Unity College interns go global in summer '16

Sixteen percent of all Unity undergraduates involved in immersive summer research

Collin Nafziger '17

Chugach National Forest, Alaska

“What I did on summer vacation” has real-world significance when you are a Unity College student.

Unity College undergraduates researched the spread of diseases, worked as park rangers, conducted wildlife surveys, and more through their participation in internships across the country and internationally this summer. In all, 108 students participated in internships in 20 states and one foreign country — approximately 16 percent of the entire student population.

“Unity College student interns are well-prepared, in demand, and get incredible support during their internship experience,” Unity College President Dr. Melik Peter Khoury said. “Unity College students are mentored by professors before, during, and after these experiences. They have an incredible range of great internship options. Because of the low student-faculty ratio, and our reputation for serious experiential learning in the sciences, our undergraduate students regularly get these types of research opportunities often reserved for graduate students.”

“Our students are recognized over and over again by their internship supervisors for their passion, commitment, and strong work ethic during these opportunities,” said Reeta Largen Community-Based Learning and Internship Coordinator.  “This recognition from our outside partners is a testament to the nature of Unity College.”

So, what did Unity College students do last summer? Here is a sample:

Elliot “Joey” Moran ‘17: NIMBios Research into the Spread of Hantavirus, University of Tennessee

Since 1993, more than 650 people in the United States have suffered the effects of hantavirus pulmonary syndrome, and 36 percent of those who contracted the disease have died from it. Only Ebola is a more deadly communicable disease. This summer, a group of four undergraduate students from colleges across the country, including Unity College’s Joey Moran, used mathematical models to study the quixotic spread of hantavirus at the University of Tennessee, with an eye toward preventing the fatal illness. Learn more about Joey’s summer research here.

Collin Nafziger ‘17: Multi-disciplinary Cordova Ranger District, Chugach National Forest, Alaska

As a multi-use ranger, Collin worked to ensure accessibility to some of Alaska’s most remote, pristine and beautiful areas, helping maintain and build multi-use trails while fostering positive public interactions, sharing the natural history of the area, and reporting trail conditions to district offices. He helped lead a Student Conservation Association youth trail crew, teaching teenagers how to safely maintain trails. On his off days, Collin enjoyed wild berries while exploring glaciers and alpine areas. Learn more about Collin’s internship here.

Caitlyn Connolly ‘19: Field Assistant, Toppen (Lillehammer University College), Norway

Caitlyn’s internship involved research into breeding phenology and breeding successes of Pied Flycatchers and other birds. She measured the weight, culmen, head, tarsus, foot, and wings of recently hatched chicks. Once chicks were sufficiently large, they were banded with metal leg bands. Other duties included measuring the biomass of flying, creeping, and walking insects and entering and analyzing data. Learn more here.

Madison Crane ‘17: Wildlife Outreach Intern, White Mountain National Forest, New Hampshire

Madison’s internship is through Unity College’s formal partnership with the White Mountain National Forest Service, in which up to seven interns each season work and gain knowledge in the fields of recreation management and wildlife outreach. Madison worked with the federal wildlife biologist stationed at the Saco Ranger district on tasks involving wildlife management, education, and outreach. Her duties required her to conduct patrols in developed and dispersed campgrounds to monitor black bear activity and educate the public on bear safety practices. She also conducted box management for wood ducks, bats, birds, butterflies, and bees. The deployment and retrieval of bat detection equipment proved an internship highlight.

Jacob Gaposckin ‘17: Bear Biology Research Intern, Denali National Park, Alaska

Jacob worked with Denali National Park bear biologist and Unity College alum Greg Colligan to assist in bear biology research, public education, and habitat monitoring. Jacob’s photography skills proved integral to documentation of his work. See more of his work and travels in Denali National Park here.

Hannah Grassman ‘18: Horticulturist, Smithsonian Institute, Washington, D.C.

While working closely with a team of horticulturists and gardeners responsible for the design, installation, and maintenance of seasonal and permanent plantings in diverse conditions at the Smithsonian Institute, Hannah learned about cultivation and maintenance practices of a broad range of plants. Maintenance responsibilities included extensive display gardens, container plants, and specialty gardens. Hannah was responsible for record-keeping, analyzing ecosystems, researching nomenclature, turf management, and public programming.

Friday, September 02, 2016