By | Olivia Nelson ’16

This internship has given me insight into the type of work environment I like.

The study of water resources incorporates policy analysis, science, health concerns, environmental issues, social action, and community engagement. As an intern, I was able to attend the Minnesota Water Resources Conference, where engineers, civil servants, and academics talked about innovations in the field.

However, I devoted most of my time to translating the science of the geology, hydrology, and water chemistry for park officials and the public. There was a lot to learn. Before my internship, I didn’t even know that a 72-mile stretch of the Mississippi River is a National Park. My internship challenged me to more deeply understand the geology, hydrology, and water chemistry of Coldwater Spring, which is also a local historic site of Native American settlements and a U.S. military camp.

Besides simply gaining a better sense of what a professional water quality steward does, I have gained a better sense of the workings of the National Park Service.

I worked on a comprehensive document describing the geology, hydrology, and water chemistry of Coldwater Spring and developed handouts for visitors and material for rangers, and will likely contribute a blog post for the Mississippi River Fund. 

My future plans constantly change as I learn new material in class or listen to a compelling keynote speaker, or network at an alumni social. This internship has given me insight into the type of work environment I like. It has reaffirmed that I like diverse project-based work, and though I still would rather not spend all my time behind a computer screen in a cubicle, I learned that a friendly, buzzing-with-energy office can make an office space exponentially more enjoyable. 

 

March 16 2015

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