Dr. Coale chose to get into his field because of his family roots in agriculture. The opportunity to study the relationship between agriculture and environmental protection excited him and led him to the University of Maryland. Dr. Coale learned about our program in a rather unconventional way; he was asked to be a replacement mentor for team PhARM. While he initially felt uncertain about becoming a mentor, he chose to give Gemstone a shot and decided to sign on as the team’s mentor. During their senior year, team PhARM won the Best Thesis Award for their cohort. At this time, he may not have thought it but Dr. Coale was destined for so much more in the Gemstone Program. In 2012, the position for the Director of the Gemstone Program became available. Needless to say, Dr. Coale jumped at the opportunity because of his experience as a mentor and the opportunity to experience something truly unique by being the director of our Honors Program.
Now, Dr. Coale enjoys his position and watching the interesting growth process which occurs as students progress through their Gemstone experience. He has the opportunity to watch all Gemstone students mature on their long journeys from freshmen to alumni, which he says is his favorite part of his job. The thing about Gemstone students which surprises him the most is the plethora of extracurricular activities which they participate and their dedication to those activities. If he had the chance to create a team, Dr. Coale would create TOILETS (Technology and Operation of In-situ Lavatory Effluent Treatment Systems), which would focus on reducing the water which is wasted by flushing toilets. TOILETS would seek to usher in a new generation of affordable, composting toilets to reduce waste and protect our precious streams and rivers (someone needs to get the Class of 2019 in on this).
While Dr. Coale may have never planned on this being his career path, he is very happy with his current position as Director of the Gemstone Program. Every Gemstone student is very happy that Dr. Coale is the director. You will see this man, our Man Crush, in the Gemstone Suite or around campus so do not be afraid to say hello and compliment him on whatever Hawaiian shirt he is wearing that day, especially if it is his favorite - red with gray lobsters!
-23 March 2015, Nate Nenortas