Water Resources Center internship program marks 10th, invites applications
Nicole Dobbs has been working on a project in the Cool Run watershed.


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2:46 p.m., Feb. 19, 2010----This year marks the 10-year anniversary of the Delaware Water Resources Center (DWRC) internship program.

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Established in 2000, the DWRC internship program has provided more than 100 University of Delaware and Delaware State University students with the chance to conduct projects on water-related topics under the supervision of a faculty adviser.

With project topics ranging from policy to core issues of stream sampling to metal levels in broiler litter, the DWRC internship program offers students the opportunity to collaborate with faculty members in their academic field, and become directly involved in research and education projects addressing water resource related issues of critical importance to Delaware and the Mid-Atlantic region.

During this experience, interns pick a topic of interest, conduct an ongoing research or education project, analyze and interpret data, and present a final report at the annual UD Undergraduate Research Conference. This “hands-on” internship provides select students with the opportunity to address water quality issues and apply their classroom knowledge to real-world problems. Additionally, interns are able to learn more about graduate school opportunities, future research projects and careers in water science, policy and management.

Jennifer Campagnini Walls, principal planner for the Delaware Department of Natural Resources and Environmental Control (DNREC), was one of the first DWRC interns in 2000. She graduated from UD in 2001 with a bachelor's degree in natural resources management.

As a DWRC intern, Walls was advised by Gerald Kauffman, professor of watershed policy and director of UD's Water Resources Agency, where she worked on a project entitled “The University of Delaware Experimental Watershed Project.” UD's experimental watershed serves as a living laboratory for research and education in the University community, containing many popular landmarks such as the UD farm, Clayton Hall, Deer Park, and the Blue and Gold Club. This watershed area includes several small tributaries to the White Clay Creek.

During her internship, Walls was responsible for the planning and assessment of the first experimental watershed on UD's main campus in Newark. Walls did the majority of her work out in the field testing water quality and aided in the preparation of a watershed “report card” that evaluated the relationship between land use and watershed health.

“As a DWRC intern, I gained a ton of experience that has helped me get to where I am today. I was fortunate enough to have the opportunity to present my research from this project at two national conferences, giving me a very competitive edge. This internship program taught me a lot about watershed planning and management, knowledge that I continue to use every day,” Walls said.

One of the current DWRC interns, Nicole Dobbs, is a senior environmental engineering major with a concentration in water quality and water resources with minors in civil engineering and economics. Her project, “Monitoring Cool Run Watershed for the UD Middle South Campus,” is advised by Anastasia Chirnside, assistant professor of bioresources engineering. Dobbs is responsible for evaluating land uses on campus, approximating pollutant loads, and looking at storm water management practices. This is all part of an effort to come up with an overall recommendation for healthy, sustainable watershed management practices on campus.

The DWRC is currently accepting applications for the 2010-2011 class of undergraduate interns. Each undergraduate intern receives $3500 in financial support from the DWRC. Students typically work ten weeks full-time during the summer and additional hours during the fall and winter. Academic credit for internships is also possible but must be coordinated with the student's faculty advisor.

The application deadline for 2010 DWRC internships is March 26. For details on past projects, current faculty advisors, application materials to submit, and requirements for reports and posters, visit the DWRC Web site. Students are encouraged to contact Maria Pautler via email at [mpautler@udel.edu] or telephone at (302) 831-0847 to express interest and to receive assistance identifying a project and adviser.

The DWRC was established in 1965 and serves as one of 54 Water Resources Institutes across the nation. Support for these institutes is received from the U.S. Geological Survey and other partners within each individual state.