ENVS undergraduates Eliza Grenci (23C) and Yulia Gu (25C) engage with hands-on environmental internships during summer 2022

Eliza Grenci 23C

Over summer 2022, Eliza Grenci 23C interned at the Darling Marine Center in Walpole, Maine, researching the growth and physiology of cultured oysters in the Damariscotta River Estuary. In addition to gaining valuable experience in hands-on marine research, Grenci also presented the findings of her research at the SEA Fellows Summer Science Symposium at Maine’s Downeast Institute.

Grenci’s research entailed lots of time on the water and in the lab, and in Grenci’s words, she specifically “investigated how water temperature impacted the growth of triploid and diploid oysters in the field and how different food levels impacted the growth of the triploids versus diploids in the lab.”

When she began looking for internships in January and February of 2022, Grenci knew that she wanted to dive into environmental research, and used her interests in sustainable food production and the ocean to narrow down her search. Grenci found the internship itself directly on the Darling Marine Center’s page dedicated to summer internships, and she also noted that the DMC posts opportunities on the Maine Aquaculturist Job Board and the Conservation Careers Job Board.

Even though Grenci had high hopes for her internship experience, they were exceeded thanks to the internship’s built-in opportunities to interact with people of similar interests and take part in consequential research. In the future, Grenci hopes to go to graduate school to continue studying marine science, and her internship at the Darling Marine Center was an inspirational step on her path to a graduate degree in the marine science field.

Yulia Gu 25C

Yulia Gu 25C, also had the opportunity to complete a hands-on internship over summer 2022 at Colorado’s Rocky Mountain National Park, where she worked in the Interpretation Division as a Fish and Feathers intern. While her role was primarily concerned with fishing and birding, Gu also had opportunities to participate in community outreach and partner with organizations to lead outdoor programs.

When Gu began her search for an internship towards the end of the Fall 2021 semester, Gu discovered that a simple Google search for “environmental science internships” could yield positive results, and it ultimately led her down the path to interviewing for a position in the National Park Service. She knew the position would be a good fit thanks to her prior experience in field work, identifying plants, and birding in ENVS 131: Introduction to Environmental Field Studies, which helped her learn fast on the job.

Within Rocky Mountain National Park, Gu was able to see firsthand how a National Park operates behind the scenes, from the extensive organization of different divisions to the accessibility issues that are a constant source of debate today. Gu’s interests in environmental science have been clear since high school, but her biggest question was about how to apply her interests to a real job; her experience working at Rocky Mountain National Park gave her a point of entry to the field, and helped her realize that she didn’t want to work in public lands long-term even though she enjoyed the internship experience.

“I would definitely recommend students look into [the internship],” Gu says, “It’s also just such a unique experience to be able to spend a summer working in a National Park while still a college student.”