Wilkes University

Environmental Engineering and Earth Sciences

B.S. in Environmental Science

Earth and Environmental Sciences major

If you’re passionate about improving and sustaining life on our planet, the Earth and Environmental Sciences (EES) program at Wilkes will transform your passion into practice. 

Using an interdisciplinary approach across the related sciences, coupled with an optimum blend of hands-on field and laboratory instruction, our program will prepare you for a fulfilling career in the environmental field.  

Now more than ever, our society depends on trained earth and environmental scientists to forward the efficient use of natural resources, further the development of a diverse energy portfolio, and help solve vexing environmental problems ranging from air and water pollution to earthquakes and global change. The programs offered incorporate a strong background in all of the sciences and include extensive laboratory and field experience.  

Wilkes’ program is one of only a few in the country that houses both environmental engineers and scientists in the same department. This unique atmosphere produces high-quality engineers and scientists who have a heightened ability to work collaboratively with one another.

At Wilkes, the programs expose you to the fundamental Earth system processes and will allow you to graduate with an understanding of how changes (natural and anthropogenic) are influencing planet Earth.  The department emphasizes analysis and experimentation of natural systems, providing you with practical, job-ready skills. Wilkes’ goal is to develop your skills as a strong critical thinker and prepare you for a career in industry, consulting, non-profit, government or higher education. 

Cohen Science Center

The 72,500-square-foot Cohen Science Center opened in August 2013. It features state-of-the-art equipment and related laboratory space for hands-on, experiential learning – a hallmark of the Wilkes experience. The third floor is dedicated to research laboratories for biology, chemistry and environmental research, encouraging interdisciplinary connections.

The EEES department houses the following labs that are dedicated solely to undergraduate teaching and research:

  • Air Quality
  • Water Quality and Wastewater
  • Geology
  • Toxicology
  • Geographic Information Systems (GIS)
  • Hydrology
  • Ash/Cenosphere
  • Environmental Chemistry
  • Rock and Soils
  • Atomic Absorption Spectrometer
  • Gas Chromatograph (housed in Chemistry)
  • Perkin Elmer Spectrofluorometer (housed in Chemistry)
  • Hitachi Scanning Spectrometer (housed in Chemistry)
  • Automated Tedelyne ISCO samplers
  • Science in Motion is a science partnership between area and secondary schools and Wilkes University. Its mobile educator can present labs utilizing high tech instrumentation to science students and can drop-off and pick up instrumentation and labs as requested. The program develops an improved science curriculum by having labs available to compliment lecture topics while providing student access to adequate resources.

  • Women Empowered by Science (WEBS) is a summer camp that allows young women entering grades 7 or 8 to sample many areas of the sciences through investigative laboratories and projects. Current Wilkes students assist at the camp.

Students have the opportunity to present their research at conferences in places such as Houston, Texas, and Atlantic City, N.J. Presentations include:

  • “Modeling Compositional Variation in Volcanic Rocks from the North Flank of Mount St. Helens, Washington”
  • “Community Water Supply and Treatment Project in Cameroon: Chlorinator Design and Development”
  • “Temporal Changes in Precipitation Chemistry in Northeast Pennsylvania”

Additionally, seniors encouraged to conduct their own research have access to the most current environmental research equipment. Recent senior projects include:

  • “The Comparison of Lipid Yield from Microalgae Using Two Extraction Methods”
  • “Optimization of the Voltage Output From a Microbial Fuel Cell”
  • “Bacterial Growth in Pipes”
  • “Stream Restoration Through Fluvial Geomorphology at Blue Bell Farm”
  • “Are Songbirds Exposed to Contaminants from Natural Gas Drilling in PA?”
  • “Soil Properties in a Specific Culm Bank and Impact on Vegetative Growth”
  • “A Petrological Study of Volcanic Rocks From the North Flank of Mount St. Helens, Washington”
The department encourages, facilitates and accommodates student participation in hands-on internship experiences. Students have recently interned with:
  • National Science Foundation Research Experiences for Undergraduates
  • Johnson & Johnson
  • Johnson Matthey
  • Pennsylvania Department of Environmental Protection

Employers of Wilkes EEES graduates include:

  • Pennsylvania Department of Environmental Protection
  • Suburban Consulting Engineers Inc.
  • Quad Three Group
  • Rettew Associates Inc.
  • Barry Isett & Associates, Inc.
  • Delaware Department of Natural Resources and Environmental Control
  • Scranton School District
  • General Dynamics
  • Gannett Fleming
  • Crestwood School District

Recent graduates have attended graduate school at:

  • University of New Haven
  • Lehigh University

The Industrial Advisory Council (IAC) members are employers of our graduates and some are alumni of our programs. They play an important role in program improvement by providing suggestions and comments on curricular topics and professional development.


  • Thomas Walski, PhD, P.E. (Council Coordinator), Bentley Systems, Inc
  • Dino Agustini, P.E., Pennsylvania Department of Environmental Protection
  • Brent Berger, Quad Three Group
  • James J. Brozena, P.E., CFM Brozena Consulting Services
  • Chris Belleman, P.E., Luzerne Country Engineers Office
  • Angelika B. Forndran, P.E., Cowan Associates, Inc.
  • Lori Girvan, P.G. (Alum 2000), Barry Isett & Associates, Inc.
  • Jeremy Hoagland (Alum 2001), The Crossroads Group
  • Natalie O'Connor (Alum 1998), Alfred Benesch
  • Matthew Peleschak, P.E. (Alum 1999), Systems Design Engineering
  • Steve Cannizzaro, General Dynamics
  • Janet Warnick, Pennsylvania Department of Environmental Protection


Wilkes in the News

WNEP-TV | Healthwatch 16: Unusual Path to Med School