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School of Environment and Natural Resources


SENR Students Take Advantage of Opportunities to Gain Real World Experience

Aug. 23, 2013

SENR Students Take Advantage of Opportunities to Gain Real World Experience

Brett Baughman, Senior majoring in Environment, Economy, Development and Sustainability, and advised by Dr. Neil Drobny

Volunteer Service-Study Abroad with GIVE.

Brett Baughman, a senior in Environment, Economy, Development and Sustainability and specializing in International Development, spent several weeks this summer in Tanzania on a volunteer service-study abroad trip through Growth International Volunteer Excursions (GIVE). As a volunteer, Baughman stayed in a village known as Kiwengwa on the island of Zanzibar. While there he helped build an education center utilizing sustainable construction techniques that included packing 1.5 liter water bottles with sand and then laying them with cement to create wall structures.  He also helped dig a pit for a sustainable gray-water septic tank.  
Brett learned of this opportunity through a professor teaching Global Planning at OSU. He said, “When I read that it was a trip to Africa, I knew I had to be involved. I had always wanted to travel to Africa and I saw this trip as not only a way to do so, but to contribute my time and effort to the development of the country while I was there. It was the perfect opportunity to fulfill a childhood dream, satisfy a requirement for my curriculum, and get first-hand experience in understanding the needs and processes of how countries develop.” Reflecting on his overall experience, Brett shared, “the volunteer trip opened my reality to the development process happening all over the world.”
Brett Baughman, second from the left, creates O-H-I-O with fellow volunteers at the Uhuru Peak of Mount Kilimanjaro (5,987 meters, 19,341 feet), the tallest point in all of Africa and the largest free-standing mountain in the world. Photo courtesy of Brett Baughman.

Melissa Bittner, Sophomore majoring in Forestry, Fisheries and Wildlife, and advised by Mrs. Susan Burks

Internship with the National Aviary in Pittsburgh, PA.

This summer Melissa interned at the National Aviary and discovered the opportunity to become a hospital intern through the Association of Zoos and Aquariums website. At the Aviary she was involved in husbandry, providing enrichments, and assisting the veterinarians with procedures. When asked what she liked most about her internship, Melissa shared, “My favorite experience was working with a variety of rare and exotic birds, including birds that are extinct in the wild!”  She also added, “I have learned so much about bird behavior and medicine from one of the top avian veterinarians in the country. Because of my connections I also had the opportunity to go bird banding and nest watching in the Pittsburgh area.”  

Melissa works with the Indian Runner Duck, "Heidi". Heidi had her left wing amputated and receives water therapy. Supervised swimming allows Heidi to work her muscles without any stress to her joints. Photo courtesy of Melissa Bittner.

Chris Eidson, Senior majoring in Environmental Science, and advised by Dr. Nick Basta

Field Research with OSU’s Soil Environmental Chemistry Lab, Columbus, OH.

Chris Eidson, a graduating senior spent the summer taking soil samples on various corn and soybean fields around the state for laboratory study.  He notes of the experience, “I gained invaluable in-depth research and field experience that will inevitably serve me well in my graduate school studies.”  Prior to conducting field research this summer, Chris volunteered in the Soil Environmental Chemistry Lab in the School of Environment and Natural Resources to gain experience in laboratory procedures. While there, he developed a good working relationship with Dr. Libby Dayton, which turned into a paid summer position. When asked what he enjoyed most about his summer position, Chris reflected, “Gaining greater insight into the way solid research is conducted and of course making friends with similar interests.”  Chris entered OSU’s Environmental Science Graduate Program Autumn semester and will be working with Dr. Rattan Lal on a project addressing the resiliency of corn based cropping systems in the face of climate change.

Chris Eidson, setting up the YODER (a mechanical sieve), which measures soil aggregate stability. Photo courtesy of Kim Chapman.

Erica M. Smith, Junior majoring in Environmental Science, and advised by Dr. Kristin L. Jaeger

Hydrology internship with the USDA Forest Service in region 1 Missoula, MT.

After graduating from high school Erica worked on a crew with the Student Conservation Association (SCA) where she spent a month in the backcountry of Maine doing trail work. This experience had a profound impact on Erica. She said, “After my crew experience, I knew I wanted to do something with the environment and possibly get an internship someday.”  She describes herself as being very lucky to get the opportunity this summer to work with the USDA Forest Service. During her internship, Erica visited different stream sites to measure stream flow and surface elevation to be used by hydrologists in water rights adjudication cases. These sites were within region 1 forest land throughout Montana. As part of this experience, Erica was able to travel to many places, including Glacier National Park, which she notes is her favorite place in the world.  

Erica Smith, at the West Fork Buttes Botanic Special Area, which is on the Pintlar Ranger District of the Beaverhead-Deerlodge National Forest, a protected site used for managing the conservation of sensitive plant species and grasslands. Photo courtesy of Erica Smith.

Chloe Welch, Senior majoring in Environmental Science and co-advised by Drs. Lauren Pintor and Roger Williams

Internship with the Cuyahoga County Board of Health in Parma, OH.

This summer Chloe interned with the Cuyahoga County Board of Health (CCBH). CCBH is the public health authority for all of Cuyahoga County in northeast Ohio. She worked specifically in the Environmental Public Health Service Area where she was part of the storm water and bathing beach program team. For the storm water program, Chloe worked in the field sampling and inspecting storm water outfalls in creeks around the county. For the bathing beach program, she sampled water and inspected beaches on both inland lakes and on Lake Erie.

When asked what she liked best about her internship, Chloe notes, “It is hard to pick one thing that I like best about this job. I very much enjoy working outside in the field, and I love using the knowledge that I have obtained at OSU about water and the environment in my daily work life. I also feel that the relationships with coworkers and fellow interns, as well as people I've met in the field are invaluable to me.”

Chloe learned a great deal about storm water, as well as public health in general, through this internship. She says, “I observed firsthand the impacts of the combined sewer overflow system on Lake Erie bathing beaches and what is being done to mitigate these effects. I also learned about other various environmental public health issues through conducting septic system inspections, pool inspections, restaurant inspections, beach debris surveys, and much more.”  She shared that the experience will greatly impact her since it was her first experience, showing her firsthand the payoff from the skills and knowledge she has gained during her time at OSU, not to mention the vast amount she has learned about environmental public health while working at CCBH. She notes, “I made many valuable contacts through my internship who I know will support and guide me in my future endeavors.”

Chloe Welch, during her summer 2013 internship with Cuyahoga County Board of Health (CCBH) in Parma, Ohio. Photo courtesy of Chloe Welch.

The School of Environment and Natural Resources would like to thank the many individuals, organizations and companies helping to provide our undergraduate students with these important learning and employment opportunities.

Students interested in learning more about environment and natural resource-related internships and other career services can visit: