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Matthew Liebman

Matthew Liebman

Title: Environmental Scientist
Company: U.S. EPA
Carleton Class of: 1980
Major: Biology

   Matthew Liebman graduated from Carleton College in 1980 with a biology major and is now working as an Environmental Scientist for the US EPA.  He is a marine ecologist that works on projects related to protecting the coastal waters in New England, specifically Casco Bay, Boston Harbor and Massachusetts Bay.  He has conducted research and monitoring using a variety of oceanographic and coastal marine science tools to evaluate threats to marine resources from nutrient enrichment, dredged material disposal, and ocean acidification. He works in planning, regulation and research, to synthesize his findings and use that information to educate the public on these issues.  He spends a lot of time organizing meetings with scientists, coastal managers and the public, and conveying the results to stakeholders and programs. 

   After Carleton, Matt got a Ph.D from Stony Brook in marine ecology.  While finishing up his Ph.D he worked in consulting and wetlands assessment.  One of his colleagues from Stony Brook went on to work at the EPA in Boston and informed Matt of an opening which is how he ended up there.  He has been with the EPA for 25 years.  He also works as an adjunct professor at Suffolk University for Introduction to Environmental Science. 

   Matt has had the rewarding opportunity to work with communities to solve ecological problems, like determining sources of bacteria, managing and monitoring beaches, and restoring wetlands.  He also has been able to see the Boston Harbor become clean as a result of his work, which is a gratifying experience.  He also got the opportunity to produce  a video about the restoration of Long Creek in southern Maine.  Check out that video here:


https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=K2x20Q1df48 

   Despite all these amazing opportunities, like other EPA staff, due to budget constraints over the last decade, he has been limited in the amount of funding for environmental monitoring, which leads to limitations in what they can do. 

   Over the years, he has seen more people becoming aware of the issues posed by climate change.  He is thankful to have learned about global warming early on at Carleton.  He learned about the Keeling Curve in a Carleton seminar, which was really new when it was presented to him.  Cool to see what Carleton students still remember learning and how it has helped them in their careers! 

   Matt gave a few suggestions to students interested in fields in environmental science and sustainability.  He said to go to epa.gov/careers for more options and to check out the Greater Research Opportunities program.  Additionally, create a profile on USAJOBS and look at the ORISE fellowships.  He also said it would be beneficial to be an expert in certain scientific or engineering subjects, take statistics, learn R and GIS and learn how to visualize data. 

   Another piece of advice is to look for a mentor.  His professor, Gary Wagenbach, was sort of like a mentor to him, and they attended a marine biology summer seminar together and shared a lab space when Matt was in grad school.  Matt said Gary ended up being very helpful in his career.  Lastly, be passionate about something and create your own opportunities! 

   Matt is available for contact via email.  You can reach him by emailing liebman.matt@epa.gov. 

   These “Sustainability Stories” alumni profiles are provided through a partnership between the Carleton Sustainability Office and the Career Center.  Find out more about Carls in sustainability and environmentally-focused careers by visiting https://apps.carleton.edu/career/.