OSU Environmental Scientist is Passionate about Working with Students
Monday, March 20, 2023
To Julie LaBar, an assistant professor of environmental science, her path to OSU was very nonlinear and filled with lots of tenacity. As the first person in her family to graduate from college, and after beginning her college career as a music student, LaBar switched majors to receive her bachelor’s, master’s, and doctorate degrees in environmental science at the University of Oklahoma. Following her studies, she worked at BioMost Inc., Saint Francis University, and Centenary University.
As for her assignment at Oklahoma State University, LaBar said she has always appreciated the mission of land-grant institutions, and she finds that OSU does a great job of keeping that mission in focus.
“I love doing work that matters and that contributes to solving current environmental problems,” she said.
Whether it’s supervising research, implementing solutions, or teaching students how to be top-notch scientists, LaBar believes it all contributes to the protection and restoration of our environment.
A major task LaBar started in the summer of 2022 was improving the environmental sampling and analysis course to incorporate more high-demand technical competencies.
“Students will come out of the two-course sequence with a robust set of applied skills they can take with them into their careers or continuing education,” LaBar said.
As for her work in her sampling and analysis classes, she has her students doing field work at the local wetland in need of some TLC.
“My goal is to continue incorporating that real-world experience into the classes, but eventually use the data we’re collecting to help rehabilitate the site and get students directly involved in that work,” she said.
Like many teachers, LaBar said she enjoys seeing the moment a student really begins to understand a new concept. She likes watching them gain confidence in their knowledge and expertise so they can take that out into the world and apply it.
“It is the whole reason for being a teacher,” she said.
In her free time, LaBar said she loves needleworking, traveling, and reading history books.