Study Abroad/ Internship Spotlight: Grace Poling

312482_10200576099791560_202948942_nMajor: Environmental Science (ES)
Specialization: Ecosystem Restoration
Graduation: May 2015

Program: Alpha Zeta Partners-Brazil
Location: Piracicaba, Brazil
When: Fall 2012

Grace Poling had the amazing opportunity to travel to Brazil with Aloha Zeta Partners. Students attend classes at the branch campus of University of Sao Paulo, ESALQ, in Piracicaba, Brazil. In Piracicaba, the students also stay with a host family for a weekend and meet with them periodically throughout the trip. When not in classes, the students go on tours throughout the country including a 9-day bus tour through several regions of Brazil. The students also have time to relax and participate in fun activities such as white water rafting, snorkeling, samba dancing, sightseeing and hiking.

148346_10200575821904613_1202918340_nDuring an interview, Grace said that she applied for this program in early February in 2012. At the time she knew the experience would be amazing, but she was blown away at how is shaped the rest of her time at OSU and her confidence after going through this program. Grace took four seminars to prepare for this program. The biggest take aways were the gains she made in leadership, she was able to discover her own leadership style while getting to know the other 20 participants. Diversity was also a large topic. They learned both about diversity in the US and about Brazil as a whole. They traveled to a Mosque, talked to veterans, discussed the LGBT community. Every year these experiences change. After her amazing six weeks in Brazil the participants had the opportunity to travel to DC, the US capital, the following spring break in order to compare the US and Brazilian Governments and agencies. Grace was also able to network with the US EPA during her time in DC.

Internship: Marathon Petroleum Company
Location: Findley, Ohio and Texas City, Texas
When: Summer 2013 and Summer 2014.

11053168_10206974658354553_7098224952269460108_nGrace also had the amazing experience to work for Marathon for two summers as an intern. This position required skills and had a high level of responsibility. Grace said this was a good job experience and that the company respected her as they taught her about environmental policy and the refining process.  Grace worked on organizing large amounts of data in the Finley Ohio location, mainly product tank data, and documents for the company. A typical day consisted of a morning meeting with her mentor, some desk work, making documents, etc. She also was able to work on the main project figures looking to figure out how to best deal with algae   booms in retention ponds at a pipeline terminal. For this she researched aeration mechanisms, manual removal, and chemical options.

During her time in the Texas refinery, Grace worked on the computer and researched on how to create policy documents for the refinery to use. Some examples include, PPR Permit by rule for a sand blazing facility, which is for an EPA permit for smaller areas that need to meet standards. Grace also went out into the refinery to sniff the sulfur units to see how much sulfur was escaping from the machinery. She would Communicate with the facilities monitoring team at meetings regarding her results. Grace Highlighted that there is a lot of environmental work in large companies, such as Marathon, because of the strict environmental protections that are in place along with the fact that most companies like this are investing a lot of time and money to be sustainable and environmentally friendly. Her biggest take away: “You learn so much on the job, work isn’t always easy, but it is attainable. It takes the effort to see results”.

Grace has recently graduated from The Ohio State University and plans to go right into work with Marathon as a Health, Environmental, and Safely Professional at one of the refineries. This large company has opened many doors for her and has given her the real work skills that make her a very large competitor in the job field.
Apply Online at : https://jobs.marathonpetroleum.com/content/students/

Recent Graduate Spotlight: Diana Saintignon

Major: Forestry, Fisheries, & Wildlife (FFW)                                                  Specialization: focus on Forestry & Wildlife Management   Graduated: December 2013

Volunteer/ Service: Peace Corps            Philippines, Luzon and Southern Leyte

As of January 2015 I have been in the Philippines now for about 6 months – two of which were spent in Luzon for training, and the past four at my assigned site in Southern Leyte. During training they gave us an intense crash course in Filipino culture, the Tagalog language, and in relevant technical work. So I am in the CRM sector (Coastal Resource Management), so volunteers in my sector were taught about three main marine ecosystems (corals, mangroves, and seagrasses) and how to survey them as well as the wildlife there in, but it isn’t all field work either. We were taught about working with the Local Government Units (LGUs), Fisherfolk Associations, Peoples Organizations, Non Government Organizations and other environmental stakeholders. Many of us were assigned to Provincial or Municipal Agriculture Offices. So I work at the Municipal Agriculture Office in my municipality part of the time, and the other part of the time I spend at our Marine Park.

AMBPIC10635773_10152325895601755_6734196879477171857_n    We are very fortunate to have a highly functional marine park with tourist opportunities like snorkeling and an observation deck for fish feeding and space for educational programs, which I can’t wait to use! My typical day is spent in the office pulling up and reading articles that can contribute to better management of our natural resources and helping with paperwork for the establishment of a second marine protected area. On the days when I am out in the field, I find myself snorkeling, honing my fish identification skills for the upcoming assessment season and making observations in our mangrove area. Having already surveyed our mangroves, my next task is writing up a summary of the results and management plan.