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grad alum Cranberg

Meet SES Alum Carter Cranberg, US EPA Project Officer

Story by Alex Quebbeman

Not long after graduating from the University of Iowa with a bachelor’s degree in environmental science, Carter Cranberg found himself looking for a master’s degree program that would build on his undergraduate studies and help him achieve his career goals. “I’d done a few different environmental science jobs and internships, and I realized that if I wanted to keep going down the route of hard science, I would need higher education,” Carter explained. “I was drawn to the urban aspect of Loyola’s environmental science program, so it was a perfect fit.”

Carter Cranberg

As a graduate student in SES, Carter Cranberg developed methods of studying aquatic plants and crayfish in Chicago-area ponds. 

Under the supervision of associate professor Professor Reuben Keller, PhD, Carter pursued the research track in the master’s degree in environmental science and sustainability program and graduated in the spring of 2021. During his time as a graduate student, Carter created a research project where he developed sampling methods for aquatic plants and crayfish in ponds around the Chicago area. From there, his research expanded, and he had the opportunity to work in Dr. Keller’s lab for a year after he graduated, overseeing different projects related to aquatic invasive species.

Carter’s job in Dr. Keller’s lab wasn’t meant to be long-term, so he began searching for open full-time positions elsewhere. He was interested in government work and had experience from a previous internship at the Bureau of Land Management. When Congress passed a bipartisan infrastructure bill in late 2021, US Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) received money to expand government positions. Carter applied and was accepted as a project officer.

Carter described his current role as dealing with half environmental science and half financial information. “I’m helping different state and tribal groups get EPA grant money to set up clean air projects,” he explained. “Those projects can be things like electric vehicle charging or reducing emissions from a factory. I coordinate with the groups to make sure the money is being used appropriately and that the data they send back to me looks good so we can do some long-term monitoring and modeling.”

One of the challenges in his new role has been adjusting to the government work atmosphere. “It’s very different from working in the private sector or at an academic institution,” he said, “but working with the people there has to be my favorite part. It’s nice to be working with a group of smart people with a similar outlook towards the environment and the world.”

To help him adjust to his position at the EPA, Carter has employed several skills that he gained from his graduate school experience. “For my graduate thesis, I had to manage multiple projects that required a lot of critical thinking. The rules weren’t written for me. I was in charge of building the schedule, keeping track of projects, and pushing them further and further,” he said. “That is essentially what I’m doing now at the EPA, just in a different realm of environmental science. I think those skills are super valuable and set me up well for the professional world.”

Meet SES Alum Carter Cranberg, US EPA Project Officer

Story by Alex Quebbeman

Not long after graduating from the University of Iowa with a bachelor’s degree in environmental science, Carter Cranberg found himself looking for a master’s degree program that would build on his undergraduate studies and help him achieve his career goals. “I’d done a few different environmental science jobs and internships, and I realized that if I wanted to keep going down the route of hard science, I would need higher education,” Carter explained. “I was drawn to the urban aspect of Loyola’s environmental science program, so it was a perfect fit.”

Under the supervision of associate professor Professor Reuben Keller, PhD, Carter pursued the research track in the master’s degree in environmental science and sustainability program and graduated in the spring of 2021. During his time as a graduate student, Carter created a research project where he developed sampling methods for aquatic plants and crayfish in ponds around the Chicago area. From there, his research expanded, and he had the opportunity to work in Dr. Keller’s lab for a year after he graduated, overseeing different projects related to aquatic invasive species.

Carter’s job in Dr. Keller’s lab wasn’t meant to be long-term, so he began searching for open full-time positions elsewhere. He was interested in government work and had experience from a previous internship at the Bureau of Land Management. When Congress passed a bipartisan infrastructure bill in late 2021, US Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) received money to expand government positions. Carter applied and was accepted as a project officer.

Carter described his current role as dealing with half environmental science and half financial information. “I’m helping different state and tribal groups get EPA grant money to set up clean air projects,” he explained. “Those projects can be things like electric vehicle charging or reducing emissions from a factory. I coordinate with the groups to make sure the money is being used appropriately and that the data they send back to me looks good so we can do some long-term monitoring and modeling.”

One of the challenges in his new role has been adjusting to the government work atmosphere. “It’s very different from working in the private sector or at an academic institution,” he said, “but working with the people there has to be my favorite part. It’s nice to be working with a group of smart people with a similar outlook towards the environment and the world.”

To help him adjust to his position at the EPA, Carter has employed several skills that he gained from his graduate school experience. “For my graduate thesis, I had to manage multiple projects that required a lot of critical thinking. The rules weren’t written for me. I was in charge of building the schedule, keeping track of projects, and pushing them further and further,” he said. “That is essentially what I’m doing now at the EPA, just in a different realm of environmental science. I think those skills are super valuable and set me up well for the professional world.”