Internship Spotlight- Dan Hribar

 

Major: Environmental Science

Specialization:  Ecosystem Restoration

Graduation: May, 2018

Internship: NOAA Hollings Scholar in Delaware National Estuarine Research Reserve

Duration: June-August 2017

Click Here For More Information

In the spring of my sophomore year, I was fortunate enough to be selected as a Hollings Scholar by the National Oceanic & Atmospheric Administration. This incredible program—a fellowship of sorts—consists of both a scholarship and internship component, and it has been a gift that keeps on giving. Last summer, I spent 10 weeks on the East Coast carrying out a research project on a topic that is still beginning to gain steam in environmental circles. “Blue carbon”, as it is known, is the portion of the global carbon cycle that is stored in wetland soils, primarily those of mangroves, seagrass beds, and salt marshes. These systems are rapidly disappearing worldwide but surprisingly store carbon at a faster rate than forests or other carbon sinks, exemplifying their heightened value in the face of a warming climate. The setting of my work was the Delaware National Estuarine Research Reserve (DNERR), which is one of 29 such sites around the country that are maintained by NOAA for research and education. Within the relatively intact salt marshes of DNERR, I spent considerable time both in the field and in the lab collecting and assessing soil cores to determine their carbon content, particularly across environmental gradients pertaining to salinity, bulk density, and vegetative composition. In my abbreviated first stint with research, I learned so much valuable information that will no doubt propel me forward in my career aspirations. Moreover, I was able to go on to present my work at a professional conference and interact with people from all over the country who share my passion for coastal management and restoration. There is such an incredible amount of interesting and necessary work going on where the land meets the ocean, and I am so happy to have taken an early role in contributing to it in some capacity.
All in all, I would recommend the Hollings Scholar program to anyone interested in the multitude of fields NOAA dabbles in. These include everything from meteorology and GIS to deep ocean exploration and robotics. Although we don’t think about our coasts and oceans too much in the heart of Ohio, they certainly need our attention now more than ever. My advice to other students is to look beyond the opportunities offered by Ohio State. Even with the swath of resources this university can provide, there are countless more prospects that are merely a web search away. Expand your horizons and don’t hesitate to take a chance on yourself! Wherever your interests lie, there is almost certainly a position out there to suit them. Check job boards and the websites of government agencies and NGO’s alike, and do so repeatedly. You never know what you’ll find that piques your curiosity.

 

 

 

 

Research Spotlight-Katie Gorman

Major: Forestry Fisheries Wildlife

Specialization:  Fisheries and Wildlife

Graduation: May, 2019

Research:  Working at the Wilma H. Schiermeier Olentangy River Wetland Research Park

Duration: October 2017- Present

Click Here For More Information

I have been trained in water quality data collection, site maintenance, hydrology, as well as many other tasks necessary for maintaining the Ohio State Wetland Facility. I have most enjoyed learning more about wetland habitat and being involved in site maintenance for such an important research facility on campus. This experience has helped me learn what I want to do with my career and what I am truly passionate about in the realm of fisheries and wildlife.

I got this experience through the connections I have made with SENR staff and by reaching out to staff and faculty working on projects that interested me. I think being connected to the wonderful faculty and staff in SENR is a valuable way to gain new experiences that carry you deeper into your passions.

 

Internship Spotlight-Hannah Sargel

Major: Environment, Economy, Development, Sustainability

Specialization: Sustainability in Business

Graduation: May, 2018

Internship:  Office Efficiency Coordinator for Northwestern Mutual, located in Grandview Heights.

