Jessica Munyan ’16

Scientist/Graduate Research Assistant
Major: Environmental Sciences

At Rider, I discovered a passion for fieldwork and gained skills I never would have learned in the classroom.

The Proof Is In Our People

Why Jessica Chose Rider

A lifelong interest in weather and climate change led Jessica to apply to Rider. During Admitted Student Day, she met professors in the Geological, Environmental, and Marine Sciences (GEMS) program. “I liked what I heard. Everyone seemed genuine,” she says. “I could see that Rider was a school where professors would get to know me and provide individual attention. I could see that they would motivate me and help me succeed.”

Rider's Impact on Jessica's Success

Jessica was invited to participate in the Freshman Science Honors Program. She would go on to spend four years with Dr. Daniel Druckenbrod in the study of dendrochronology, or tree rings. Her work involved spending time in the field, traveling as far south as Virginia to collect samples and make observations, then taking the data back to the lab at Rider to analyze. She also presented findings at a national conference. “My work with Dr. Druckenbrod gave me invaluable hands-on experience and showed me a career path,” she says.

Continued Success

Jessica is now a fully funded teaching and research assistant at the University of Virginia Graduate School of Arts & Sciences where her studies focus on atmospheric chemistry and how atmospheric pollutants interact and exchange with the biosphere. Her current projects involve the use of a forest research tower and drones to take meteorological and air pollutant measurements.

“I love doing all parts of the research — the collecting, analyzing and organizing the data and drawing conclusions — and communicating those findings to others, which is key. I learned all of that at Rider.”

  • A Summer of Weather
    Through the connections of her mentor, Dr. Druckenbrod, Jessica spent a summer working with the famous Penn State University Meteorology Department where she earned a stipend as an undergraduate research assistant.

  • 4
    The number of years Jessica worked as an undergraduate research assistant studying dendrochronology, or tree rings, with Dr. Daniel Druckenbrod.

  • Campus Leader
    At Rider, Jessica helped create the Rider chapter of the U.S. Green Building Council and served as a student representative on Rider’s Science Advisory Board. She also played Club Lacrosse, served on its Executive Board as secretary, and served as safety manager on the Club Sports Council.

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Had I gone to another school, I wouldn’t have received half the opportunities that Rider provided. It opened doors.

Jessica Munyan ’16
Environmental Sciences