Research Spotlight- Johnathan King

 Environmental Science

Specialization:  Ecosystem Restoration

Graduation: May, 2020

Research:  Endangered Animals on the Barba Azul Reserve

Duration: May-August 2017

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This past summer I completed a research project in Bolivia involving endangered animals and conservation of their habitat. On the Barba Azul Reserve, my project was measuring how cattle ranching altered the forest structure, and in turn how the altered forest structure effected populations of wildlife in the area. The reserve was separated by a river with two very different sides. On the south side of the reserve, there was cattle grazing. On the north side, there was no cattle grazing. I collected measurements in forest plots to access both the composition and structure of the forest. I also completed wildlife surveys at dusk and night to measure the differences in wildlife populations inhabiting these forests. My favorite part of my research was seeing endangered animals in the wild every single day. The Blue-Throated macaw is one of the most critically endangered animals in the world. There are about 200 left in the wild, and approximately half of them make their home on the reserve! The reserve represented a safe haven for many of endangered animals like the Giant Anteater, Maned Wolf, and the Marsh Deer. Seeing them every day renewed my passion for work in conservation. I was on the reserve for 5-weeks straight without any contact with the outside world. I learned countless research techniques with vegetation and wildlife. I also learned the work ethic that is required of a researcher in harsh environments. I found out about this opportunity by reaching out to a professor from SENR. Dr. Davies informed me that he had a PhD student doing research with savanna birds in Bolivia and I contacted her for further information. I recommend finding SENR professors that align with your passions and asking if they have research they need assistance with to complete. Many professors in SENR are looking for students to help with field and lab work! I was selected to attend an international research conference in Brazil to present my research results from Bolivia. The conference took place in Sao Paulo and I got to spend an entire week presenting, networking, and exploring Brazilian culture!




Internship Spotlight: Ryan Miller

Major: Natural Resource Management

Specialization:  Parks and Recreation, Sub-specializing in Wildlife and Forestry

Minor: Soil Science

Graduation: December, 2017

Internship:  Habitat and Access Technician for the Wyoming Game and Fish Department (WGFD)

Duration: May 15 – August 15

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I found out about the opportunity from the Texas A&M Job Board. I applied for a multitude of jobs that I found on there. This one happened to work out for me. I was based out of Saratoga, Wyoming, a small town of roughly 1700 people in the south east to south central portion of the state.

Much of my job revolved around working on WGFD’s Wildlife Habitat Management Areas (WHMA’s) that were comprised of state land, deeded and commissioned land, and BLM land. On the WHMA’s I did a lot of fence line maintenance (splicing fence, fixing fence), fence line construction, irrigation work (working with sub-surface ditch and flood irrigation) which irrigated the WHMA’s meadows for wildlife foraging, general construction work, and general road work using heavy equipment. In addition I was able to get involved with some permitting and other relatable meetings. I did this to see what other kind of opportunities are out there within my field that are outside of Ohio. What I enjoyed most was being able to explore both Wyoming and Colorado in great lengths. I learned a great deal about wildlife management and how much management can differ between areas of the United States.

Internship Spotlight: Maria Ciotola

 Environmental Science

Ecosystem Restoration

Graduation: 2018

Experience: Ohio EPA Internship Program and Lawhon & Associates Inc. Intern

Duration: May-August 2015 and June-August 2016

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For my first internship at Lawhon & Associates Inc., I had the opportunity to help out with Ecological Survey Reports for a specific project area often for road or bridge construction. For these, we would go out to the project area and conduct a field survey. This consisted of identifying wetland and upland areas, and identifying the major plants and the soil properties in those areas. If a wetland area was present, it would be delineated using a GPS unit to be uploaded in ArcGIS. If there was a stream in the area, the stream line would also be delineated using the GPS. Typically, my responsibilities were putting the data into the GPS unit and filling out the data forms. As time went on, I was able to identify a lot of the plants and do the soil identification on my own. They say you learn by doing, and it’s definitely true! Occasionally, the streams in the study area would qualify for a mussel survey and relocation. I had the opportunity to help with a couple of these, and one of them we used snorkels to look for the mussels a the bottom of the stream. The mussels we found were relocated to an area of the stream that would not be impacted by the construction project. Back in the office I would help with editing and preparing the reports from the field surveys. My favorite part of this internship was that it was a good mix of office and field work, and I kind of got the best of both worlds.

