Sam Pierce – Internship Experience

stream gaugingMy name is Sam Pierce and I am studying Environmental Engineering with a concentration in Ecological Engineering at CSU. I transferred to CSU after completing one semester studying engineering at Lehigh University in Bethlehem, PA. I will be graduating in May 2019 with a research assistant position lined up at the Rocky Mountain Biological laboratory (RMBL) located in Gothic, Colorado. Following this job at RMBL I will be taking a position at Stanford University, working as a Research Associate in their biogeochemistry lab. I am able to have these fortunate opportunities because of my previous summer internship at RMBL during the 2018 summer.

During my internship at RMBL, I conducted independent hydrology research on the East River watershed and surrounding areas of Crested Butte, Colorado. My research aim was to identify first-order controls of soil and leaf moisture. Understanding basin-scale hydrology is incredibly important, yet incredibly challenging in alpine regions, for the purposes of predicting drought and areas of heightened wildfire risk. I began my internship my writing a formal research proposal and giving a proposal presentation. Once given approval, I conducted my research and wrote a formal paper outlining my findings. At the end of the summer I presented my research at a student symposium. My internship allowed me to collaborate with students and researchers from various institutions and organizations on a daily basis. Each day I was responsible for setting my own schedule, defining my own research sites, and getting my work done in a timely manner.

I gained numerous invaluable skills from my internship. I gained experience in the scientific research process and how to effectively communicate, both written and verbally. I also got experience with project management and setting my own goals to be successful. These abilities proved extraordinarily useful in completing my senior design project. My internship has undoubtedly prepared me for academic and professional success in ways that coursework alone could not have done.