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Alumni Spotlight: Tyler Barnes

Monday, March 25, 2019

Tyler stands next to his instrument on the beach.

What year did you graduate and with what Major/Minor?

I graduated in 2015 with a BA in Environmental Studies.

What is your hometown?

San Diego

Where are you now and what are you doing?

I’m currently living in Santa Cruz, CA and finishing up a MS in Marine Science from Moss Landing Marine Labs. My thesis research uses ground-based LiDAR (i.e. topographic mapping equipment) to assess high-frequency beach geomorphologic changes. I’m headed to the University of Virginia in the fall to begin a PhD program in Environmental Science. Here, I will incorporate drone-based mapping techniques with boat-mounted instruments that map the seafloor to address geomorphologic questions along the Virginia coast.

What was your favorite thing about the dept/USD?

My favorite thing about the department/USD was the accessibility to professors both in and out of class. The classes were small enough that lectures were more discussion-based than what I had previously experienced in large lecture-halls. Outside of class it was easy to get extra support from professors (even outside of office hours).

I also value the truly interdisciplinary nature of my liberal arts education at USD. Classes such as The Problem of God (theology department) and Logic (philosophy department) shaped my worldview, refined my ability to reason, and exposed me to diverse thought. I believe this should be the entire point of an undergraduate education.

How did your degree from Environmental and Ocean Science (or MARS/ENVI) help prepare you for what you are doing?

The combination of hands-on class projects and undergraduate research opportunities prepared me well for graduate student research. From considerable field experience, a rigorous scientific writing course, and multiple research presentations, USD gave me a great introduction to the various aspects of scientific research.

What advice do you have for current undergraduates?

Take advantage of undergraduate research opportunities, and start early. USD has various funding options for undergrads to participate in research. I can say from experience that getting paid to do summer research is preferable to any other random summer job.

Also, find study partners/groups and go to office hours. My academics and passion to learn improved dramatically when I eventually figured this out.


Soroya Rowley
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College of Arts and Sciences

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