Jennifer Beidel grew up on a farm in the small village of Silex, Missouri. With a population of 202 people, almost all of them farmers, she spent most of her life outdoors. As a child she had a great passion for amphibians, which eventually led her to become aware of the growing concern of clean water.
In June of 2001, at the age of 17, Jen joined the United States Navy. During her 4 years as a Sonar Technician aboard the USS Laboon, she saw firsthand just how complex problems relating to water quality could get. Issues such as waste dumping and oil pollution caught Jen’s attention, and have yet to fade from her consciousness. After her honorable discharge in 2005 she was determined to take her knowledge and passion for preserving clean water and turn it into a career. Jen graduated Magna Cum Laude from Tidewater Community College in Norfolk, VA and later transferred to Mason. She is presently a Senior majoring in Conservation Studies with a double minor in Sustainability and Ocean & Estuarine Science.
At the 2010 Green Festival, the largest sustainability event in the world, Jen acted as the co-manager of the Resource Recovery Team. While there, she helped train over 300 volunteers and obtain a 94% waste diversion rate. This position helped lead Jen to her current job, as the Recycling Research Assistant for Office of Sustainability. In this position, she works with both the Office of Sustainability and the Waste Management Department in an effort to improve recycling rates and education on campus. She is also working to start a composting program on campus. In her free time she works with the School2Bay program teaching 6th graders in Prince William County how to testing water quality using Macroinvertebrates and the importance of clean water and wetlands. Her future goals include the creation of a sustainable community and being involved in wetland restoration projects.