Watershed interns and mentors

Highlighting Future Watershed Leaders

With the Fall 2023 semester in full swing, Extension professionals from the North Central Region and their summer interns have had time to share the work they’ve done through the Watershed Management Research and Outreach Undergraduate Internship Program this past summer.

Intern fieldwork
Intern fieldwork

The internship program, led by John McMaine, Griffith Chair in Agriculture and Water Resources at South Dakota State University, is a Research and Extension Experience for Undergraduates (REEU). As watershed resource management requires knowledge in a variety of fields such as agriculture, natural resources, communication, social sciences and economics, public health, and planning and project management, the program accepts students from a variety of backgrounds and offers a wide range of focus areas related to watershed research, outreach, and management.

Over the course of the summer, seven student interns at seven different locations participated in the program. Each intern was placed at a different university in the North Central Region to hone in on their own unique research and interests, all centering around a common theme– nutrient loss.

The 2023 interns include:

  • Sam Korducki at North Dakota State University, focused his work on riparian buffers and fluvial geomorphology.
  • Ethan Davis at the University of Wisconsin-Madison, who worked on water outreach using tools like GIS StoryMaps.
  • Lena Ouandaogo at South Dakota State University, worked on ground truthing the Web Soil Survey using soil cores.
  • Colin Gholson with South Dakota State University Extension/Northern State University, whose work looked closely at precipitation data and flooding, and how it affects water levels of rivers.
  • Josh Mansfield at the University of Nebraska, Lincoln, whose research focused on infiltration rates of decaying matter with different substrates.
  • Sam Henry at the University of Illinois Urbana-Champaign, investigated best management practices for runoff, utilizing a variety of outreach methods.
  • Marissa Gerritson at the University of Missouri-Columbia, looked at water quality sampling and the effects of cyanobacterial algal blooms.
Watershed interns and mentors.
Watershed interns and mentors

Through their summer work, students had the opportunity to engage in field research, outreach, and networking opportunities, providing invaluable support for watershed management around the North Central Region and the country– all while gaining experience as watershed leaders.

Summer may be over, but the team is already looking ahead to 2024. A new summer, new interns, and the exciting opportunity to usher in the next generation of water resource leaders.

To learn more about the Watershed Management Research and Outreach Undergraduate Internship Program, visit https://northcentralwater.org/watershed-management-research-and-outreach-internship-program/.

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