Student Profiles

Internships

Career Services annually recognizes students for outstanding service during their internship.

Lindsey Gordon, Environmental Studies major, completed a lab internship with the Illinois Environmental Protection Agency (IEPA) in Springfield, Illinois. In describing her experience, Lindsey said, “This internship experience closely related to my academic studies in the environmental studies program, which introduced me to environmental policy. Additionally, laboratory procedures learned in chemistry labs allowed me to better understand the daily activities required by my internship at the IEPA. As my focus and interest in the environment centers around biodiversity and restoration, exposure to the IEPA allowed me to build hands-on experience around my classroom learning. During this internship, my daily work was in a laboratory setting with several lab associates and chemists. Before this internship, I did not have the life experience necessary to be able to approach colleagues in a confident manner to discuss work issues. The IEPA internship provided an opportunity to learn the techniques of field sampling. I learned how to use a portable GIS tracking system, GEO pro, and instruments to capture water samples. Not only did I learn actual techniques and machine operations, but I also gained the knowledge needed to perform the task alone. After this internship, I am even more committed to my educational goals in environmental science. I now have a better understanding of the importance of environmental policy and of the research performed to monitor the impact society has on the ecosystems around us.”

Ryan Foley, a junior Environmental Studies major, is interested in getting into environmental consulting after college and would like to start his own company. This past summer, he worked as an intern at Pizzo and Associates in Leeland, Illinois.  He heard about this opportunity from Jack Pizzo who spoke at an Environmental Studies Club meeting.  Ryan felt this would be a great experience due to the nature of the work and the widespread effect landscape restoration has on the environmental industry.  He spent the majority of his time was spent on two landscape restoration projects; one project was located in Claire, Illinois and the other was in Leeland, Illinois.  Ryan learned about the various techniques that can be used to control and clear invasive species: herbicides; hand-pulling; brush cutting; prescribed burns; and various irrigation methods.  These techniques often required a great deal of physical labor that required him to spend long hours in the hot summer sun.
Ryan’s coursework in Environmental Studies 302 – Biological systems helped him with the basic introduction to the information he learned from working at Pizzo and Associates.  His specific on-the-job education was more focused on the specific ecosystems he was working with.

Ryan’s Highlights:

  • Career preparation
  • Networking with experts
  • New perspective (local and national issue)
  • Real-world application of interdisciplinary education 

Research

Research Rookies links students with faculty members to conduct small-scale research projects in their areas of interest.

Elise Waite is an Environmental Studies student working with Dr. Kendall Thu to develop resident-friendly scientific methods of water monitoring and to pilot implement them with at least one community group. She intends to create a new protocol to address existing gaps in rural water testing for the organization Illinois Citizens for Clean Air and Water (ICCAW).