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

Click Here For More Information

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.

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
Like MAD Scientist Associates on Facebook.

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.

Student Spotlight: Alexis Johnson

Alexis_JMajor: Environmental Policy and Decision Making (EPDM)
Specialization: International Issues
Graduation: May 2016

Internship: Farm Credit Mid America
When: Summer 2014 and Summer 2015

My name is Alexis Johnson and I am fourth year student studying Environmental Policy and Decision Making with a minor in African History. I am from Cleveland, OH and when you think of Cleveland, you do not necessarily think environmentally friendly or thoughts of agricultural production do not readily form images in your mind, but if you travel to Cleveland today, signs of urban agriculture welcome you with open arms. These past two summers, I had the opportunity to have an internship with Farm Credit Mid America where I focused on understanding the urban agriculture movement in Cleveland and how Farm Credit could be of assistance. I spent my time meeting with various stakeholders and interviewing urban farmers to better understand the urban market. I quickly became an expert in urban farming and how it is helped to revitalize the City and open the door for people from low income neighborhoods to have access to locally grown fruits and vegetables. Children have a better understanding of where their food comes from, crime has gone down in various neighborhoods that contain community gardens, people understand the importance of eating healthier, and communities are being rebuilt all around the city. This urban farming movement is definitely something to be excited about and I am glad that I had the chance to experience this positivity first hand. Having this internship with Farm Credit Mid America is just one of the many experiences I have had being a student within the School of Environment and Natural Resources. I am thankful to be part of such a community and to continually experience my passion for environmental studies in a variety of ways.

Study Abroad Experience: Alpha Zeta Partners Program of Study
When: Spring Semester 2014- 6 week program
Location: Piracicaba, Brazil

Alexis_2For me studying abroad served as a unique experience that I will always remember during my time at Ohio State and beyond. At the time, OSU was ranked the fourteenth university in the nation to send students on study abroad trips and therefore I knew I came to the right school and would eventually fulfill a dream of traveling outside the U.S. again; his time for a longer and more focused period of time. Little did I know that dream would come true as early as spring semester of my sophomore year. I remember calling my mom and telling her that I would be traveling to Brazil for six weeks to study Brazilian history, economics, governmental policies, and agriculture. We both were really excited and I soon began the process of finding scholarships and talking with the Office of International Affairs on ways to finance my trip. Once the time finally came I felt more than ready to go and set off on an adventure of a lifetime. With nineteen other buckeyes, we dove head first into the Brazilian culture and way of life. Beautiful weather, fresh fruit, and unrecognizable words surrounded us as we made Brazil our home away from home.

Choosing this particular study aboard program allowed me to form lasting friendships with people who shared similar interest in agricultural and environmental issues. Brazil allowed us to explore our interests on a global scale, while helping us develop a closer bond. This bond then allowed us to support and challenge one another to think deeper about agricultural issues.

Alexis3.0Intellectually, I gained knowledge that cannot be taught in classrooms in the United States. To know is to experience. The only way to gain a first-hand experience in the way Brazil handles their agricultural and environmental issues with respect to history and their economy is to travel and learn from well educated people who study and work in the agricultural sector. Furthermore, being able to travel to Brazil has made me a better-rounded individual and has given me an insight on how agricultural processes work in a different country. Having this insight sets me a part in the job market because employers are seeking people who have had out of the country experiences to help influence decisions and give a new perspective on processes, especially in the agriculture industry.

Lastly, I enjoyed my time studying abroad so much in Brazil that I have decided to do it again, this time in a much colder environment. This past spring semester I was selected to participate in Ohio State’s first ever study abroad trip to Antarctica during Winter Break 2015 and I am beyond excited for such an opportunity! Being a student in the School of Environment and Natural Resources has definitely allowed me to explore my passion for environmental studies while stepping out of my comfort zone. Each day weather inside or outside the classroom, I am challenged to think differently about the world around me. I personally do not think I could have gained this much awareness about our environment had not chosen to be a part of the SENR community.

Alexis_4

 

STEP Program
Click HERE to see Alexis’s digital story entitled City Roots, Country Heart, highlighting her STEP Experience during her sophomore year here at OSU!

