Internships and Opportunity
By: Erin Kreischer '13
Issue: Winter 2013
Photo: Courtesy: Rachel Walman '13
We all dream of adventure. Anything from going on Senior Week with our friends to taking a cross-country road trip to
Lollapalooza. Countless numbers of students try to stifle the loud calls of adventure, deciding, instead, to spend their time studying, working, and volunteering. Juniata College helps its students learn that they can, well, have it all.
One Juniata student, Rachel Walman '13, took her calling for adventure on a 17-hour flight to a rural village in Tanzania, where she had an internship with an organization named Wildlife Connection. She spent eight weeks living in a tent without electricity and running water, and spent many nights making burritos and apple pies over an open fire in her village.
Rachel is a Juniata College Environmental Fellow. Rachel and other student fellows were not required to travel internationally for summer internships, but a few decided to pack their bags and travel across the world, anyway. The six Juniata College Environmental Fellows for 2013 received $6,000 to fund a summer internship experience.
Walman, who studies environmental science and anthropology, used the funding to intern in Ruaha National Park, Tanzania. She was assigned to educate villages about their local animals, develop ways to resolve clashes between humans and animals, and research elephant traveling patterns. Large animals, like elephants, cause a lot of devastation within the region, because they view farms as All-You-Can-Eat buffets.
In Africa, Rachel traveled via motorcycle and a 1984 Land Rover to 11 primary and secondary schools to teach lesson plans about region-specific animals. She taught many lessons through her translator and adapted games like
Red Light, Green Light to teach the way that lions stalk their prey. Rachel believes that the educational aspect of Wildlife Connection is important because,
it is easier to care more about animals when you know a little more about them.
During her time in Tanzania, Rachel traveled on dirt roads, went on safaris, and was bluffed charged by an elephant (Google it).
This experience allowed me to combine my Juniata education into something real, she says,
I am interested in bridging the gap between humans and the environment, and treating the environment as inclusive of humans.
Joel Rhodes '13, who is pursuing an environmental studies degree, used his Fellowship funding to take a research internship at the University College Cork in Ireland. During his internship, Joel spent time examining a salt marsh lagoon in the small coastal town of Lauragh, Ireland. This lagoon was surveyed because its water composition and salt content drastically changes between high and low tide.
Traveling from the University to the lagoon took two hours. At the Lagoon, research consisted of wading thigh-deep in the water, and rowing around in a two-person dinghy to collect samples. When the researchers would break for lunch and tea, they enjoyed the warmth and dry conditions of a professor's nearby house.
During his internship, Joel traveled to the lagoon weekly to take samples, researched macroinvertebrates, and assisted in analyzing results. This experience helped Joel see that his science and public policy classes can apply to real-world research.
Being an Environmental Fellow is not the typical way to get hands-on experience. Did you know that Juniata College offers course credit for internships? Last semester, I received credit for an internship that I had with the Peace Corps Headquarters in Washington, D.C. These are all examples that show what is possible with a Juniata community encouraging you to think, evolve, and act.