Welcoming the Environmental Resource Policy Program to the Trachtenberg School

ENRP Capstone group
Students in the MA-ENRP Capstone.

by Michael Downey, MPP '17

February 02, 2018

When it comes to the alphabet soup of graduate degrees, the Trachtenberg proudly adds additional letters – MA-ENRP – to the previous offerings of MPA, MPP and PhD. In fall 2017, the Environmental Resource Policy (ENRP) officially joined the Trachtenberg School. Now, students may earn a Master of Arts in Environmental Resource Policy.

That’s not to say, of course, that the relationship between the Trachtenberg School and ENRP is a new one. ENRP has been an affiliate program of the Trachtenberg School since 2003 and a part of the Columbian College of Arts & Sciences for the past 25 years. In fact, ENRP’s core curriculum already includes three courses taught in the Trachtenberg School—Microeconomics, Research Methods and Policy Analysis. 

“ENRP students take courses in environmental science, environmental law, environmental economics and public policy,” said ENRP Director Peter Linquiti, PhD ’12. Students in both the ENRP and Trachtenberg School programs can take courses throughout the university, enabling them to explore their interests from many different angles.

“Merging these two programs made a lot of sense,” said Nancy Augustine, PhD ’05, the Trachtenberg School’s admissions director. “They both have a strong policy focus. And both offer students a comprehensive core curriculum while enabling them to customize their studies and explore their individual interests.”

“We are just so excited to have ENRP join the Trachtenberg School,” said Trachtenberg School Director Kathy Newcomer. “The timing is perfect since Nina Kelsey joined our faculty this past fall. Dr. Kelsey’s expertise is in international environmental policy, so she will be a great resource as we strengthen the school’s focus on environmental policy.”

One of the Trachtenberg School’s greatest strengths is its vast and active alumni base. The addition of ENRP will add an additional 200 alumni, who work at all levels of government and within both the private and nonprofit sectors.                

Jamie Mierau, MA ’07, is the Director of River Protection for American Rivers, a nonprofit advocacy organization in Washington D.C. She credits her time in the ENRP program with helping her to approach environmental issues from multiple perspectives and disciplines. One of her highlights was pursuing her passion for rivers through her capstone project.

“The topic of my capstone project was Colorado’s Fraser River,” she said. Through the project, she evaluated “the growing demands for water on Front Range and West Slope, and the impact of trans-mountain water diversions on natural and human populations.”

Bill Ostrum, MA ’12, is an Environmental Protection Specialist at the Department of Energy. He chose the ENRP program because the curriculum offered a solid foundation in the complexities of environmental resource policy while still allowing students to cater their coursework to their individual passions.

“ENRP offered more than just an environmental concentration within a pre-existing policy program,” he said. “At the same time, students were encouraged to take advantage of elective course offerings across the GW campus, including engineering, policy, management and science.”

Even as ENRP joined the Trachtenberg School, the program will maintains its unique curriculum and students continue to take courses designed and taught specifically for the program.

What does change, however, is the student experience. As a part of the Trachtenberg School, students have the opportunity to participate in networking events, join the Trachtenberg Student Organization, and contribute to the school’s student-run media: Policy Perspectives, the Brief Policy Perspectives blog and the student pod-cast, GW Wonkcast.

Additionally, ENRP students have access to the Trachtenberg School’s top-tier career services.

“We are thrilled to join the Trachtenberg School,” said Dr. Linquiti.  “With this move, ENRP students will continue to enjoy a rigorous curriculum while benefitting from a more holistic student experience.  We are looking forward to the creative ways that ENRP students, as well as MPA and MPP students, use the school’s resources to explore environmental issues through a variety of lenses.”