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Northern Arizona ARCS Alumni Updates

Posted on Tuesday, October 8, 2019

After successfully defending their Ph.D.’s in Biology at Northern Arizona University, Rachel Rubin and Molly Schuman Goodier took the summer off to clear their heads and hiked 260 miles of the Colorado Trail for three weeks with their dog, Juniper.

Rachel noted that it was amazing to spend lots of time outside and to process everything! As a postdoc, she is working in the Restoration Ecology Program at Mount Holyoke. Cranberry farming in New England is no longer lucrative for small family farms, so there are thousands of acres that are either getting abandoned or will be abandoned soon. While it’s sad that this large part of the New England cultural heritage is fading, it also offers a huge opportunity for rewilding lost habitat.  Many of the cranberry farms are on the coast near Cape Cod, so they have high ecological importance. One of the sites, Tidmarsh, was the largest wetland restoration project in the Northeast. The work she is doing there, focusing on nutrients and microbes, will be used to garner support and funding for addition restoration projects.

After their adventure, Molly Shuman Goodier recently took a permanent job working as a biologist with the EPA in Washington D.C. Her work is focused on evaluating the risk of new and existing chemicals on ecological health (fish, amphibians, insects, etc.). She is excited about the opportunity to connect her science with pretty large-scale decisions that she hopes may make a difference.  The work in this part of the EPA is all based on a law that was passed in 2016 to amend the Toxic Substance Control Act, and improve the way we regulate chemical safety in the United States. Molly wants ARCS members to know that she is very grateful for the support she received from ARCS Foundation Phoenix Chapter. She hopes to stay in touch with ARCS members. She also hopes there are many new Biology Ph.D. candidates that may receive and benefit from the scholar award, as she did.