SILS and the UNC Curriculum for the Environment and Ecology (ENEC) have partnered to create a dual-degree program in environmental informatics. Students will earn a Bachelor of Science in Environmental Science and a Master of Science in Information Science, a particularly valuable combination in an age where data management and smart grid technology industries depend on a knowledgeable workforce to meet their needs.
“Data science is really important to a wide range of environmental fields, but especially for energy and water, which in turn correspond to smart cities and ecological informatics,” said Greg Gangi, Associate Director for Education and Clinical Assistant Professor at the UNC Institute for the Environment. “Dual-degree students will acquire a very unique skillset that will position them well for the job market, or provide an excellent foundation for doctoral research.”
Caroline Hall, an environmental science major planning to pursue the dual degree, said she believes the MSIS will give her a broader set of skills for managing the constantly growing amount of data that renewable energy companies contend with regarding their development and operations.
“It’s my goal to work with a solar energy company and to bring a new perspective to the table by having the interest and knowledge of the environmental sciences degree, but also the ability to understand the informational flow of the company from the master’s program,” she said.
Kathleen Lowry, another undergraduate who intends to earn the dual degree, said she hopes to combine her passion for energy and sustainability with a better understanding of how information systems function and how information is relayed to people.
“I see the MSIS helping me develop the skills to communicate information to people and achieve a comprehensive understanding of how these systems integrate in our lives,” she said. “I would like to focus these understandings to renewable energy systems. I think pursuing a career in consulting will allow me to achieve my goals and execute what I learn during my studies in a way that allows me to help others.”
This story was originally published in the Fall 2016 SILS newsletter.