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School of Science

Ryan Gergely

BS Marine and Environmental Biology and Policy, ’13

I entered my freshman year at Monmouth University as an undeclared major, unsure of what I wanted to specialize in. I had always been a “science guy”, with a strong understanding of Biology, but wasn’t sure of the type of a career that it would lead to. At one of the college major/career fairs hosted in the Student Center, I heard about MEBP and how it offered a course in the Bahamas! I was instantly sold on it (who wouldn’t be?) and went to my advisor to make the official declaration. Shortly after declaring for MEBP, I met Professor Tiedemann and began to form a close relationship with him, which led to him becoming my academic advisor for the remainder of my time at MU. Having Professor Tiedemann as my advisor was extremely beneficial to my Monmouth experience and helped me to make connections that furthered my personal and professional growth. I also had the opportunity to participate in the School of Science’s Summer Research Program, where I worked for two consecutive summers on a team under Professor Tiedemann conducting sampling and research on zooplankton abundance in the upper Barnegat Bay.

 

During my junior year, I finally had the opportunity to enroll in Tropical Island Ecology and travel to Eleuthera, Bahamas for a truly unforgettable life experience. While there, in addition to learning and researching topics surrounding bonefish, mangroves, and coral, I began to latch on to the idea of sustainability and clean energy. The Island School in Eleuthera has an extremely sustainable campus that incorporates solar PV and wind energy, water conservation and reuse, localized gardening and aquaponics, and strict recycling and composting practices. Living in this type of environment for two weeks enabled me to gain a true appreciation for it and helped narrow the focus of my aspirations after undergrad.

 

Following graduation from Monmouth, I decided to pursue a Master of Science Degree at the University of Delaware in Energy and Environmental Policy, which I earned in 2015. During that two year span, along with taking classes, I was employed by the Delaware Department of Natural Resources and Environmental Control (DNREC) within the Division of Energy and Climate. My position as a “Climate Change Planner” tasked me with assisting in implementing the Governor’s Executive Order related to mitigating and adapting to climate change. Through this process, I aided representatives from eleven State agencies with understanding their agencies’ vulnerabilities to the projected impacts of climate change and identifying actionable recommendations on how to address these vulnerabilities. These recommendations were compiled in the final report to the Governor, The Climate Framework for Delaware, which I co-authored.

 

After I received my Master’s Degree, I chose to leave my position at DNREC to return home to New Jersey. Shortly after returning, I was offered a position with the New Jersey Department of Environmental Protection (NJDEP), within the Bureau of Energy and Sustainability, where I have been employed ever since. Over the past 3 years, I have been involved in a number of initiatives for the NJDEP related to advancing clean energy and clean transportation in the State—namely solar PV, offshore wind, and electric vehicles. I have also continued to improve my skills and expertise with GIS and have developed numerous maps, as well as interactive online mapping tools, to support the Bureau and Department’s policies.