The following summer, I interned in the 401 department in the OEPA downtown Columbus office. Here, I helped out with Mitigation Site Reviews. For these, we would go out to a wetland mitigation site and see how the area is reacting to being mitigated. After the site review a follow up email was sent describing what could be improved and suggestions for moving forward. Mitigation sites have to meet certain requirements, and until they do the EPA will continue reviewing it. I kept a photo log at each site and edited permitting documents. I also had the opportunity to help out ODOT OES with a mussel survey and relocation. The survey was a two day job and we found about 4,000 mussels within the project area’s impact limits. We had to go to a Walmart near by and get laundry baskets to transport them in. We were carrying huge laundry baskets full of mussels with one person holding each side up the river to find a spot to relocate them. It was definitely a memorable experience and my favorite from that summer.

I was lucky enough that the civil engineering company my dad works for does a lot of work with Lawnhon & Associates, and I found out about the position through him and applied. As for Ohio EPA, I found out about all of their internship opportunities at a summer internship fair at OSU. Career and internship fairs are a great way to learn about internship opportunities and to get your foot in the door. As a piece of advice, Ohio EPA seemed to look for previous field experience. I would say to any future student to utilize all of the opportunities SENR has to offer. There are a lot of volunteer and research opportunities, and participating in them can help build a great resume.

Internship Experience: Taylor Faecher

 Environment, Economy, Development, and Sustainability

Sustainability in Business

Graduation: 2016

Experience: Renergy Inc.

Duration: May 3rd-August 8th; Now full time

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I found out about Renergy through the OSU Environmental and Sustainability career fair! 3 pieces of advice for students looking to find internships and jobs. 1) Understand the transferrable skills that you are developing in your projects/work experience and be able to articulate that in your resume/interview. For example, I did independent research with a professor and used this experience to highlight my skills in project management, written communication, and research capabilities. You have to analyze yourself and what you are doing before others can analyze you. 2) Before career fairs, do your homework! Know what companies, or organizations, you are trying to talk to and hit them 3rd or 4th. Get the nerves out of the way with your 1st company. The 2nd company you talk to try and solidify your introduction/elevator pitch. The 3rd, and thus every company after, should be the internship you want! Renergy was the 3rd company I talked to and it worked out great! 3) Follow up, follow up, follow up! I cannot stress this enough. Do not wait longer than a week!

My responsibilities during the internship ranged from EH&S, finding funding opportunities, business development, and other miscellaneous duties that Renergy needed to accomplish. I worked on OEPA reporting requirements, did a lot of data management for our beneficial reuse side of the business, and helped to secure additional funding through government programs, just to name a few tasks I was responsible for. The work was broad and informative. Being able to adapt, stay organized, and prioritize tasks were essential skills in the success of my internship. Now I’m the Environmental Compliance Specialist with Renergy and am excited about what the future holds for this company!

Summer Experience Spotlight: Victoria Baron

 Environment, Economy, Development, and Sustainability

Community Development

Graduation: 2017

Experience: Tijuca National Park. Rio de Janeiro, Brazil.

Duration: June- July 2016

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This past summer, I served as a volunteer intern in the Tijuca National Park in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil. I lived with a wonderful Brazilian host family and worked in the rainforest 4 days per week. I would go to a different part of the forest every day as it is segmented throughout the city and help primarily with invasive species removal as well as trail clearing and fence building. The rainforest is home to beautiful trees that grow exotic fruits and monkeys nest in. It was amazing to see all of the wildlife that flourishes when the natural habitat is preserved. It had always been a dream of mine to visit the Tijuca rainforest as it is the largest urban rainforest in the world and I was intrigued to learn more about how such a complex ecosystem can thrive in the midst of a bustling city. I learned during my time in Brazil that the rainforest helps clean the city’s air and water as well as brings in a great deal of money through tourism and recreation. However, as invasive species dominate more and more of the forest’s flora and fauna, it is more important than ever that local citizens as well as tourists take action to preserve the natural environment that exists in Rio. In addition to learning more about best practices in invasive species removal, I gained invaluable relationships with my host family as well as the people that I worked with in the forest. I most enjoyed learning about their lives and finding common ground even when our life experiences seemed incredibly different. We could connect through our stories and shared fascination for each others cultures.

I found this experience doing research on different nonprofits with a sustainability focus. I found the volunteer internship in Brazil through an international service nonprofit and applied for the Honors and Scholars Enrichment Grant to fund it. My advice to students who want to have an international experience in their field is to apply to anything that interests you and take advantage of funding opportunities that exist. It takes some work as you have to be willing to spend time researching and filling out applications, but a summer of adventure is worth it!

Internship Spotlight: Nicole Tabit

Major: Natural Resource Management

Specialization: Natural Resource Administration and Mangement

Graduation: 2019

Internship: Sierra Club Clean Water Campaign. Columbus, Ohio.

