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.
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Study Abroad Spotlight: Haley Noll

Haily Noll Pic 3Major: Environment, Economy, Development and Sustainability (EEDS)
Specialization: Sustainability and Business
: May 2016

Program: Semester at Sea
Location: Various
When: Fall Semester, August 27th-December 8th 2014

A leap of faith is an understatement for what I decided to do with my Autumn 2014 semester. I embarked on the most incredible journey of my life with the Semester at Sea program. In my four months abroad I visited the United Kingdom, Russia, Poland, Germany, Belgium, France, Ireland, Portugal, Spain, Morocco, Italy, Brazil, Barbados and Cuba.

It was the most exhausting, challenging and brilliant four months of my life. I learned how to not fall off a camel in the Sahara Desert (turns out camels feel calm when they see blue, who knew?), how to catch piranha in the Amazon River and how to say “hello” and “thank you” in countless languages without sounding too touristy (I’m hoping). I had the opportunity to gaze upon the beauty of the Iguacu Falls, the Vatican, and the Cliffs of Moher. I salsa danced in Cuba, ate way too many crepes in Paris, and got the most amazing souvenirs in the marketplaces of Morocco. I met people from all over the world and hearing their stories gave me a whole new perspective on my place in the world. Semester at Sea gave me the opportunity to see the world with new friends, all while making memories that I will remember for the rest of my life.

Haily Noll Pic 4Semester at Sea is a study abroad program unlike any other. At the beginning, this is all I knew: I would be on some sort of massive ship sailing around the world to 14 different countries with 700 strangers from universities across the U.S. and the world. Every day we were at sea, we’d take classes on the ship, and when we got to a new port, we’d have a few days to explore and soak up as much as we could. It sounded ideal, I didn’t have to pick one place to study abroad, I could go to 14! I could get 12 credit hours taking interesting classes with distinguished professors from all over the country. I got all that and so much more.

I would encourage anyone who wants to see many places around the world, or who jut can’t decide on one place to study abroad to consider applying for Semester at Sea. I learned more about the world and myself in the four months I was at sea, than in all of my semesters at Ohio State. There’s nothing like being lost in a foreign city and having to figure out how to get back, or trying to Haily Noll Pic 2communicate with people who don’t speak English. I felt my fears and uncertainty diminishing with each country we visited and my confidence growing. I came home tired, but self-assured that I could take on anything life threw at me. Most of all I came home incredibly thankful for the experience of a lifetime.

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.

Student Spotlight: Phillipe Kenny

Major: Environment, Economy, Development, and Sustainability (EEDS)10296933_661862583888350_5907452510672004822_n
Specialization: International Development         Graduation: May 2016

FABENG 5320 Agrosystems: Elective Lecture for EEDS, Fall 2014

As an EEDS major my favorite class so far is FABENG 5320: Agroecology. One of the focuses of this course is the study of agriculture systems that are designed by studying the structures of natural ecosystems as opposed to monoculture, which is the predominant method of farming in our modern industrial food system. Agroecosystems use sustainable agriculture methods such as polyculture, crop rotations, and bio pesticides in order to maximize the use of local environmental resources and diminish environmental impacts like soil degradation. An agroecology approach to farming aims to use the minimum amount of pesticides and fertilizers in order to decrease the dependency of the system on fossil fuels. It is amazing what we can learn about sustainable food production by studying how organisms in an ecosystem function together to maintain a careful self-sustaining balance and resiliency. Indigenous peoples around the world have been using this kind of knowledge to farm sustainably for centuries.

This class has taught me much about our industrial agriculture system and how unsustainable it is. It is incredible how much fossil fuel, specifically oil, is required to produce pesticides and run machinery in these systems on a massive scaled and it is scary to think about the implication this will have considering out limited oil supply. The constantly growing demand for food around the world will require us to shift towards agroecological methods, adapting them in a way that allows for increased productivity than purely agroecological systems are able to support. This is an issue that will become critical as our oil supplies start to run low and land becomes increasingly infertile, and will bring about major changes in the way we currently produce food. This class has really sparked my interest in agriculture and designing agroecosystems and has inspired me to learn more about what we can learn from Mother Earth about sustainable practices.

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!

Study Abroad Spotlight: Evan McElhinny

Major: Environment, Economy, Development, and Sustainability (EEDS)Screen Shot 2015-02-25 at 4.32.38 PM
Specialization: Sustainability and Business Graduation: May 2016

SENR Study Abroad- Australia: Sustaining Human Societies and the Environment         3.5 weeks May Session, 2014                     Click Here for more information                                                                                         When I decided to declare a major in EEDS, I wasn’t quite sure what I was getting myself into. I had a limited knowledge about the school and the major and I did not know many people in my classes at the beginning. However, before one of my classes one afternoon an SENR representative gave a presentation about May session study abroad in Australia: Sustaining Human and Natural Systems. Coming into college I had been vehemently opposed to study abroad because I didn’t want to miss out on everything going on around campus. However, study abroad turned out to be a perfect opportunity for me. I wouldn’t have to miss anything since the trip was during May, I could take a once-in-a-lifetime trip to an amazing country, I could meet new people in SENR, and get credit for all of it.

AusieThe trip itself was life changing. I distinctly remember holding my ticket to fly from LA to Sydney (approximately a 14 hour flight) with 30 perfect strangers from Ohio State, and thinking to myself, “What the heck am I doing?” But studying abroad through SENR turned out to be by far, one of the best decisions of my college career. I made friends I won’t soon forget and saw sights I only had previously seen in textbooks; we snorkeled The Great Barrier Reef, kayaked though the rainforest, camped in the outback, and became immersed in Australian culture.

Furthermore, I gained a deeper understanding about how sustainability is crucial not just here us the US, but around the world; it is truly crucial that we attack issues on a global scale, not just here at home. But above all, studying abroad helped me push myself outside of my comfort zone and, as a result, I learned more about myself and my major because of the experience


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!

Internship Spotlight: Jamie Westhoven

Major: Environment, Economy, Development and Sustainability (EEDS)jamie   Specialization: Sustainability and Business     Graduation: May 2015

Internship: Ohio Interfaith Power and Light. Columbus, Ohio                                       September 2014-December 2014                 Click Here For More Information

I heard of the Sustainability Intern position with Ohio Interfaith Power and Light through The School of Environment and Natural Resources. Immediately, I knew it was something I wanted to pursue. This program pairs a student intern with a host community who is interested in adopting more sustainable practices. In my case, I was paired with a large Lutheran Church located in Dublin, Ohio. After running an energy audit, I worked with the building manager to analyze the audit report, develop a green business plan, and find funding to implement new energy conservation measures. In addition, I worked to create an photoeducation and outreach program to educate the local community. We discussed many important topics such as: energy conservation, global warming, carbon footprint, recycling, pollution, and GHG emissions. Overall, this was an excellent experience. I got to apply the knowledge I have learned through the EEDS program in a real world setting while making a huge impact on my host community.


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