'Where Are They Now?' featuring SNR alum B.J. Baule

B.J. Baule at Belle Isle in Detroit, Michigan. (Courtesy photo)
B.J. Baule at Belle Isle in Detroit, Michigan. (Courtesy photo)

B.J. Baule has no doubt that an SNR education gave him ample preparation for a career in climatology.

"The classes I took provided valuable training, particularly GIS, Climate and Society, and Atmospheric Instrumentation courses," Baule said. "Also, the opportunities to work and consult with professionals actively working in applied climate research/service at the National Drought Mitigation Center and the High Plains Regional Climate Center were invaluable."

Additionally, Baule credits the applied climate science faculty with providing steady guidance and mentorship.

"There are a lot of great professors in the applied climate area at SNR," he said. "Two professors who I spent the most time with were Drs. Martha Shulski, my graduate adviser, and Ken Hubbard. Both of them have been great mentors through graduate school and beyond. I also enjoyed my courses with Drs. Michael Hayes, Betty Walter-Shea and Shashi Verma."

Baule's graduate research focused on Arctic climate, and in 2012 he graduated with a master's degree in natural resource science and a specialization in climate assessment and impacts.

He then went from being an SNR student to an SNR staff member, working for the High Plains Regional Climate Center for a year and a half.

"During my time with the High Plains Regional Climate Center, I made a lot of good contacts and learned a lot of valuable skills," Baule said. "I was able to expand my interests and I was exposed to a lot of great work going on in the Missouri River Basin and the High Plains. Particularly, I enjoyed getting a start in working with Native American Tribes throughout the Plains – my time there really helped bring my interests into focus."

Ultimately, Baule accepted a climatologist position with the Great Lakes Integrated Sciences + Assessments (GLISA), a cooperative effort between the University of Michigan and Michigan State University.

GLISA is one of 11 NOAA-funded Regional Integrated Sciences and Assessments (RISA). RISAs are spread throughout the country and focus on expanding and building regional resiliency to climate change and variability.

"I really enjoy working with communities and different groups throughout the Great Lakes region on climate-related issues," Baule said. "It means I get to travel quite a bit and see a lot of really interesting places along the way. The challenge in this position is being flexible and adaptive in how we operate due to the broad range of groups we work with – this can be everything from cities to farmers; harbor operators to Native American Tribes."

As for his future goals and ambitions, Baule said he'd like to continue exploring and working in the area he now calls home.

"Professionally, I would like to keep working in the Great Lakes region and helping communities become resilient to the climate-related impacts," he said. "Personally, I would like to keep traveling and exploring, particularly the Great Lakes."

Baule advises current students and recent grads to focus on networking and on being passionate about their chosen area of study.

"My advice would be to go to conferences if you're able and to make professional connections," he said. "Those two things can never hurt you. Also, just make sure you are passionate about – and enjoy – what you're doing and striving for career-wise."

— Mekita Rivas, Natural Resources