Summer Academy to Explore Ecology of Water
Meet Biology Professor Jamie Kneitel

Professor Jamie Kneitel will take students along the American River as one of their field projects.

California runs on water. Businesses depend on it and recreation dries up without it, and yet, how often is it taken for granted? “We twist the knob and we’ve got fresh water. Most of the world doesn’t have that luxury,” says Sacramento State Biology Professor Jamie Kneitel, who plans to take high school students on a unique journey inside the world of water this summer.

Dr. Kneitel created Go with the Flow: Ecology of Water, a new offering in the Summer Academies for High School Students at Sac State. His academy runs July 18 – 22. “Everyone crosses the bridges, sees the American River or swims in it, but what’s actually going on in there? You’ve got a very dynamic world underneath the surface,” he says.

Dr. Kneitel will take students along the American River to look at the effects of the drought and to collect water samples. They will learn laboratory techniques and use some of the same equipment as scientists to study the makeup of water. They will visit wetlands and fisheries and see how water influences the life cycles of organisms and wildlife. They will meet fish biologists, water ecologists and conservation professionals, and learn about the different careers in the fields of water ecology and wildlife management.

“Our different science academies are always popular with high school students,” says Liz Arellanes, who coordinates the Summer Academies for High School Students at the College of Continuing Education. “Teens are more conscious of the environment, and with all the activities in and out of the laboratory they’re sure to enjoy this new academy.”

As a researcher, Dr. Kneitel studies wetlands and endangered species. “Fresh water is extremely important on a social level, economic level, recreational level, and of course, political level,” he says. “I want to bring these different perspectives about the importance of water. But ultimately, we’ll be focusing on the ecology of water and how animals interact with this underwater world.”

In addition to Go with the Flow: Ecology of Water, the program features a second new academy, Farm-to-Fork, led by Nicole Rogers who heads the Farm-to-Fork initiative at the Sacramento Convention and Visitors Bureau.

The Summer Academies for High School Students run June 20 – 24, July 11 – 15 and July 18 – 22, with additional career workshops in forensics, engineering and robotics, biotechnology, health careers, multimedia journalism, law enforcement, fire and emergency services, civic duty, fashion and theater and performing arts.

Registration opens March 1. For more information, please visit or contact program coordinator Liz Arellanes at and (916) 278-6249.

-Article by Sharon Ito