Economics/Environmental Science Double Major to Seek Ph.D. at Dartmouth

Lan Nguyen '18

Beginning this fall, a Hollins University senior will pursue her Ph.D. in an Ivy League program that focuses on tackling the socioecological issues of the 21st century.

Lan Nguyen ’18 has been accepted into the Graduate Program in Ecology, Evolution, Ecosystems and Society (EEES) at Dartmouth College. According to the EEES website, Nguyen will be joining “a diverse community of scholars who conduct research in the natural sciences and environmental studies, including ecology, evolution, anthropology, environmental economics, geography, and earth sciences.”

The EEES website notes that “there is need for a new social contract where scientists work in interdisciplinary settings and actively contribute to humanity’s efforts to ameliorate and adapt to the rapidly emerging challenges of the Anthropocene,” Earth’s current geological period and the age in which humanity has had significant impact on climate and the environment.

“I wanted to engage in this interdisciplinary program to learn from other fields and see different ways of doing research,” Nguyen explained. “I will be studying and working closely with Professor Richard Howarth to conduct interdisciplinary research in the area of ecosystem service valuation, specifically examining the nexus between the economics, ecosystem science, and natural resource management in Southeast Asia – one of the world’s key biodiversity hot spots.

“Pursuing a Ph.D. will allow me to grow as an environmental and resource economist. I will be contributing to current research efforts where the goal is achieving sustainable solutions that build climate change resilience and formulate environmental and economic policies.”

Nguyen, who hails from Vietnam, has enjoyed a distinguished academic career at Hollins. In addition to double-majoring with honors in economics and environmental science, she participated in the School for Field Studies’ River Ecosystems and Environmental Ethics program in Cambodia in the fall of 2015; completed an eight-week Summer Residence Internship at the American Institute for Economic Research in 2016; and performed a 12-week research fellowship last summer at Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution.

“I would not have been able to explore my potential and find the right path without all the amazing support from the Hollins community,” Nguyen said. “I can’t say ‘thank you’ enough for the close mentorships I have had here with incredible faculty members from economics, environmental science, and mathematics. I’ve received a great education and the skills to go places and secure more opportunities ahead.”

Nguyen particularly cited her co-advisors, Associate Professor of Economics Pablo Hernandez and Professor of Biology Renee Godard. “They have inspired me with their hard work, dedication to research and teaching, and tremendous care and support for me and other students. Besides pushing me to strive and reach my full potential, they have shared with me their knowledge, experience, and lessons that will serve me for a lifetime.”