Chuan Tang '15, MS Environmental Science & Engineering, '17, PhD Environmental Science & Engineering
Hometown: Guiyang, China
When I was in China, working as a research assistant, I decided that I would like to improve myself. To be honest, I had not heard of Clarkson until I searched online and realized what important faculty members are connected to the ISE (Institute for a Sustainable Environment). For instance, Prof. Philip Hopke — even my advisor knew of him. So Clarkson University became one of my goals to pursue. Now I'm sure that I made the right choice. I've been able to make progress and broaden my horizons here.
I studied engineering for my master's degree but switched to focus on environmental economics for my PhD Unfortunately, I didn't have a class with Prof. Hopke, but I went to his seminars — and found other faculty members who are great. I have all of the resources I need at Clarkson, and the opportunity to switch from engineering to economics was very important to me. I'm fascinated by the idea of using a scientific approach to understand and explain how our environment and nature work. My studies allow me to explore the interaction between human beings and the environment, using the tool of economics. This opens the door to career options, such as consulting and policy work, because I am able to talk with engineers and economists and help them understand each other.
Studying at Clarkson prepared me to succeed in my future challenges. I discovered my interest in academic research and was encouraged to keep moving forward. It's important to me to keep advancing. I have enjoyed some wonderful opportunities here. I worked with my advisor, Prof. Martin D. Heintzelman, on several exciting environmental-economics projects, including the study of the economic impact of mercury pollution, land conservation and solar-energy adoption in New York. I also had an environmental engineering internship at the Ray Complex mine, a large copper mine located in Tucson, Arizona, for three months. This was a valuable and unforgettable experience!
On campus, I have been involved in many academic activities, including mentoring undergraduate students, teaching and conducting research. I also served for two years as a student representative on the Campus Committee on Climate and Engagement, which makes recommendations for diversity at an institutional level.
I will defend my dissertation by the end of the summer. After that, I will join the Center for Agricultural and Rural Development (CARD) at Iowa State University as a postdoc fellow. CARD is one of the top research institutes studying agricultural and environmental economics in the United States, and I am very excited to bring the Clarkson banner to that community.