Megan Wimsatt '23

A strong foundation to address the impacts of climate change
UNH student Megan Wimsatt

Megan Wimsatt is an environmental sciences: ecosytems major who has received a Summer Undergraduate Research Fellowship (SURF) to conduct research under the guidance of Ruth Varner, professor of biogeochemistry in both the UNH College of Engineering and Physical Sciences and at the Earth Systems Research Center, which is part of the UNH Institute for the Study of Earth, Oceans, and Space. Her research topic is “Lake Sediment Incubations to Understand Temperature Control on Methane Production Rates.”

The Northwood, N.H. native is also captain of the UNH club tennis team and has received several scholarships: the Dean's Scholarship; the Wildlife Class of 1974 Scholarship; the Natural Resources Alumni Scholarship; the Charles F. Marble Scholarship; and the Lloyd H. and Edna B. Heidgerd Scholarship.

COLSA: Why did you choose UNH?

Megan Wimsatt: After receiving a strong academic foundation, particularly in the sciences, from Coe-Brown Northwood Academy, I knew I wanted to stay close to home to be near my family and community, which are a big part of my life. I looked closely at some other universities in New England, but what steered me to UNH was that it had endless opportunities academically and recreationally. I wanted to study abroad for a semester and UNH had countless programs available. I am very excited to share that I have been accepted to study abroad with the EcoQuest program to New Zealand Spring of 2023!

COLSA: What's your major and what makes it so interesting to you?

Megan: I am majoring in environmental sciences: ecosystems. I fell in love with this major because it has given me a new perspective. I am beginning to see just how complex environmental systems are and how they are all connected to and impact one another. Learning about soils, freshwater and atmospheric gases individually is very fascinating to me on their own, but it's astounding to see the ripple effects of their impacts, many of which I aim to dedicate my time to researching so we can gain a better understanding of them and create potential solutions to address the climate change.

COLSA: During your time at UNH, what are you most proud of?

Megan: I am very proud of the people I have chosen to surround myself with at UNH as they have all been incredibly caring and supportive of me, but I am most proud of my hard work and motivation to be a successful undergraduate student. I am thrilled to have recently received admission into the Earth science: geochemical systems specialization accelerated master's program. I will begin to dual credit courses this fall for both my undergraduate and graduate degrees.

COLSA: What are you planning to do after graduation?

Megan: As mentioned above, I am very excited to continue my studies with a master's program. I then plan to enter the workforce and hope to secure a position in New Hampshire with UNH, NH Department of Environmental Services or a private environmental company in which I can continue to actively research our changing climate. I have a strong interest in lake ecosystems and plan on focusing my master's research and future career in this field.

COLSA: How is UNH preparing you to achieve your goals?

Megan: UNH faculty and staff have been phenomenal in their abilities to teach, their outreach with opportunities, and their personal support. Dr. Ruth Varner, the faculty mentor for my SURF project this summer and my advisor for my master's program, has been essential to my success at UNH thus far. She has provided me with endless support and new opportunities. UNH also has many resources available, such as the St. Martin Career Center, which gave me assistance with writing a resume.

COLSA: What do you love most about UNH?

Megan: I love the commitment UNH has made to become a more sustainable campus and their continued efforts to always be improving. I enjoy that the campus is semi-rural with an abundance of trees and other greenery and provides a small town feel. It is wonderful that the campus is located close to the ocean, mountains and everything in between.