Study Abroad Spotlight: Brandon Swanzer

Major: Environment, Economy, Development and Sustainability (EEDS)
Specialization: Community Development
Graduation: May 2017

ProgramSustaining Human Societies and the Environment – New Zealand
Location: New Zealand’s South Island
When: May 2015; 3.5 weeks

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When I first stepped foot on the Ohio State campus as a freshman there were a lot of uncertainties in my life. One thing that was not uncertain, however, was my desire to study abroad. I’ve always had a need for travel in my blood. I’d like to say I traveled the world someday, and I figured I might as well start with one of the countries that has always attracted me the most: New Zealand. As an EEDS major, the program fit perfectly as studying sustainability was the focal point of the program. It was my personal interests, however, that sold me on the program. Anyone that knows me can tell you how much I enjoy hiking, nature, and exploring new places. New Zealand fulfilled all of these criteria and more.
Bungy 1Leading up to the program, I had talked with students that had went on the trip the prior year, so I had an idea of what to expect in terms of New Zealand as a country. I had heard stories of incredible landscapes, exciting activities, and some of the best hiking the world has to offer. And boy were these stories correct. I tried to make the most of my trip, and I’d like to think I got the authentic New Zealand experience. If an activity came up, I always said yes. This led to me having the experience of a lifetime. I got to do the things I expected to do such as visiting the world famous Milford Sound. I got to snorkel with dolphins and visit glaciers. I hiked portions of the Routeburn Track and Abel Tasman Coastal Track, which are two of New Zealand’s Great Walks. I think the greatest experiences, however, were the ones that occurred naturally; experiences such as bungy jumping, playing in quick sand, and making some great friends along the way.

Since we only had 19 students on the trip, we all got to know each other pretty well. Luckily we all got along great which made the trip that much better. My favorite memories from the trip involve these people, from getting lost in Dunedin to hiking Queenstown Hill to stargazing in Te Anau. Everything was made perfect because of these people. It was strange leaving them in the Christchurch Airport as they headed home and I headed for a week long excursion in Australia. Here I had spent a month of my life with these people, and now I’d have to adjust back to a normal life. While I won’t see them
pic 3everyday now, I’m confident that we’ll always be in touch. I consider the people I met some of my best friends now and my New Zealand experience would not have been the same without them. It’s funny, we go to a school that is so large that sometimes it takes going halfway around the world to become friends with people that live on the same campus as you.

I am grateful everyday that I had the opportunity to study in New Zealand. Being a member on this trip and being in SENR in general was a great life choice that I will not be regretting anytime soon. SENR not only gave me the chance to travel to a country that I had always wanted to visit, but also gave me an opportunity to study what I enjoy while being there. Some people go their whole life without leaving their home country which is something I cannot fathom. We live in a huge world with many unique landscapes and extraordinary cultures, and I won’t settle for the status quo of staying within the boundaries of the US. I want to see it all. This was the first time I had been outside of North America but it certainly will not be the last. How can it be? I still have five more continents to see.

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Study Abroad Spotlight: Destiny Allen

Destiny1Major: Environment, Economy, Development and Sustainability (EEDS)                                   
Specialization: International Development
Graduation: December 2015

Program: Scholarship Study Abroad Opportunity– International Field Studies (IFS).
Location: Bahamas, Andros Island
When: Summer 2014, 7 days

SENR gave me a tremendous opportunity to study abroad! I became an EEDS major specializing in international development with the sole purpose of joining the Peace Corps when I graduate. The opportunity to participate in an international environmental education experience with International Field Studies Inc. gave me the hands on experience working with the environment and local communities that I will need in the Peace Corps.

The EEDS major program was lucky to obtain a generous study abroad scholarship to the Bahamas. I was one of the two students chosen to go on this amazing trip. I was so excited when I got the email from Dr. Drobny saying congratulations, that I ran out of my office in Thompson Library where I work and I called my parents jumping up and down racing all over the Oval because I could not at all contain my excitement. Everything for this trip was paid for except my passport, which is a great investment anyway. No one in my family had owned a passport let alone leave the country; I was the first! Receiving this scholarship was the best thing that could have ever happened to me because I could never afford to go on a study abroad trip and there are a lot of students that cannot as well.

destiny3My mom came all the way to Columbus from Cincinnati to take me to the airport even as I insisted I would just take COTA (local public transportation), but it was my very first time on a plane and she was determined to see me off. My plane left at 7am and after a few layovers I finally landed in Ft. Lauderdale and from there I met up with the other student going on the trip and we took a small plane to Andros Island. This place was amazing! It was sweltering hot! I sweat the entire time I stayed there but I loved every single second of it. Andros Island is as the locals call it “the most undeveloped island of the Bahamas”. A lot of people have limited access to electricity and running water. There is freshwater available on the island in the form of blue holes. Trash is a huge environmental issue for the residents of Andros for when you’re on an island, you tend to run of places for landfill. The people who lived here were welcoming, funny, and interesting to talk to. One person who still, a year later, sticks in my mind is the lady who owns the “Love at First Sight” hotel and bar. She left Andros in search of more work in Nassau, the tourist area of the Bahamas but 14 years later she returned to Andros and opened up her hotel. The other student and I visited her one day and she so graciously gave us sugar bananas from her yard.

