When he was rising up, Robbie Rioux’s ’21 household holidays meant going to state parks. These tenting journeys nurtured his love for nature and the outside, and led him to take an environmental science class in highschool. Little did the Syracuse, N.Y., native know that it could later encourage him to proceed his training at Yale College, the place he’ll pursue a grasp’s diploma in environmental science.
Rioux can be working with Gaboury Benoit, professor of environmental chemistry, in the course of the two-year analysis program. Benoit offers with points in water high quality and is presently learning issues involving microplastics, city litter, and infrastructure coping with stormwater administration.
In highschool when Rioux was enthusiastic about profession pursuits, he thought of what he needed his future to seem like. “I didn’t ever wish to be in an workplace,” he stated. “I didn’t wish to are available in and work in a cubicle beneath fluorescent lights all day. I at all times had that behind my thoughts.”
In the course of the fall of his first yr at Hamilton, he took Environmental Geology with Professor Todd Rayne. They explored problems with air pollution and water high quality, which helped construct his basis of understanding for his future work. That summer season, he bought an internship on the Syracuse Water Division.
“I used to be driving round this lake on daily basis. I used to be working with my boss, different authorities businesses, and owners,” Rioux stated. “I bought paid to be exterior, stroll round to folks’s properties, be out on a lake and out on a ship. I’m like, ‘That is superb.’ That proper there, I [thought], ‘That is what I wish to do. I wish to be exterior, within the area, I wish to work with folks fixing points.’”
Apart from the water division, Rioux has interned with a soil and water conservation district and the Department of Environmental Conservation over the course of his summers at Hamilton. Most lately, over winter break, he labored with a nonprofit that focuses on points with water within the Onondaga watershed.
“I’ve executed a number of issues with water high quality and water points, and they’re very attention-grabbing issues,” stated Rioux. “They’re holistic, complicated, and actually vital, particularly in Upstate New York. Once I labored with the water division, I used to be working in a watershed the place I bought my ingesting water from, and there are a bunch of water high quality points within the lake that they should resolve, so attempting to unravel these points is defending the water supply for possibly 185,000 folks.
“Doing issues like that, it feels significant, and I feel it’s additionally one thing you’ll find options to. It may be irritating combating the nice struggle, however feeling like there’s no actual progress, and I really feel like you may make actual progress in defending water high quality, particularly in recent water our bodies,” he stated.
His sophomore fall, Rioux took Local weather Change with Assistant Professor of Environmental Studies Aaron Strong. Over the summer season, he had been taking a look at dangerous algal blooms on the lake. In Sturdy’s course, he was put right into a water high quality group the place they learn papers about problems with water high quality. One was about dangerous algal blooms affecting local weather change.
“I used to be like, ‘Oh my God, that is loopy,’” Rioux stated. “It wasn’t one thing I had actually considered or made a connection to. I actually preferred the paper, I actually preferred the problem, and I actually preferred that I had already had a connection and expertise with it, so I’ve run with it ever since.”
An environmental science main, Rioux targeted his thesis on dangerous algal blooms in Skaneateles Lake. “That’s partly due to the internship I had and largely due to Aaron and his class and his fixed encouragement,” Rioux stated. “He was the one who informed me to even apply to Yale. Like, who sits round and is like, ‘Yeah, I’m going to use to Yale?’ Not me. I wouldn’t have executed it if he didn’t inform me to.”
After acquiring his grasp’s diploma, Rioux hopes to work as a analysis scientist at a authorities company, both on the state or federal degree. He needs a place that’s public-facing, public-serving, investigating water points and assets. He’s additionally involved in acquiring his Ph.D. so as to have the ability to train.
“I’m in a really bittersweet second proper now,” Rioux stated. “My time at Hamilton is coming to an finish, however then I get to go to Yale to proceed my training. I’m excited to see what occurs and the way in which issues shake out.”