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inside e s f online magazine

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Lindsay Oura EFB ’03
Music and macromolecules

Chuck Buxbaum FNRM ’94
Students intall solar

Andrew Holz ES ’04
Surprised in NYC

Mary Kiernan CHE ’81
A “terrific” college experience

From testing to teaching

For the first several years after she graduated from ESF, Mary Kiernan xxx ’81 held a series of jobs in her chosen field. She was a research chemist and a hospital medical technician and did environmental chemistry testing for the Nassau County Department of Health.

But after 10 years in the work force, she found herself bored.

“I wanted to use the knowledge I had, so I got my teaching master’s and learned what I didn’t know — earth science — and started teaching,” she said. 

Today she teaches at Island Trees School District in Levittown, N.Y. 

“It is a public school, but the district is very small, so it has a private school feel,” Kiernan said. “The students are typical Long Island kids, most with little experience of life outside their neighborhood. Many of them are from other countries or have problems at home. But teenagers are generally experiencing trauma of some sort on a regular basis.”

She said the College was “terrific” for the background she got in research, the diversity of the electives she took and the fact that the small size made it easy for students to get close to their professors.

Kiernan was inspired to go into teaching to impart the lessons she was teaching her sons to other children. “That could only happen if they were exposed to my experiences,” she said.


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State University of New York College of Environmental Science and Forestry
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