Internship Spotlight: Maria Ciotola


Major:
 Environmental Science

Specialization: 
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


Major:
 Environment, Economy, Development, and Sustainability

Specialization: 
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


Major:
 Environment, Economy, Development, and Sustainability

Specialization: 
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

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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.

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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

Alumni Spotlight: Aaron Laver

Aaron 1Major: Environmental  Science (ES)
Specialization: Water Science
Graduated: December 2014

Post Gradation Experience: Environmental Scientists, GIS and aquatic ecology specialist with MAD Scientist Associates.
When: December 2014 – Present
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My internship started with MAD Scientist Associates in April of 2014. At that time, if I had been asked whether or not I expected my full-time career to launch in the world of environmental consulting, I’d give a staunch and resounding “Not a chance.” After graduation, I was planning to move to the warm, sunny coast to scuba dive and conduct marine research for the rest of my life. I didn’t realize how rewarding, exciting, and opportunistic a job at MAD could be.

I’m Aaron Laver. I graduated from Ohio State SENR in December of 2014 with an Environmental Science major, specializing in Water Science. Since graduation, I have been employed full time at MAD as an Environmental Scientist as their Geographic Information System (GIS) and aquatic ecology specialist. Oh, and for the record… I still get plenty of diving in while on paid vacation!

For whatever reason, I feel the majority of employees are “broken in” at the company with an overnight excursion to conduct some sort of field work. I was no exception. I kicked off my experience at MAD with a four day wetland delineation in the Akron/Canton area. For those of you not aware of what a wetland delineation is, fear not. Google knows. The important thing to note from a personal perspective is that wetland field work often puts you in the middle of exhausting summer heat, a typical-Ohio blanket of humidityAaron 2, 6 inches of muck beneath (and around) your feet, and all the in-your-face (sometimes literally) nature you can handle. I doubt I even need to say it, but I’ll clarify that from day one I was in heaven! Since those first days, I’ve become a certified delineator and conducted many more delineations throughout Ohio and surrounding states. Other field activities I conduct and participate in include mussel surveying, environmental education events, restoration and site enhancement planning, bathymetric and topographic surveying, and my personal favorite, ecological assessment and characterization. The thing I like the most about any field work is that it really makes you pay attention to and appreciate the intricacies of the biota all around you. There’s something to be gained even if your site is located in the middle of suburban Columbus. I try to leave every site having learned a new kind of plant or adding a “first-time life sighting” animal to my list. With that being said, it’s often times not the work itself that is so appealing, but rather the setting in which I’m conducting the work.

aaron 3More on the nerdy side of things: I fell into my GIS specialization at the company by chance. I took just one required course on the subject in college. I’m so glad I got the introduction! As an intern at MAD, I found myself helping the full time staff with generation of the simplest maps and figures to be used in our reports. Over time, including many personal hours of learning QGIS and ArcGIS software, I found myself hooked to the technology, and I was quickly becoming the company’s go-to guy for all things that were map related. More importantly, I was learning how powerful of a tool a GIS can be outside of graphically representing field-collected data. Fast forward to today, and I never go into the field without first conducting a preliminary GIS analysis of the site. Two hours of GIS work can inform strategy and save the company hours, sometimes even days, in the field.

Even though I don’t have near enough time to share about my experience in depth, I want to stress just how diverse environmental consulting can be. I tend to get bored easily, so that’s one of the principles that I have grown to love. I’m always honing my craft, always trying new things, and above all I’m always learning on the job. At MAD, Mark and Chris (the owners) have created an environment that is conducive to creating top-quality products for clients while fostering each employee’s goals and aspirations in a way that brings both personal and company success, and for that I’ll always be grateful.

Recent Graduate Spotlight: Hunter Ardrey

Major: Environmental  Science (ES)
Specialization: Ecological Restoration
Graduated: May 2015

Post Graduation Experience: Internship with MAD Scientist Associates
When: April – November 2015
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In May of 2015 I graduated from the School of Environment and Natural Resources with a B.S. in Environmental Science, specializing in Ecosystem Restoration. And since late April of 2015, I have had the great opportunity of interning at MAD Scientist Associates (MAD), an ecological and wetland consultant company located in Westerville, OH. Where MAD works with individuals to alter or mitigate wetland areas within the laws and regulations already in place and tries to provide ecological assistance throughout Ohio and surrounding states. It is my first “summer job” that is actually directly related to what I went to school for. Before interning at MAD, work had just been about getting money for college; and a big incentive for volunteering in restoration work was for free pizza and cookies. But with my internship at MAD, I can honestly say that I am now gaining the necessary experience to pursue a career in environmental science.

My first task as a seasonal intern was to collect and analyze water samples for a wetland restoration site located in Westerville’s Highlands Park. I and two other interns would start off the week by visiting a beautiful wetland full of a diverse vegetation and wildlife, and collected samples at each of the inflow and outflows. We would then analyze the samples for such things as Phosphate, Nitrate, turbidity, pH, temperature, and conductivity in order to help determine if the restored wetland was actually improving water quality.

Yet this has just been a small part of my internship. There are the fun and exhaustive field days of wetland delineations and determinations, floristic inventories, invasive removal, herbicide application, and extensive woody and plug plantings. There are other days where it is more about engaging with individuals and communities, focusing on environmental education and helping with many volunteer events. While there are also the days where I am in front of a computer all day imputing data or gaining experience with QGIS and ArcMap.

All in all, I am very thankful for my amazing experience at MAD. Everyone at MAD has been great to work with and have been always willing to share their knowledge with me. Knowledge that has already helped career wise as the internship has improved my plant identification enough to now collect seed for a native plant nursery. I highly recommend interning at MAD; or at least to take the wetland ecology course
offered at OSU, which is taught by the founder of MAD, Mark A. Dilley.

Learn more about ENR 5250 Wetland Ecology and Restoration.