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Career Services

Internships and Field Placements

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    Photo credit: KristieRae Ellis

KristieRae Ellis ’15

Major(s)

Environmental Science

Hometown

Pleasant Prairie, Wis.

Name of Business/Organization

Shedd Aquarium

Internship Position

Water Quality Intern

Give three words that sum up your internship experience.

Educational, Interesting, Exciting

How did you learn about your internship?

“Through Prof. Tracy Gartner, my department adviser and professor.”

Describe your internship.

“I work on two different studies. One is focused on the ion concentrations and the effects of road salt on Monroe Harbor in Chicago. The other project is focused on analyzing data about fish transport and different aquarium suppliers. I am working to determine if any suppliers are more reliable than others in terms of water quality.”

What do you enjoy most about your internship? What are some of the challenges?

“I absolutely love the working environment of the aquarium! I work with a group of very genuine and interesting people. They are all very knowledgeable and everyone has a unique story to tell you about a fish, a whale, or ‘that one time in the Amazon.’ There is always something to learn and someone willing to teach you. As far as challenges go, they have been quite small thus far. Mostly just adjusting to a new work atmosphere and getting to know everyone. Everyone is really friendly at the aquarium though, so even that wasn’t too challenging.”

How does your internship fit with your long-term career goals?

“Ideally, I would love to work in an aquatic ecology lab or conduct field research relating to aquatics. Thus, I think interning at the Shedd Aquarium is a perfect fit for me! Many of the skills I’m learning and the knowledge I’m gaining can easily translate to field work or are fairly standard parameters when it comes to analyzing water quality. I think having consistent exposure and experience to that sort of environment and work is definitely going to help me in the long run!”

During your internship search, how did you make yourself stand out to employers?

“This internship is part of the Carthage in Chicago internship program. With help from Prof. Gartner, I prepared for the internship opportunity.”

What did you find to be the most helpful during your internship search process?

“Through the help of Carolynn Friesch, I was able to speak with Mr. Allen LaPointe, Vice President of Water Quality at the Shedd. This allowed me to understand the internship and make the final decision to participate in the Carthage in Chicago program.”

Do you have any tips to share with other students about your experience?

“Intern somewhere that is interesting and exciting to you! If you’re interested and excited to be at your internship, you’re ultimately going to get more out of the experience. And don’t be afraid to ask questions! You’re there to learn and the people you’ll be working with are generally excited to share their experiences and knowledge with you!”

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