It’s been two years since we launched our summer internship program, and we couldn’t be happier with the results. Our interns did great things at IISG—educated boaters on AIS prevention, investigated community perceptions of sediment remediation projects, installed a real-time buoy in Lake Michigan, and more. But their impressive work didn’t end with the summer. Several are now in graduate programs, including law school. Some moved on to internships focused on Great Lakes monitoring and renewable engineering. And a few have even stayed at IISG.
To celebrate the program’s two-year anniversary, we go back to where it all began with a four-part series showcasing our first round of interns—what they did and where they are now. In this third edition, we check in with Meredith Brackett.
What did you work on while interning with IISG?
During my IISG internship, I worked with Paris Collingsworth on a study comparing zooplankton and nutrient data collected by the Great Lakes National Program Office (GLNPO) with data collected by the Interagency Lower Trophic Level Monitoring Program of the Lake Erie Committee Forage Task Group (LEC-FTG). We used a mathematical model to calculate the similarities in zooplankton communities across time and locations. This study will help improve monitoring efforts by determining whether the LEC-FTG survey is capturing characteristics that the GLNPO data is not.
What did you like most about your internship, and why?
My favorite part of my internship was collecting nutrient and biological samples aboard the EPA R/V Lake Guardian. This allowed me to gain hands-on experience in the field and collect the zooplankton species that I was looking at in my data study.
What are you doing now?
I am currently interning with the Oak Ridge Institute of Science and Education (ORISE) at GLNPO. My work there is focused on Great Lakes projects, such as formatting web releases for the International Association for Great Lakes Research website, working with USGS on uploading GLNPO monitoring sites to the Science of the Great Lakes (SiGL) Mapper database, and formatting the website for the IISG Limno Loan program. Additionally, I am still doing work on the R/V Lake Guardian.
How did your time with IISG help prepare you for your ORISE internship?
The internship really helped me meet people in the different areas of the Great Lakes and expand my contacts in the industry. I met the people I work with now while at IISG, actually. Additionally, the internship allowed me to learn about various aspects of Great Lakes ecosystems, and I apply this knowledge daily in my current position.
What advice would you have for future IISG interns or those considering applying?
My advice would be to definitely apply for the internship! It is a great way to make contacts in the environmental industry. There are tons of networking opportunities. Additionally, the IISG internship is a great way to experience environmental work underway in the Great Lakes basin and to see all of the career opportunities available.
For the latest information on fellowship and internship opportunities, visit our fellowship page regularly.