Karl Peterson

After graduating in May, participating in the Rogers program, which had been on my radar for a few years, was a fulfilling end to my time at L&C.

Karl Peterson BA '23



Degree and Class Year

BA ’23


Boulder, Colorado

Current City

Portland, Oregon


Environmental Studies


Earth System Science

What three words would you use to describe L&C?

Nurturing, Interdisciplinary, Green

Rogers Summer Science Research, July 2023

Name of research project

Urban Air Quality: Sources and Effects

Describe what you are researching this summer. What is your exact role?

My work this summer was not centered on one specific task, and instead was a refreshing blend of different questions, concepts, and pursuits. Our primary task was working to understand the limitations and potential applications of a fleet of low-cost personal air quality sensors, which will be used in the ENVS 220 Environmental Analysis course, and may be used in a potential partnership with youth in Portland’s Parkrose and Argay neighborhoods to increase awareness and understanding of environmental justice concerns. Additionally, we developed the groundwork of a future project for ENVS 220 students to complete as an introduction to quantitative and qualitative methods including data collection, GIS mapping, and interview analysis. Further, we scoured the breadth of current literature on air quality topics to guide Dr. Kleiss’s future research.

What’s the best part of this experience?

The best part of this experience was putting my coursework to use engaging with members of the Portland community and experts from government organizations and private firms, working together toward a common goal.

How were you supported in finding and securing this research opportunity?

I had been aware of the Rogers program since my sophomore year, and had hoped to participate in a research opportunity but none of the past positions fit my interests and skills. I knew I would be interested in working with Dr. Kleiss if she were to run a Rogers program, and approached her, curious about when another opportunity might be offered to environmental studies and Earth system science students. Over the past year, we floated a few Rogers program ideas back and forth, and I was happy to see Jessica’s listing when the positions were announced. After graduating in May, participating in the Rogers program, which had been on my radar for a few years, was a fulfilling end to my time at L&C.

How do you see this experience leading to a career in your chosen field and/or aiding in your career development after L&C?

I believe this opportunity to gain practical experience in outreach and work with off-campus organizations will be crucial to my future work in environmental-adjacent fields. Additionally, the data analysis and GIS mapping techniques I honed over the past few weeks stand as a testament to the interdisciplinary nature of both the environmental studies and Rogers programs, and will serve me well in whatever’s next.

Is there anything else you’d like to tell us?

I’m grateful to have had this opportunity as a graduated senior, and I’m glad that L&C provides these opportunities despite its small size. Environmental studies and Earth system science students don’t get many chances to participate in the Rogers program, so I would absolutely recommend applying for any future positions!

Environmental Studies Earth System Science Rogers Summer Science Research