destiny2            I did so many activities on Andros which gave me life experiences and taught me more about our global environment. I snorkeled in coral reefs for five of the eight days with sharks, barracudas, sea turtles, and an octopus. I learned so much about tropical ecosystems which was refreshing since here in Ohio we typically learn about freshwater. One time our boat got caught in a tropical storm and we had to find refuge on a tiny key in the middle of the sea. That was a spectacular view! I met with The Bahamas equivalent of Environmental Protection Agency. They informed me of their plans for reducing ocean trash and conserving shark species. I jumped 20 feet off a bridge into a river that ran to the ocean and I snorkeled blue holes and the Tongue of the Ocean. I was sad to leave the island but I know I will travel abroad again someday. I had an incredible time on Andros Island and I would not have been so lucky if I were not a student in Ohio State’s SENR.

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/

Stone Lab Student Spotlight: Katie Steirwalt

Major: Environmental ScienceStierwalt              Specialization: Water Science     Graduation: Fall 2016

Ohio State’s Stone Laboratory          Summer 2014                                     Click Here for More Info on Stone Lab

When I came to Ohio State as a freshman, I thought I knew the direction I was taking in my life. I knew I wanted to attend medical school but I was unsure of what major to choose. After some thought about my interests, like my love for the outdoors, I decided on Environmental Science. I learned about Stone Laboratory through the School of Environment and Natural Resources and decided to apply for their Research Experience for Undergraduates Program. I grew up near Lake Erie so I was very intrigued in studying the harmful algal blooms that have recently been plaguing the lake.

During my experience at Stone Lab, I stayed on Gibraltar Island, a small 6-acre island very close to South Bass Island in Lake Erie, with over 30 like-minded students. For five weeks, I alternated days between taking Ecology (EEOB 3410) and conducting research on harmful algal blooms with Dr. Justin Chaffin and Dr. Doug Kane. I wish every class I took were as hands on as my class at Stone Lab. Almost every day we got to go outside or go on an educational field trip. On my research days, I got an amazing firsthand experience at going out into the field to collect water samples, rain or shine. I was able to do a lot of work in the water quality lab using state of the art equipment. I learned that one of the most important parts of completing research is learning about research that has already been conducted. This involved lots of reading but I enjoyed every moment of it. Through my experience at Stone Lab, I learned more about myself than any other experience. I discovered that medical school wasn’t the best fit for me but that my true passion lies in studying and researching the environment. I am so grateful that my studies and experiences in SENR have helped guide me in my educational experience as well as provide a direction for my future career goals.

Internship Spotlight: Ben Rubinoff

Major: Environmental Science, Honors Program                                                   Graduation: May 2016Ben1

Internship: Smithsonian Environmental Research Center (SERC) in the Benthic Ecology Laboratory, Summer 2014

While I may love Ohio State, my heart is on the coast. While I grew up in Cincinnati, family vacations and trips to the Newport Aquarium resulted in a passion for marine life. I have carried this passion with me since when I was first able to say the word “water”. As a result, I have firm career goals that involve marine research. Although Ohio State doesn’t offer a marine biology major, I have been able to get involved in cutting-edge aquatic research, getting my feet wet in science since my freshman year. While I am thankful for my education in Columbus, I am especially grateful for an internship I participated in. In the summer of 2014, I interned for the Smithsonian Environmental Research Center (SERC) in the Benthic Ecology Laboratory under the direction of Dr. Richard Osman and Dean Janiak.

Ben2My project investigated how infaunal invertebrate communities vary by habitat type in the Rhode River, a sub-estuary of the Chesapeake Bay. I was in charge of creating a biodiversity sampling protocol of soft-sediment communities for a global Smithsonian-funded research initiative called MarineGEO. I applied a habitat-based sampling design, randomly sampling habitats based on proportions. Dean and I performed a “bioblitz” style approach, taking 153 samples over the course of 3 days. Over the rest of the summer, we sorted all 153 samples and I identified more than 18,000 individuals to species level, encompassing roughly 1/3 of the samples. After identifying a subse
t of the samples, I used PRIMER, SigmaPlot, and Excel to statistically analyze differences in community composition.

