Senior Stride

Graduation provides these eight seniors with time to reflect on past accomplishments and look forward to what the future may hold.

Nick Ronnei, Chanhassen

Nick Ronnei

Even after interviewing for the position Nick Ronnei didn’t totally understand what he would be doing. It didn’t sink in what a big deal this was until after Ramsey County offered him the chance to lead its Climate Change Vulnerability Assessment.

“The minute I realized the full scope of what I was doing, it really hit me,” Ronnei said.

That full scope included conducting an assessment of how vulnerable certain populations in Ramsey County are to the effects of climate change. It’s the first such study on the scale of a single county in, as far as Ronnei knows, U.S. history. Such studies usually are done on much larger scales with many more people; Ronnei’s summer and fall of research represented a genuine first.

“To get this kind of experience at this point in my career, I feel very blessed,” Ronnei said.

Ronnei said his work likely will set a precedent for similar studies in Hennepin County and at the city level, specifically an initial study in Duluth. Ramsey County has offered Ronnei more work after graduation on studies involving lead levels and organic recycling, which he hopes will help his appeal to graduate schools.

Plans for next year: Attend graduate school at University of California Santa Barbara, Michigan State University or Oregon University.

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