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Departments & Programs


Graduate Student Adventures

At Stanford, graduate students in the department of Environmental & Earth System Science are involved in tons of exciting activities – supporting their academic ventures in a wide range of creative and exhilarating ways. Some students are out in the field (some more literally than others) collecting water and soil samples from all corners of the world; others are acquiring, analyzing and modeling data in attempts to explore some of Earth’s most important environmental issues having to do with climate, land use and water resources; still others are spending time exploring the capabilities and intricacies of technology up at the Stanford Synchrotron Radiation Laboratory; and others are involved in teaching advanced summer field courses somewhat closer to home. In this section of our webpage, we’d like to introduce you to some of these activities to give you a sense of what we’re all about.

Mandy McLean from China- August 2012

By Mandy McLean

你好 folks! As you may have guessed from my greeting, I am writing this message to you from China. My travels initially brought me to Beijing where I studied Mandarin for a few weeks and met with fellow researchers at Peking University and the Chinese Academy of Sciences. I have since moved westward to my field site in Zhangye where I am studying sustainable water management for irrigated agriculture.

Year-Round Fun, EESS style- August 2012


I spend a lot of time every year up at the Stanford Synchrotron Radiation Lightsource, or “SSRL” for short. It’s part of the Stanford National Accelerator Lab, which is managed by Stanford for the US Department of Energy. A synchrotron is a particle accelerator in which a beam of electrons goes around in circles at very near the speed of light. Using magnets, the electrons are turned or wiggled – turning or wiggling the electrons produces very bright light which can be used to examine many different kinds of materials from the environment.

EESS Graduate Students Jeremy Caves and Hari Mix from Mongolia - July, 2012


We’ve reached the final goal of our nearly 3 week field campaign—a beautiful, nearly 1 km thick section of rocks that represent the past 30 million years of floodplains, soils, and mountain-building.

EESS Graduate Student Hari Mix from Tajikistan - July, 2012

By Hari Mix

Hey everyone from middle of nowhere Tajikistan. Whatever it is I've been doing is a combination of mostly suffering and some science as well. I'm collecting rock samples for high altitude microbial life for Dragos Zaharescu at the University of Arizona and Biosphere 2 through a nonprofit called Adventurers and Scientists for Conservation. It looks like I've collected samples from a few thousand meters higher than ever before on Lenin Peak.