Environmental scientist earns Professional Science Master’s in Environmental Assessment online to specialize career

Rising up at KUEC: In this Q&A series, outstanding KU graduates share how the KU Edwards Campus has helped them start, advance, or change their career. Meet Breanna Case.

Breanna Case

An environmental scientist for the Nevada Division of Environmental Protection, 32-year-old Breanna Case graduated from KU in December 2021 with a Professional Science Master’s (PSM) in Environmental Assessment. While already working within her field of study, Case was looking for a degree program that offered balance between her work and her personal life.

“As someone who was working full time, I needed a master’s program that offered a fully online learning option,” she said. “I was extremely pleased with my online experience and KU’s approach to engaging online students.”

Terri Woodburn, director and faculty member for the PSM in Environmental Assessment, was impressed by Case’s 4.0 GPA and the Capstone project on “Impacts of High Solar Penetration on the Electricity Affordability and Energy Burdens of Low-Income Households” for which Case received an Honors Pass.

Find out more about Case and what she learned at KU.

Q: What was a typical day in your life like?

A: A typical day involved managing sustainability projects for the state of Nevada, conducting hazardous waste inspections and doing schoolwork. During my free time, I enjoy hiking, reading, running and playing board games.

Q: What makes you the happiest?

A: Being outdoors and spending time with my family are two things that make me happy.

Q: What motivates you?

A: Learning new things and solving problems are two things that motivate me.

Q: Why did you choose KU?

A: At the time I applied to KU, very few universities were offering fully online master’s programs in areas I wanted to study. I came across KU’s PSM in Environmental Assessment and was excited to learn there was a fully online option.

Q: How did KU meet your personal and/or academic needs?

A: As someone who was working full time, I needed a master’s program that offered a fully online learning option. I was extremely pleased with my online experience and KU’s approach to engaging online students.

Q: How has your KU degree prepared you for the future?

A: Specifically, with the PSM in Environmental Assessment program, most of the instructors had real-world experiences in the areas they were teaching. This blend of academic and real-world experience has been extremely helpful for navigating my current job as an environmental professional. It will continue to help me as I look to grow my career and specialize.

Q: What was the most difficult part of earning your college degree and how did you overcome it?

A: Completing a master’s degree while working full time is a difficult challenge. There were some days I would get home from work after a 45-minute commute and be completely exhausted. It’s sometimes hard to find the motivation to write a paper after a full day of work! But I planned ahead, stayed on task and managed my time wisely. In the end, it was worth it.

Q: What is your proudest accomplishment?

A: My proudest accomplishment at KU was completing my capstone project. There is something very fulfilling about finding answers to a research question and then sharing that new knowledge with others.

Q: What is your favorite memory of your time at KU?

A: Because many of my classes involved Zoom, I did enjoy getting to know my classmates and instructors. Not many online masters’ programs offer this type of interaction.  

Q: What are your long-term career goals and how do you plan to achieve them?

A: One of my goals is to become more specialized within my career field and become an expert. My current job is a more generalized position involving sustainable materials management; however, there are many sub-topics within that field. I’m going to use the next few years to explore some of these sub-topics before determining which area I want to focus my research and career on.

Q: What advice would you give others who are thinking of earning a degree, whether a first-time bachelor’s, a second bachelor’s or a master’s?

A: Whether it’s your first bachelor’s degree or a master's degree, study what interests you. Completing a degree is like running a marathon; it’s hard to finish a marathon if you don’t like running.

Learn more about KU’s online Professional Science Master’s in Environmental Assessment.


Learn more about the Environmental Assessment & Environmental Justice program

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