John Saltanovitz, currently a senior at Purdue earning a bachelor’s degree in Natural Resources and Environmental Science, worked this past summer as a sustainable communities outreach intern with IISG’s Kara Salazar. He wrote in to detail his experience getting hands-on in the environmental science field.
“When I started college, I was not aiming towards a career in environmental science. But as my classes progressed and I learned more about the topics, I realized how important the field was. There are so many issues that, if left ignored, could cause problems for future generations. Working to solve these problems is why I chose environmental science as my major. I learned about the internship with IISG from an email my department sent out, and it seemed like an amazing opportunity to get hands-on with the field I wanted to be involved in.My specific focus was with community outreach. I worked with Kara on creating publications that could help communities be more aware of environmental problems and how to fix them. My main project was creating a zero waste guide that could be used for planning local events in the future. The guide helps to provide ideas and statistics behind zero waste events, how they work, and how to plan for them. My hope is that this document will encourage people in the community to work towards being more environmentally friendly.My work this summer has showed me how much effort those in the outreach field put forth to help make a difference. I’ve always grown up around the Great Lakes, but this internship really opened my eyes to all of the different projects people are doing to assist and protect the Great Lakes region. Before this internship, the idea of research/outreach with the Great Lakes hadn’t crossed my mind, but this summer’s experiences have greatly increased my interest in and passion for the subject. I’ve learned that no problem is too small or unimportant when it comes to creating a better place to live and a healthier environment.I plan on continuing my studies in environmental science and working towards a degree in environmental engineering. My internship showed me how many possibilities are out there and what can be accomplished with hard work. I’ve met so many great people through IISG who all have a passion for what they do. It was a blessing to be involved in an organization like IISG. The only downside is that the summer felt like it went by so fast. I wish that I could have had more time to continue working and networking in the field.”