Interview with Professor Mark Green, Plymouth State University
Julie Wilk, Plymouth State IDS Major
When this interview assignment was first presented to me I knew exactly what to do. Our assignment was to interview a professor whose work relates to my major, and who knows about the IDS program here at Plymouth. The first person who came to mind was Professor Mark Green who is a professor of the Environmental Science and Policy program and who knows about the IDS program. He is currently my professor for the Hydrology class I am taking in the Environmental Science and Policy program. Professor Green is also my advisor for my program so he knows a lot about what I am aiming to do with my degree. So far in my Hydrology class, Professor Green has showed me so much and has allowed me to go out into the field and take data samplings to help me understand more about Hydrology and the Geomorphology in the area of Plymouth. I am thoroughly enjoying my time in the class and it makes my love for Environmental Science grow stronger.
Professor Mark Green has 3 degrees. He started his undergraduate degree in Biology and had a minor in Geology. During his graduate program he studied Hydrology, which is the class I am taking with him. He claims that his Master’s degree program was very interdisciplinary with different sciences. During his Ph.D program he worked as a consultant when he studied Water Resources with a focus in Hydrology. When he first entered his undergraduate program, he wanted to study Physical Therapy. It interested him at first because he was an athlete in high school, so he thought that going into physical therapy would be ideal. Then he made the switch into Natural Sciences and showed an interest in water. He made water and hydrology his undergraduate research project, and decided to go to graduate school to focus on his love of hydrology. What interests him most about his field of study is the physics or water, biology, the role of trees in biology, and how new ground can be broken. He says that his interest is “globally relevant”, especially with all the changes in our climate and land.
In his professional teaching career, he first began with Earth Science for Elementary Educators which was intended to teach Elementary Educators how to help elementary students understand Earth Science. He has also taught a lot of Hydrology, Watershed Hydrology and Data Visualization (Infographics) classes. He thinks Data Visualization is important for students to know because it will help them get a better understanding of how their data looks and what it represents. These are all college level classes he has taught, however he doesn’t teach full time because of his research in Hydrology. Outside of the Environmental Science and Policy program, he says students often enjoy Data Visualization. This is because there is a lot of statistics involved and students claimed they have never thought of themselves as programmers but after they did the program, they realized how much they liked it. A lot of students have incorporated it within their major. Professor Green says he would like to see more programming involved in ESP because its one of the fields that could help a lot of people with ES&P develop new skills in their field. Professor Green states that one of the challenges in his field is that Environmental Scientists have a lot of great technical solutions to problems but some politics are being involved. He says that this is a problem we need to solve because he doesn’t feel the public truly understands the issues and would like to figure out a way to better communicate with the general public.
In regards to Interdisciplinary studies, Professor Green says that if ES&P students were to find another field of study to incorporate with their Major, Computer Science or Meteorology would be great. It would help them make connections and understand things from a different perspective. He says “there are so many possibilities it’s hard to pick just one”. Another field would be History because it would be able to show students in the Environmental Science field how people in the past lived, and they would be able to compare to how we lived, what changed and what solutions would be available for some current problems with our environment.
In Professor Green’s field of study, he’s done a few things. Half of his position is hydrology for the US Forest Service in which he learns about water in New England- where it’s stored, if its contamination and where it is on landscapes. The Boston water supply is particularly interesting to him because of how much it’s changed over the years and where it’s been stored. But most importantly how to keep a healthy water supply. He also has done a lot of research at Hubbard Brook which makes up a lot of his work.
Lastly I asked him the most important question I could think of, “If you could create your own major with the fields of study in ES&P, what classes would you take or recommend to others who have any interest with different fields related to ES&P?” He says that with Water Resources, it could create a degree with Atmospheric Science, ES&P, Biology, Social Science and Historical Dimension. This degree in interdisciplinary Studies would help to create a great opportunity for water related fields. Overall he thinks that the ISP is very great for people who have an interest in different components of similar fields and he thinks that if other students did it, it would allow for them to be able to choose classes to build their own degree and future.