Ana M. Charíƒ ¡-Serna: Aquatic Sciences

Ana M. Charíƒ ¡-Serna
Age: 25
SNRE degree sought: M.S. - Aquatic Sciences
Projected semester/year of graduation: Winter 2012
Undergraduate degree: Biology, Universidad del Valle (Cali, Colombia), 2008

Why did you pick your field of study?
Water scarcity is one of the most important issues humankind must face today. As a scientist from a country that is rich in water resources but poor in effective water management policies, I felt a need to understand the function of aquatic ecosystems, which I consider fundamental for the formulation of better management alternatives. Also, I simply love field work. Studying aquatic environments has given me amazing opportunities to visit beautiful places in my home country Colombia, and I just cannot imagine myself working in anything else.

What is the most surprising or interesting thing you have learned in your classes so far?
I like the integration of the social and environmental sciences of the SNRE program. So far I had always been involved in the field of aquatic sciences in a strictly scientific way and now I am just beginning to understand the importance of the policies and regulations on the aquatic environments. I am learning that in order to make significant impacts on the condition of the aquatic ecosystems, it is necessary to understand the mechanisms by which political and social decisions are made.

What do you like best about your program?
Above all I love the people--my classmates have very different backgrounds, and learning of their experiences has enormous value. The faculty members are very respected and influential in their fields and the school does a very good job of providing spaces and activities to work with and learn from them.

What do you plant to do after graduation?
I am planning to get a Ph.D. and go back to Colombia to work for a NGO in research and conservation of Andean streams.

What advice do you have for incoming SNRE students?
Being here is a huge opportunity both personally and professionally, so take advantage of it! Use the many resources the school provides. Participate of the activities. Enjoy and learn from the diversity of people in the school. Find out what you want to do as soon as you can and go for it.

What is your favorite spot in Ann Arbor?
I love the Dana Building, especially the 4th floor, which is ideal for study: lit, warm, quiet and cozy. To relax between classes on a nice day, nothing is better than sitting on the grass around the Diag. For fun, a night of salsa dancing with good friends in Cafe Habana makes me feel like Ií¢â‚¬â„¢m home.