Outstanding Seniors in the College of Science: Abigail Kahler

April 22, 2022

This spring, each department in the University of Arizona's College of Science nominated an outstanding senior who went above and beyond during their time as a Wildcat. We are pleased to share their stories as they reflect on their time at UArizona. Next up in the senior spotlight series is Abigail Kahler.

Abigail Kahler

Hometown: Seneca, Pennsylvania 

Degree: Bachelor of Science in Hydrology & Atmospheric Sciences 

College of Science: Why did you choose your area of study? 

Abigail: I am a nontraditional student, meaning I came to the university later in life than some. As a young adult I worked as a wildland firefighter, a naturalist on a sailing vessel, and a special education aide. These experiences motivated me to pursue my own education through a degree that would help me contribute to environmental conservation. I chose to study hydrology because groundwater is an acutely finite resource in the Southwest and I hope to support critical solutions as the region moves forward under historic drought conditions. 

COS: Tell us about a class or research project you really enjoyed.

Abigail: My favorite class is one that I am currently enrolled in: Applied Groundwater Modeling. Hydrology is a rigorous program and I have occasionally doubted my ability along the way. Now, I am collaborating with my peers to build a computer model of a real-world scenario to analyze how agricultural and municipal pumping of groundwater may impact the environment and other users. Building a hydrologic model is a painstaking process, and it is showing me how much I have learned and improved over the past few years. 

COS: What is one specific memory from your time at UA that you'll cherish forever? 

Abigail: Toward the end of the second year of COVID-19, when mask restrictions were beginning to relax, my Field Hydrology class camped at Dead Horse State Park for a week of practical application. We trudged for miles each day scrambling in and out of irrigation ditches, losing shoes in the mud, getting our ankles pinched by crawfish, and becoming short-tempered in the sun. At night we cooked meals together and played music and sang around the campfire. On the last night, one of our professors sang an original song that he had worked on all week. Every student was mentioned by name and had a line describing an event from the week or a quirk of character. This was an exceptional experience that brought the class closer together and is something I will always remember. 

COS: What is next for you after graduation? 

Abigail: I have been accepted to the Accelerated Master’s program in the UA Department of Hydrology and Atmospheric Sciences. Meaning, in my last year of undergraduate studies I have completed core courses at the graduate level and will have only one additional year of intensive study to complete the Master’s degree. After graduation, I intend to remain in the Southwest and build a career in groundwater hydrology.