Ben3This internship allowed me to develop laboratory skills such as microscopy, taxonomic identification, and sample preservation/processing. Even though most of my time (45 hours a week) was spent looking under a microscope, I was oddly comforted and happy with this tediousness. As a result, this experience confirmed my love for research and marine science. The project also increased my proficiency in the use of various statistical analysis software and GIS programs (Google Earth). Overall, my internship at SERC gave me an opportunity to see a research project through from start to finish, allowing me to present at conferences and hopefully publish my research. My work for the project is ongoing—I am currently working on writing/publishing. Stay tuned for more information on my summer research!

Study Abroad Spotlight: Paige Hagley

Major: Environmental Science, HonorsLava cave exploration
Graduation: May 2015

SENR Study Abroad Program:                  Iceland, August 1st-14th                                         Click Here For More Information

I had never been homesick for anywhere other than the foothills of the Appalachian Mountains until I traveled to Iceland in the summer of 2013. After finishing my second, and most mentally challenging, year as an environmental science student, I embarked on a study abroad to Iceland with the School of Environment and Natural Resources. Not only was I captivated by the volcanoes, glaciers, and black sand beaches, but I also began to develop an understanding and appreciation for the way other cultures manage and protect the environment. We toured farms, geothermal power plants, hydroelectricity generation plants, museums, and hiked among geologically and historically important wilderness areas. These places gave me new perspective on how important positive mindsets are when working to change the way we treat naHike along Hellarture. In fact, when deciding to specialize in environmental communication in my undergraduate career, I was reminded of the Soil Conservation Service of Iceland’s difficulty in working with hostile farmers and citizens. I decided I wanted to work among scientists to help communicate information necessary to make informed decisions affecting the environment.

I consider that trip to be the best thing I’ve ever done. Not only were the sights breath-taking (including soaking in hot tubs and watching the sunset), but it completely changed the way I viewed my future. Before the trip, I didn’t think there were many opportunities for me internationally, besides the occasional vacation. But the trip inspired me to apply to the University of Iceland’s graduate program. The experiences and friendships I gained from the trip will last me a lifetime. I am counting down the days until I can return, and in the meantime I am stuck in frigid Ohio watching nature videos and reading news articles about that wonderful island in the middle of the Atlantic Ocean.Surround by two volcanoes after our mountain hike

Leadership Spotlight: Alissa Finke

High Sierra-150-Exposure-M

Major: Environmental Science Specialization: Ecosystem Restoration Graduation: May 2016

Program: Leadership, Backpacking   The High Sierras OSU Outdoor Adventure Center (OAC), July 2014

What is STEP? What is the OAC?

I wanted to get away from everything and get out of my comfort zone.  In order to, I decided to go backpacking for two and a half weeks and walked 129 miles in the wilderness of the Sequoia and Kings Canon National Park. I was given this opportunity through funding from the OSU STEP program. Myself and seven other students left Columbus and headed for California. We were all strangers and were being lead by two men, who worked for the Outdoor Adventure Center at OSU – Tyler and Blake. We had no idea what lay ahead of us. We were all going to have to work together as we learned about the kind of leaders we were and how to take the lessons back to our lives at OSU. We took only what we could carry on our backs. There are no bathrooms, running water, or technology. There was only you, your company, the trail, and the endless skylines. We all had a lot to adjust to: changes in elevation of 7,000ft to 12,000ft, 9-13 miles a day with 35+lbs packs. We lived simply. We were organized, and we trusted each other with our lives.

High Sierra-513-Exposure-MOnce Tyler and Blake had given us the skills we needed to survive in the backcountry, they took a step back and were no longer our leaders. Instead, they became our equals. We then had one of the students be leader of the day. This might sound pretty simple, but you wouldn’t be more wrong. As leader of the day, you had charge of everything: the route we took, what we were eating, and when. The leader decided the number of water breaks, and everyone’s safety. We all had different leadership styles that emerged, and we each found our strengths and weaknesses. There were great accomplishments where we were able to go from 8,000ft to 12,000ft and back down to 9,000ft in one 13-mile day. When we reached the top of this pass, the view was simply like nothing I could ever describe with justice. We were on the edge of a rift between two mountainsides. A storm brewing to the east and a sun set in the west. It was something out of a dream.

High Sierra-578-Exposure-MThen there were the moments where I would collapse from exhaustion, my feet bleeding, my eyes running with tears. I felt defeated. I wanted to just scream, but I had no strength. Then my team tells me it is time to move on. I take a deep breath and make myself stand. Then I start to take one step after the other. We all had moments like this. Each and every one of us had a time where we wanted to give up. Yet every single person made the decision to get back up and keep walking. We experienced these extreme highs and lows together, giving us a bond so genuine.

I came away a stronger and more confident leader. I know I will constantly be growing, but after this experience I know I am ready for anything.