Austin started at DVU in the Fall of 2013 as an environmental science major with a minor in psychology. During his undergraduate, Austin was highly involved with different organizations on campus including Greek life, serving as a presidential fellow, serving as a class officer (VP of class of 2017), class of 2017 alumni council representative, serving as the SCB (Student Conduct Board) member, and a participant in the Outdoor Club. Through his many experiences on campus, Austin’s interest in leadership positions led him to DelVal’s 4+1 Public Policy program. He believes that the MPP program was the best opportunity to go down a leadership path that will make a difference rather than working in lower levels of the environmental sector.
Austin’s interest in environmental policy is rooted in surroundings of his childhood. Born in Frederick, Maryland, an area not too far from where urban meets rural, Austin was exposed to an area that is encompassed by farmlands, mountains, the Potomac River, and two large cities, Baltimore and D.C.. He finds himself deeply connected to the environment through his childhood memories of the Chesapeake Bay and other outdoor activities.
In the past, Austin has written papers on soil erosion on the Chesapeake Bay, dead zones, and nutrient pollution. During the Summer of 2015, Austin completed an REU (Research Experience for Undergraduates) at the University of Wisconsin-Stout. The LAKES Research Experience for Undergraduates (REU) aims to better understand the root causes of phosphorus pollution and solutions while offering undergraduate students the opportunity to participate in cutting-edge research. With a passion geared towards Marylands natural beauties, Austin wants to use his research experience and his knowledge of public policy to go into a field where he can actually make a difference and protect the environment and its resources for future generations.
For more information on the specifics of Austin’s research on phosphorous pollution, please visit this web-page http://www.uwstout.edu/lakes/research/2015-Gentel.cfm to learn more. Also, if you are interested in what this research project is has continued working on since the Summer of 2015, check out their blog, “The Good, The Bad, and The Algae“.