- About IDCE
IDCE Students Profiles
Stephanie Oleksyk (ES&P '08)
I work in the Ecosystems Center at the Marine Biological Laboratory (MBL) in Woods Hole, MA. The Ecosystem Center was established at MBL in 1975 to facilitate the investigation of the structure and functioning of ecological systems and to predict their response to changing environmental conditions in an effort to enhance the preservation and management of natural resources. Another component of the Center’s mission is to educate future scientists and concerned citizens. This objective is partially met through the Semester in Environmental Science, the only undergraduate program offered at the MBL. As a SES student in 2006, I was hired to recruit students for this program. The other half of my position at the Center is working as a research assistant (RA I) on a project that is studying a potential solution to local coastal eutrophication. I am looking at the microbial processes that are occurring within a permeable reactive barrier. This barrier employs microbes to denitrify groundwater polluted with nitrogen from septic tanks and other anthropogenic sources.
2. What do you find satisfying about your position?
The most satisfying part of my job is working among researchers in a cooperative environment. There is a great sense of camaraderie at the Ecosystem Center and there are many opportunities to learn about other research projects. There are frequent seminars at which researchers from the Center and other institutions present their findings.
I also appreciate having a job that sends me to colleges and universities to talk to undergrads about an experience that really shaped my learning and future as a scientist. Alternating between research and promoting the Semester in Environmental Science keeps work interesting.
3. How did the ES&P program at Clark University help to prepare you?
I got some experience discussing environmental problems with experts.
4. Why should prospective students enroll in the ES&P program at Clark University?
Taking classes on a breadth of topics builds a good literacy in ES&P. The amount of research papers and projects that I had to do certainly improved my writing skills. Using the Kasperson Library was a highlight of the program - the staff and materials available are phenomenal.
5. Did you have an internship as part of your Clark education? If so, how did it help to connect you to your current career?
My internship at Corporate Environmental Advisors in West Boylston was my first environmental job. It was a valuable experience because I learned a lot about environmental regulations in the state of Massachusetts and the procedures for cleanups. I also learned that there is not a lot of opportunity to think critically and creatively in an entry level position at an environmental consulting firm, and that if I wanted to really apply my science education, I needed to work somewhere else.
6. What was the topic of your research while at Clark University?
Groundwater remediation technology and regulations.