, lies Sault Ste. Marie, ON, with its mix of local industry abutting the granite cliffs of the Canadian Shield.

Together, these areas offer a wide variety of possible field sites. At many colleges and universities, students have to travel long distances for fieldwork. At LSSU, opportunities for hands-on field experience exist throughout the curriculum.



Close student faculty interaction is a hallmark of a LSSU education. A great way to get to know the faculty anmd other students in our programs is by joining the Chemistry & Environmental Sciences Club. Chem Club meets weekly in Huron Hall, and engages in a variety of social, professional, and service activities that range from camping, to tubing to attending professional conferences, and volunteering for environmental cleanups and monitoring. For information on the Chemistry & Environmental Sciences club, visit their Facebook Page!

Many of the club members also choose to live in the historic Huron Hall Living Learning Community. In addition to a convenient location across the lawn from Crawford Hall (and next to the Library!), Huron Hall features large bedrooms, full kitchens, a library/study lounge, a full screen projector (with cable TV), and WiFi internet access.

Contact Dr. Wright or Dr. Heth for information about Chem Club or Huron Hall.


Internships are very useful for developing skills and gaining additional research or practical experience. For interested students, a faculty member can help place you in an internship, or guide you in applying for a summer research program. Many of our students also work in our Environmental Analysis Lab, which provides paid student internships and in a professional laboratory environment. Interested students should contact Ben Southwell for more information.

View our list summer 2013 student internships here!




Following the completion of their bachelors degrees, many of our students choose to pursue a graduate degree (M.S. or Ph.D.), which is generally required for a career in environmental research. Our students have an excellent record of admission into some of the top graduate programs in the country. A faculty advisor will help you to select a program and prepare your application materials, and maximize your chance at being admitted to your program of choice.

Other students graduate from LSSU and go directly into the workforce. Our graduates work for a variety of federal, state/provincial, and local government agencies, industry, private consulting, and education institutions.

The quality of a LSSU education is demonstrated by the top flight graduate and professional schools our graduates attend, such as: MIT, U.C. Berkeley, Syracuse, Michigan, Michigan State, Wisconsin, Johns Hopkins, UNLV, Texas A&M, Quinnipiac, Minnesota, Ohio State, Toronto, Oregon, etc.

All students in our programs have the opportunity to conduct a research project with a faculty research advisor through our senior thesis course sequence (read abstracts of recent projects). All of our faculty are experienced researchers and active grant writers, who regularly include undergraduate students in their own research projects. Examples of current and recent student projects include:

  • Trace Metal Biogeochemistry in the Munuscong River Watershed, MI
  • Economic Impacts of Drought in the Central United States
  • Optimization of Lampricide Application in the St. Marys River, ON
  • The Impact of TCE contaminated groundwater on the Cedar River, MI
  • Effectiveness of Water Treatment Processes for the Removal of Taste and Odor Compounds and Cyanotoxins in source waters
  • Sediment Contamination in the St. Marys River AOC
  • Sources of VOC contamination on Ashmun Creek, MI
  • Development of Thin Film Hydride Generation/ICP-MS analytical methods
  • Impact of Nutrient and Cladophora Populations on Microbial Contamination in Wisconsin Beaches
  • Development of HPLC based methods for determination of Cyanotoxins in natural waters
  • Atmospheric Deposition of Acid Species and Heavy Metals in Sault Ste. Marie, MI
  • Fate of 2,4-Dichlorophenoxyacetic acid in Paradise Lake, MI

Selecting a minor is an excellent way to round out your educational, while allowing you to specialize in a complementary field of study. The following is a list of minors that complement our programs:











A Summary of Inquiry in the Secondary Science Classroom

Allen Good

Although forms of inquiry have been around since the early 1900s, the use and implementation of inquiry in the secondary science classroom before 2000 was limited (Quigley, 2011). With the publishing of the National Science Education Standards in 1996, the discussion and use of inquiry grew (National Research Council, 1996). In a national of constantly changing education pedagogies and practices, inquiry is discussed, yet implemented less and less (Drayton, 2002; Nadelson, 2009; Banerjee, 2011). There are many published works that demonstrate how to use inquiry in one specific lab, but work needs to be done to insure the development of critical thinking and problem solving skills in the next generation of workers and thinkers.

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