EMPOWER trainees use time during their graduate program to focus their research activities and collaborate with professional mentors to develop a specific line of research. Students may spend time in an internship, a field site, a national research lab, a not-for-profit agency, another university or other location, depending on the individual’s career goals.
Students may identify potential professional mentors through informal networks, the Water-Energy Nexus Seminar, recommendations of the program’s External Advisory Committee, networking at conferences, alumni, a program database of professional opportunities, and/or connections facilitated by the adviser. Ideally, the professional mentor will serve on the graduate advisory committee for the trainee, thereby fully integrating the professional collaborator with the graduate training program.
Examples of recent career pathway experiences:
Emily Baker interned for 8 weeks as an environmental consulting intern with Geosyntec Consultants. During this internship she helped analyze contaminated site data, created figures for client reports, organized data to be reported to the Washington State monitoring agency, and helped with field work (pump tests, slug tests, soil sampling, well development).
Riley Sessanna is working with the Skaneateles Lake Association to identify potential areas of remediation on a watershed feeding into the lake. This internship has allowed him to utilize his drone training (completed thanks to an EMPOWER seed grant) to obtain high resolution imagery of the region of interest to the association. Skaneateles Lake is the sole source of drinking water for the City of Syracuse. The imagery will allow the SLA to identify regions nutrient input into the lake to then create a plan reduce the incidence of harmful algae blooms during the warmer months.
Lucie Worthen interned at Jacobs Engineering beginning May 2018. Over last summer it was full time and during the school year it is two days a week. She performed a variety of engineering tasks on the project management team for the Save the Rain program.
Geoff Millard organized and funded (with the help of an EMPOWER seed grant) a two week stay at the Pacific Northwest National Lab to complete his dissertation research.