[Standard Operating Procedure] for how to run a test or make a chemical.”
Being a chemistry major, Stickney also appreciated the opportunity to learn more about biology and microbiology. That knowledge will help her succeed at Ohio State University, where she began the master’s in environmental science program this fall.
Britta Larson (top photo), a biology and chemistry major at UW-Superior, was one of four students who did field work in Door County. They tested beaches for coliforms, E. coli, microcystin and microplastics; looked at parameters that could influence bacteria levels at the beaches; assisted in method development for finding and analyzing the microplastics; and analyzed the safety of drinking water.
Jason Trzebiatowski from UW-Eau Claire
“This program was very field heavy, and it taught me that conditions are variable and to be prepared to problem solve. This also helped me to notice what type of career I would like,” says Larson, who plans to go to graduate school for water resource management or natural resource management.
Both Larson and her teammate Jason Trzebiatowski, a biology major and pre-professional medicine minor from UW-Eau Claire, say one of the highlights was learning how to run and manage a field laboratory.
For Peyton Maki, a senior environmental science major at UW Stout, the hands-on experience provided insight into his career path. His current post-graduation plan is two years in the Peace Corps, where he hopes to practice the skills he learned over the summer, followed by graduate school.
Peyton Maki from UW-Stout
“By participating in this internship, I think I have largely increased my skill for both field and lab work, as well as learning my passion for the work I have done this summer,” he says. “It has let me get a better understanding of some of the tasks I will need to solve and work in for a future job.”
Kleinheinz says the program has exceeded expectations — and response to the FCW-funded positions was so strong that UW Oshkosh hired 20 additional students for a different program that studies invasive aquatic species in Vilas County.
Beyond the student experiences, the ERIC program is fulfilling another goal of the Freshwater Collaborative: connecting UW System faculty. Kleinheinz says when they reached out to UW Stout to discuss the ERIC program, the conversations snowballed into additional collaboration to develop common coursework and certificates. And this past summer, faculty from UW-Eau Claire brought a field class, also funded by the FCW, to visit the ERIC students and study water resources in Door County.
“The students are an easy way to make introductions between the faculty,” Kleinheinz says. “Faculty are busy, but when they see how an opportunity directly benefits their students, they start to see how they can do other collaborative things. That starts to build those faculty connections, and that will grow into future students research opportunities.”
The Great Lakes touch on a large number of states. The list includes Illinois, Indiana, Michigan, Minnesota, Ohio, and Wisconsin.