Christine Hatch Named Associate Director of Academics for UMass iCons, Will Create New Track

UMass Amherst’s Integrated Concentration in STEM (iCons) Program has announced the appointment of Christine Hatch, extension associate professor in the Department of Earth, Geographic and Climate Sciences, as the new associate director of academics. In her new role, Hatch will oversee the academic programs of iCons and provide leadership to the program’s faculty and students.

Christine Hatch
Christine Hatch. photo credit: Ricard Torres-Mateluna 

Hatch brings years of experience in both applied science and science education to her new role in iCons. A hydrogeologist who studies the intersection between water resources and climate change – educating others on how water quality and quantity affect various ecosystems – Hatch has been a faculty member at UMass Amherst since 2011. Her work bridges among fundamental research, applied science and public outreach, with the goal of maintaining sustainable access to safe water in the future.

“I am thrilled to join the UMass iCons Program to work with the talented faculty, staff and students to further advance real-world education,” Hatch says. “I am committed to fostering an inclusive environment that supports our very diverse bunch of students and promotes their success in complex problem-solving.”

Hatch also leads the Eureka! Program, a five-year college prep-program that targets underrepresented scholars at the time when their interests in STEM tend to fall off.

“The missions of Eureka! and iCons are in perfect alignment – both addressing the need for greater diversity in STEM,” Hatch says.

Scott Auerbach, the Mahoney Family Sponsored Executive Director of iCons, says that Hatch is the perfect person for this job because she “is dedicated to the intersection of real-world applications of technology and higher education – exactly the sweet spot of the iCons Program.”

“Her extensive experience in applied science and her commitment to creating inclusive environments will be invaluable as we continue to expand and enhance iCons,” Aurbach says.

One of Hatch’s main tasks as associate director for iCons academics involves the creation of a new track focusing on the integrated problem area of food-water-climate, which is slated to launch in Fall 2024. The iCons Food-Water-Climate track will connect students to industries and jobs including sustainable food and farming, wastewater treatment and environmental conservation. The new iCons track will also connect more directly with other departments on campus including food science, nutrition, resource economics, finance, civil and environmental engineering and earth, geography and climate sciences.

Motivated to bring people together and expose them to new ideas, Hatch is excited to take on her role.

“Being a part of iCons is like the icing on your academic cake,” says Hatch. “You never know what you don’t know until someone reveals your blind-spot.”