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Partnership provides interns real-world experience

The Beaty Water Research Centre (BWRC) encourages collaborative interdisciplinary research, education, and outreach, spanning traditional water-related disciplines, as well as non-traditional and emerging disciplines.

“One of the goals of the BWRC is to support students so they have the opportunity to succeed not only in the pursuit of their research and education while they are students at Queen’s, but also to prepare them to lead successful careers in their chosen STEM field,” says Pascale Champagne, Director of BWRC.

As part of this strategic goal, this year the centre collaborated with community research partners Loyalist Township and Quinte Conservation to secure funding to support three internships, which were co-funded by the MITACS Career Connect initiative and these community partners.

The internships provide a unique opportunity for recent Queen’s STEM graduates to gain valuable research and development experience, allowing them to apply their education to tackle real world issues related to water management and treatment optimization of interest to BWRC community partners.

This year’s interns included Olivia Hughes, a chemical engineering graduate, Michael Pope, a graduate of the Masters of Science program in geography and planning, and Lauren Halliwell, a graduate in environmental science.

Hughes is currently working with Loyalist Township on a project related to the review of water treatment processes and optimization.

“I’m fortunate to work on a project that positively impacts so many people, and to be supported by both BWRC and utilities staff at Loyalist,” she says. “It’s exciting to work with operators that have years of accumulated experience and to find ways to help them do an even better job at providing an essential resource for our everyday lives.”

Pope is working with Quinte Conservation on a hydrologic computer model to predict flood and drought conditions in the Salmon River, which is allowing him to expand his knowledge of natural waterways and engage community partners.

“This internship has allowed me to apply theoretical concepts to provide practical solutions to issues that are important local residence,” he says.

Halliwell is working on water quality analysis and the development of a master watershed plan for Quinte Conservation.

“This experience has awakened my interest and appreciation for watershed quality. I am very grateful to learn invaluable communication skills collaborating with the Quinte Conservation staff, my supervisors at the BWRC and the local community,” she says. “This internship has exercised my creativity throughout the responsibilities of managing a project that really makes a difference in the local community and the environment.”

Jyoti Kotecha, BWRC Associate Director, Research & Business Development, says that, “throughout the internship the BWRC provides guidance that supports the interns to develop not only their research and development skill, but to also develop workplace skills such as project management and business communication skills.”

Each intern works directly with the community organization, and receives technical support from Geof Hall, Associate Director, BWRC Education & Outreach.

Story courtesy: Queen’s Gazette and Queen’s University

 

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