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Environment inspires student's curiosity

Kristen R andall

Kristen Randall grew up in rural Sullivan County and has always had an interest in the natural world. The junior environmental studies major has an ever-evolving “life plan,” which these days calls for a doctorate in environmental geochemistry.

After that? Well, let’s just say she won’t be bored. Randall hopes to work for a state or government agency, teach, do research and become an author.

“I want to write books for children and adults that are entertaining and accessible and get research to the public,” she said.

Randall, 25, said her 6-year-old son inspires her passion for the environment. It’s a passion she has already put into action by designing an environmental studies curriculum for second-graders.

“If children can understand the environment and respect it,” Randall said, “they’ll want to save it.”

Until her recent move to Binghamton, Randall commuted more than an hour each way to campus from her home in Calicoon. Before transferring to the University, she commuted 45 minutes each way to Sullivan County Community College, where she was on a full-tuition scholarship and in the honors program.

Randall said she decided during her first year at SCCC that she wanted to come to Binghamton. She started up an e-mail correspondence with Associate Professor Peter Knuepfer, who has since become an important mentor.

Knuepfer, director of the Environmental Studies Program, said Randall demonstrated initiative in his class last semester, taking on research at the Neversink River rather than doing the usual term paper. Her fieldwork continues with supervision from Joseph Graney, associate professor of geology. She spends five or six hours every month gathering data at six sites along the river.

“Kristen has struck me as a dynamic person who really wants to learn and be involved as much as possible,” Knuepfer said. “She has a clear sense of where she wants to go in life and how to get there.”

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Last Updated: 10/14/08