Duration: January 2016-Present

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I found the opportunity to work at the Sierra Club at a street festival. I went to Open Streets, a community festival held downtown in the summer, and talked with another intern at the time about the Sierra Club, as she was tabling at the event. I kept the internship in mind for a few weeks, and thought about applying. I actually applied after I went to the SENR career fair and saw the Sierra Club was there, and got to talk to my current supervisor about the details of the position.

Being an intern at the Sierra Club can mean taking part in a variety of activities, some of which are office work, but we also get very involved in local and state-wide environmental issue campaigning. We currently work on a ‘move past plastic campaign’ urging Kasich to take action on plastic bag usage, since plastic is such an issue, especially when it comes to the millions of single-use plastic bags that are used every day. My favorite thing I’ve done so far was working with summer camps this summer. I got to design an environmental education program for summer camp kids and teach them about environmental issues relating to clean water issues, and we got some hands-on experience with water quality testing, which was awesome to teach.

Working at the Sierra Club has taught me how to interact with many different groups of people in my community and actions to take effective action on a stance I believe in. My advice to students looking for an internship or any sort of experience positionin the future is to first take advantage of the networking opportunities that SENR provides, and also stay engaged in your community- that is a great way to make connections that might take you places.

Internship Spotlight: Rachel McDevitt

Major: Environment, Economy, Development and Sustainability (EEDS)

Specialization: Sustainability and Business

Graduation: May 2018

Internship: Blendon Woods MetroPark. Columbus, Ohio.

Duration: May 2016-August 2016

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I found out about MetroParks internships through one of the many career fairs offered by the School of Environment and Natural Resources. I talked to their Human Resources representative and they contacted me later to insert me into the process. I ended up accepting a position at Blendon Woods, working in their nature center. At first I was not sure how involved I wanted to be in MetroParks because I am more interested in research and sustainability. However after going through training and starting to work, I realized there is a lot I did not know about what Columbus Parks do. There are several naturalists at the park who do a lot of research with population ecology and conservation. I have been fortunate enough to be included in their work as well. It is really amazing to see what they do and get to do some field research myself. Outside of research, I get to do a lot of conservation awareness and education programs. The main part of my internship is to oversee the nature center, therefore I do most of my conservation work in the building. There is an indoor viewing area where visitors can watch different species of animals roaming around in the woods. We put out different seed which attracts animals such as birds, squirrels, raccoons, chipmunks, wild turkey, and even the occasional fox or coyote. Some of the visitors have never seen these animals in the wild before, and it is really rewarding to answer their questions and introduce them to a different world right outside their backdoor. The largest part of what I do for my internship is providing information. I spend chunks of time researching different species in order to correctly answer questions. This could be researching data, but also just observing behaviors in the park. I am outside for a different reason each day, and I see a lot more of the natural life than the average visitor because of it. I am really looking forward to a rewarding summer introducing the public to a world they didn’t know was so close, and to learn a great deal about it myself.

Study Abroad Spotlight- Carrie Ewing

3690_10153882845172386_6965822836968533846_nMajor: Environmental Science (ES)
Specialization: Ecosystem Restoration
Graduation: May 2017

Program: Human Impacts on a Fragile Environment – Antarctica
Location: Antarctic Peninsula        
When: Winter Break December 17th-31st, 2015

After being accepted into the Antarctica study abroad program, I had the privilege of visiting Ushuaia, Argentina, which is known as the “city at the end of the world” and several locations along the Antarctica peninsula. The study abroad group, along with a crewSAM_0593 (1) and other tourists from around the world, travelled byship from Ushuaia to Antarctica. While in Antarctica, we studied the effects humans are having on the wildlife, climate, and landscape of Antarctica. The overarching goal of the project was to determine if ecotourism in Antarctica is sustainable.

This study abroad interested me more than others because I am extremely passionate about climate change, and discovering how SAM_0526humans can indirectly affect remote ecosystems around the world. Since humans cannot permanently live in Antarctica, it was fascinating to study the effects we are still having on the ecosystem. After attending this study abroad, it is my hope that I can spread awareness of the importance of protecting ecosystems and discover new ways to decrease the effects of climate change.

