Hanna Hard, Environmental Sciences Undergraduate Student

Hanna Hard

Hanna Hard is an Environmental Sciences senior who expects to graduate with Honors in Environmental Sciences in May 2016.  She holds a position as the Senior Lab Assistant in the SWES Integrated Environmental Science and Human Health Risk laboratory, lead by Dr. Monica Ramirez-Andreotta.  Her primary role is processing and preparing environmental samples to be analyzed for contamination by lead, arsenic, cadmium, and other trace metals. The samples are collected near mine tailings in Arizona and include vegetables, soil, dust, and water.

Hanna is also working on her Honor's Thesis with Dr. Ramirez-Andreotta, where she is studying urban grown kale, a popular "superfood".  Her project compares urban grown kale with commercially grown kale to determine if this leafy green vegetable hyper accumulates trace elements in urban environments. 

Hanna began her 'research career' in the spring of 2015 when she completed an Honor's Internship with Dr. Greg Barron-Gafford at the UA Biosphere 2. Her Biosphere research involved growing sod underneath solar panels in an effort to cool the ambient air temperature under the solar panels resulting in a more efficient cooling system.

 In the summer of 2015 Hanna travelled to Dublin, Ireland to work on a project administered by Trinity College and the Solar Energy Society of Ireland. The project was associated with Connect 123, a program that connects students with various internships, volunteerships, and study abroad opportunities.       


Hanna hasn't spent all her spare time in the field and in the lab. She is an active member of the SWES Recruitment and Retention Committee and is a former student ambassador for the College of Agriculture and Life Sciences. She is also a camp counselor for the student run organization, Camp Wildcat. She describes the position as being "exciting to share nature with elementary-aged kids, and to emphasize the importance of higher education.” As an active member of the Pi Beta Phi sorority, she also supports literacy nationwide under the blanket of First Book, a nonprofit that provides new books and educational resources to children in need.

After earning her undergraduate degree, Hanna would like to spend a year working both in a research lab and have a position where she sees formation of environmental policies.  After this working experience, she plans on returning to college to earn a graduate degree in either Environmental Science or in Environmental Policy. 

SWES thanks Hanna for sharing her student experiences. SWES also thanks Kathleen Landeen for her assistance with this undergraduate student spotlight.