Duration: May-August 2017

Click Here For More Information

Ultimately, the responsibilities I had during my internship was studying the current office culture, and work to develop ways that the office could limit their ecological footprint, therefore also lowering their costs. This included but isn’t limited to expanding and monitoring the pre-existing recycling system, conducting in-office surveys, evaluating office supply/ordering decisions, as well as other office-core responsibilities such as leading interactions between clients and our financial representatives.
Having this experience gave me the chance to gain familiarity with business based sustainability initiatives, the office environment, as well as increasing my knowledge of the financial industry. This is the first attempt that Northwestern Mutual has made to study their office footprint, and without a precedent to follow, introducing the concepts of business sustainability to my co-workers was a challenge. However, being able to have a voice in an office setting was an amazing experience, and has increased my professional confidence moving forward applying for full-time offerings.
I was informed of this opportunity through my family. I also know several other OSU students who were interning for the company with a financial representative internship, and decided to take a chance to speak with the Chief Operating Officer (COO) of the company to see if my services/knowledge could bring value to their company. After interviewing, the COO found that this service could be very useful for the office, and accepted me for the position. My advice to students looking for internships is to be bold and confident. Not all sustainability-based internship opportunities are clearly advertised, so reach out to your family, friends, and previous co-workers to voice your skill set and apply, apply, apply!

Internship Spotlight: Andrew Shea

Major: Environment, Economy, Development, Sustainability (Honors) and
Masters in Applied Economics

Specialization: Sustainability in Business

Graduation: December, 2018

Internship:  Energy and Sustainability Intern at Extended Stay America Hotels in Charlotte, NC

Duration: May-August 2017

Click Here For More Information

I spent a large portion of the internship on energy related projects for Extended Stay’s 620+ hotels. The internship was very facilities based as I worked on countless lighting and water usage related projects aimed at reducing energy and water consumption. This involved a lot of contact with the managers at the individual hotels, troubleshooting and problem solving, survey collection, and inventorying current products in place. All of this work ultimately aimed at installing high efficiency toilets and bulbs in order to reduce utilities costs.

Throughout the internship I worked on developing a sustainability report and strategy for the company. This is something that Extended Stay had not previously looked into. I started by inventorying current sustainable practices that Extended Stay already does. There were a lot more than expected. This was also a great way for me to learn more about the hospitality industry, how it functions, and what possible changes could be made. I compiled my research into a report. The report began by aligning a sustainability strategy with Extended Stay America’s core values. It then went on to explain all of the sustainable practices Extended Stay already participates in. Following that I identified some potential room for improvement. I also created a short 10 page document that was intended to kick-off the sustainability initiative/strategy internally. This document addresses employees and explains the importance of a sustainability strategy, the pillars of that strategy, and the current initiative Extended Stay has already taken. This new sustainability strategy will eventually be featured on the company website as part of the new Community Relations portal.

I learned how to work across departments in a company and communicate with a wide range of professionals. I also learned more about communicating sustainability strategy to people who may be unfamiliar with the term or associated practices. Additionally, I learned about energy management and purchasing.

I found this internship on LinkedIn. I think having a finished LinkedIn profile and using the job search feature has helped me get a lot of internship interviews.

 

Internship Spotlight- Jane Peuser

Major: Environmental Policy and Decision Making

Specialization: Policy and Governance

Graduation: May, 2020

Internship:  Habitat Resource Intern for the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration’s Office of Habitat Conservation in Silver Spring, MD

Duration: May-August 2017

Click Here For More Information

I have done internships with NOAA before and someone I worked with previously reached out and asked if I was interested in a formal internship relating to policy. I was tasked with collecting updated actions on the Habitat Enterprise Strategic Plan, this project consisted of collecting and organizing data on what NOAA’s Office of Habitat Conservation has accomplished since the inception of the Strategic Plan. I also was able to work with the National Ocean Service’s Marine Debris Program and connected that program to the Habitat Focus Area program, for a future funding competition. The purpose of these tasks was to gather valuable information about the effectiveness of the Strategic Plan and to create a bridge between two different programs within NOAA. I very much enjoyed speaking to all the different programs and people within NOAA, learning about how the federal government functions, and becoming more confident in my abilities. If anyone is interested, formal internship opportunities are available online. They also have multiple programs that provide scholarships and stipends.

 

 

Research Spotlight- Johnathan King


Major:
 Environmental Science

Specialization:  Ecosystem Restoration

Graduation: May, 2020

Research:  Endangered Animals on the Barba Azul Reserve

Duration: May-August 2017

Click Here For More Information

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

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.

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

Click Here For More Information

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

Click Here For More Information

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

Click Here For More Information

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!