DSC_0192 (1)This experience was truly an adventure that cannot be described in words. Not only did I enjoy the beautiful scenery and exotic wildlife that Antarctica holds, but I enjoyed learning about and seeing a continent that was unlike any other place in the world that can hold so much life in such a barren place. I also enjoyed interacting with the other passengers and crew because it opened my eyes to other cultures and allowed me to have a better understanding of the rest of the world. This trip was undoubtedly the trip of a lifetime

Study Abroad Spotlight – Alana Chronister


AZP Class 17 at the Ohio State Brazilian Gateway (Alana 4th from the left, first row)

Major: Environment, Economy, Development and Sustainability (EEDS)
Specialization: Community Development
Graduation: May 2018

Program: Alpha Zeta Partners- Brazil
Location: Piracicaba, Brazil
When: January 5th- February 11th 2016

For six weeks, I studied abroad with Alpha Zeta Partners in Brazil. Alpha Zeta Partners is an honorary in the College of Food, Agriculture and Environmental Sciences, and I am one of the fifteen members of class 17. The focus of the study abroad was to learn about Brazilian Agriculture, and to compare and contrast it with the agricultural industry in the United States. For the majority of our experience, we were in the city of Piracicaba, São Paulo, and studying at ESALQ (Escola Superior de Agricultura Luiz de Queiroz), the Agricultural College for the University of São Paulo. This regional campus is comparable to Ohio State’s ATI Wooster campus. Our studies focused on the history and economics of Brazil and agriculture in Brazil.

12657156_10107075859068625_2187917953420283517_oWe did not spend all of our time in Piracicaba; we also traveled south on a five-day trip and north on a ten-day trip. The five day trip took us to the state of Parana and the city Curitiba, Columbus’ Brazilian sister city. Curitiba is known as a sustainable city, and as an EEDS major, learning about their programs was very interesting. One such program provided fresh food from local farmers in return for recyclable trash from the streets. Our ten-day trip, near the end of our time in Brazil went north and included the capital, Brasília.

12507695_10106986226992025_5149742958972155946_nWe had visits and tours to farms, industry factories, co-ops and government agencies. Farm visits included large dairy farms, a hobby goat-cheese farm, and crops such as soybean and coffee. Some other tours included those of the Ohio State Brazilian Gateway, farming co-ops, Pioneer Seed, Alta Genetics, EMBRAPA Research Center, and John Deere. But not everything was strictly educational or agricultural-related, we went rafting in Brotas, to a Carnaval celebration in the Santa Olimpia community; we visited waterparks because businesses were closed for Carnaval, swam around waterfalls near Christalina, had a barbeque at the home of our gracious Professor Perez, visited the zoo and had an entire day at the beach on Honey Island. These are only to name a few of the once-in-a-lifetime opportunities I had while in Brazil.

This study abroad was very awakening. I learned so much about Brazilian agriculture and culture, and it has only fed my desire to travel and adventure. I offer many thanks to all those who have supported and shared this experience
with me.


Samba Night in Sao Paulo (Alana third form the left, first row)

Study Abroad Spotlight: Melissa Wilson

Melissa WilsonMajor: Environmental Science (ES)           Specialization: Ecosystem Restoration
Graduation: May 2017

Program: Human Impacts on a Fragile Environment – Antarctica
Location: Antarctic Peninsula
When: Winter Break December 17th-31st, 2015  

I’ve always been fascinated by environments different than the one I grew up in. So when the flyer went up for the study abroad to Antarctica, I immediately got on the phone with my mother. Before I know it, I was accepted. The course was unlike any course I’ve taken before, but I enjoyed it immensely.

blog2Leading up to the actual abroad portion of the course, we attended a series of webinars and wrote several short and long papers. For me this was fun because it allowed me to merge my new knowledge from the lectures with my previous knowledge in my specialization. The abroad portion of the trip was beyond incredible. We of course got a lot of time on the continent, seeing penguins, seals, and various sea birds, but I was also luck enough to camp on an island and to go kayaking almost everyday. It was amazing to see everything we had been studying in the semester up close and interacting. While on the trip, we stayed on a ship with regular tourists. We did our course work for the trip by interviewing passengers about their knowledge, care, and understanding of Ecotourism. My small group and myself had the task of researching just what our fellow passengers knew about invasive species in Antarctica and around the world. We complied the data we collected and got the chance to prevent our findings to the crew and passengers of our ship. At the end of the course, our small group rejoined with our larger ecotourism group to write a journal worthy paper.

blog 1I went on this trip because it presented the perfect opportunity to really use everything I’ve learned over the past few years here at The Ohio State University and apply it to the field I someday wish to enter. However, it wasn’t just the application of my learning that was the most enjoyable part of this study abroad for me. It was that I learned that people worldwide are taking a greater interest in protecting our planet through their travels and that I was able to impart some of my knowledge onto them. Since the conclusion of my study abroad to Antarctica, I’veblog4 started an Environmental Education blog and am ready to take on the challenge of educating people worldwide about just how amazing our planet is and how to do it! Going to Antarctica was the best decision I’ve made in my OSU career.

Read more Student Stories about Human Impacts on a Fragile Environment – Antarctica: Michael Capilupi and Clayton Perry