Through this blog, we will spotlight Otterbein students who are engaging in internships and professional experiences in a variety of industries and geographic locations. We will also share tips and advice on searching for internships and making the most of internship experiences.

Monday, January 12, 2015

Rebecca Carter '15 - ODOT: Office of Environmental Science, Ecological Permits Section

Name: Rebecca Carter
Class Year: 2015
Majors: Environmental Science BS, Art w/Concentration in Communication Design
Hometown: Hilliard, Ohio
Internship: Ohio Department of Transportation: Office of Environmental Science, Ecological Permits Section
Internship Site: Columbus, OH

Internship Responsibilities:
The Eco section is in charge of evaluating each project site to determine the environmental impacts and then coordinating with various state and federal agencies (such as the OEPA, ODNR, USFWS, and USACE) to ensure permit compliance or adequate mitigation. All projects must submit an Ecological Survey Report (ESR) to the Office for review. I was a part of reviewing the ESRs that were submitted. Besides permit review I got to be involved in field reviews and surveys. Sometimes projects have impacts that need mitigation and it is our job to find suitable sites. Some mitigation examples include: creation of new wetlands, improvements on existing wetlands, restoration of streams, and creation of bat habitats. These sites require us to travel across the state and assess the sites in person. Most times we would be showing the USACE or OEPA how the site was preforming and meeting the permit standards. We would trek through the wetland/stream/forest in boots and waders looking at the quality of the site and how it was functioning.  Other times I was able to go into a stream and do a mussel recon to see if there would be a potential mussel community that would be affected by a project.  

Internship Benefits: 
As a part of the Office of Environmental Science for the Ohio Department of Transportation I was a member of a team of many experienced environmental specialists. This internship has provided me with a hands-on experience working with experts in the field I am studying.  

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