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- 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.



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.

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.

SENR Honors Spotlight: Robert Denney

Major: Forestry, Fisheries, and Wildlife, Honors
Specialization: Forest Ecosystem Science and Management
Graduation: May 2016

robert denney 2When I began college, I had no idea what research was, but I was sure I wanted to be a part of it. I wanted to be able to apply what I would learn in my classes to a real-world problem, and SENR Honors has definitely given me the opportunity to do this.

In the SENR Honors Program, you are asked to perform an undergraduate research thesis project, and this can be intimidating to think about at first. SENR faculty and staff guided me through the process, however, and I was able to establish a faculty advisor, Dr. Hix, in my sophomore year. With Dr. Hix, I was able to create my Honors study plan tailored to my interest in forest ecology. At one of our meetings, Dr. Hix and I were looking at a map of the distribution of eastern hemlock in the U.S., and from there I got an idea.

robert denneyI noticed that a small “pocket” of hemlocks existed in Alabama, and these hemlocks have yet to be infected by the hemlock woolly adelgid (HWA), an invasive insect that is inducing widespread hemlock mortality throughout North America. I wasn’t sure what I was going to do with this information, but at least it was a start. In the fall of my junior year, I took Dr. Hix’s Woody Plant Identification and Forest Ecosystems classes, and these classes formed the basis of what my thesis is now becoming.

Though still in its infancy, my thesis has the objectives of 1) describing the current composition and structure of this disjunct hemlock ecosystem type in Alabama, and 2) modeling potential HWA infestation over the area. It is my hope that land managers can use my research in predicting the future spread of HWA in Alabama and see the effects this insect may have on forest composition and structure. I am currently in the SENR Honors Colloquium class developing my thesis proposal, am applying for grants, and getting ready to conduct my research later this year. SENR has taught me how crucial it is to be a steward of the Earth, and I am excited to see where this project and the path that SENR has set for me takes me in the future!

SUSTAINS Learning Community Spotlight: Carolyn Voigt

Major: Environment, Economy, Development, and Sustainability (EEDS)
SpecializationInternational Development
Graduation: May 2018
SUSTAINS Learning Community: Click Here to learn more

Entering OSU as an out-of-state student was a daunting experience, but being enrolled in the School of Environment and Natural Resources has truly made my freshman year remarkable! The small size of the school relative to the university has been vital in providing me the chance to meet and interact with administrators, faculty, and other students that I might not otherwise have had the opportunity to engage with in a larger school.Being part of SENR has also given me the opportunity to network far beyond what I thought possible as a freshman by encouraging students to reach out and really challenge themselves in becoming involved in what excites their passion. In my case-I have been busy this semester in assisting an environmental economics grad student with research- fulfilling my goal to learn and become involved in a professional research environment-and I’m ecstatic to be traveling to New Zealand this May to study abroad in one of the most beautiful places on earth!

Carolyn and Gina, the SUSTAINS LC Coordinator
Carolyn and Gina, the SUSTAINS LC Coordinator

Moreover, the small-size of SENR has been further reflected in my learning community, SUSTAINS, which in particular has been paramount to my happiness and success in my first year of college. Our small and tight-knit group has had the most amazing opportunities, all provided by our wonderful adviser Gina Hnytka, who has always been so passionate in finding the most interesting and fun activities and speakers to interact with our community! From speaking to esteemed faculty to touring the Byrd Polar Research Center, we are always surrounded by the opportunity to not only learn as students, but also to participate in the local community and to grow as leaders in the university. The Byrd Polar Research Center was an absolutely incredible experience as we were able to tour the facility, but also to travel into the facility’s -20 degree Fahrenheit freezer that holds all of their ice cores from glaciers around the world, even from Mt. Kilimanjaro! Where else is it possible to see ice cores billions of years old?! I can’t encourage new freshman enough to challenge themselves in becoming involved with all the SENR has to offer!

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!