Past Student Internships

A Rocha Ghana

“I participated in the Human Needs and Global Resources (HNGR) program by interning for an environmental NGO, A Rocha Ghana. Stationed in Damongo, Ghana, we worked alongside rural communities with the mission of establishing sustainable livelihoods (such as beekeeping). My internship experience impacted my perspective of poverty as something that is multi-dimensional and inherently complex. Additionally, it has taught me how essential it is to persevere in the hard work of hope as our global community pursues environmental sustainability in the midst of a worldwide ecological crisis.”

-Michael Sawyer’16

Fundación San Lucas, Nicaragua

“My environmental science internship was carried out with the HNGR program. I am especially interested in the intersection between creation care and human flourishing, especially in the areas of social justice, international community development, and agriculture. I worked as a Food Security Intern for 6 months at Fundación San Lucas Nicaragua which was a part of the Luke Society located in Jinotepe Carazo, Nicaragua. I was apprenticed by two incredible agronomists and took part in agricultural development activities in rural communities part of marginalized dry, tropical municipalities of La Conquista and Santa Teresa in Carazo. I researched to compare two different methods of rice cultivation, assisted with small tasks in San Lucas’s agricultural experimental center and had the opportunity to interact with and befriend smallholder farmers as they faced crippling climate changed induced drought due to El Niño. The experience was incredibly fulfilling and will hopefully lead to a future career path in international agricultural development at a local community level.”

-Kelly Wilson’16

Au Sable Institute, MI

“I had the opportunity to do ecological research at the Au sable Institute on the effectiveness of using mottled sculpin (a small fish that lives in streams) as an indicator of high stream and water quality. Through my time in this research, I was able to work closely with professors that were passionate about their call to care for creation and I was able to gain practical skills in field research. Both aspects of my experience helped me to understand my call to learn about and care for creation and to develop a personal environmental ethic.”

-Tommy Sokolowski’16

Water and Sewage Treatment Endeavor (WASTE)  

“I participated in the on-campus research WASTE project, which is seeking to develop a passive sewage treatment system for use in agricultural settings of developing countries. I spend many days in what is affectionately called the “poop lab” doing water quality tests and improving the technical design of our lab system (i.e. building things). Through this experience, I learned A LOT about how to do quality research, why sanitation is so important, and how to work on turning an idea into reality.”

-Meagan Jackson’16

International Sustainable Development Studies Institute (ISDSI), Thailand

“This past summer, I interned with ISDSI researching maternal and child health of refugee populations at the Thai-Myanmar border. We worked with families who were trafficked to orange orchards as they were fleeing the civil war in Myanmar. Here, they were forced to live in barracks on site and work 80 hour weeks that included spraying hazardous pesticides. The communities experienced significant health complications from the exposure to agrochemicals. My time was spent interacting with the orchard workers and their families, creating surveys that could be used to measure environmental stress, and working with a local NGO to improve the quality of the drinking water available in the orchards. I am extremely grateful for this opportunity to learn about the realities of environmental injustice that occur around the world, and for the experience which solidified my desire to pursue a career in environmental public health.”

-Kelly Baglia’16

Texas Commission on Environmental Quality (TCEQ)

“During my internship, I worked for the Texas Commission on Environmental Quality assisting on investigative work. I was uniquely exposed to the intersections between environmental law and governmental policy. I also received several facility tours, interfaced with regulated entities, and participated in ongoing research on water quality and indication species.”

-Jacob Biedebach’16

A Rocha Peru

“I did my environmental science internship in northern Peru through Wheaton’s Human Needs and Global Resources (HNGR) program. During my 6 months with A Rocha Peru, a Christian conservation organization, I helped teach 4th graders and teenagers about the environment, used my GIS abilities to plan a reforestation project, and interviewed community members to find out their use and knowledge of local dry forests. The experience made me realize that my Wheaton environmental science training has not only equipped me to be a reliable and effective team member, but has also given me the passion to work with environmental issues in the future”

-Johanna Depenthal’16

Jacob’s Well Community Church Garden, IL

“I interned at a community garden last summer. The other interns and I were in charge of all of the up-keep of the garden. My favorite part was getting to be creative in designing aesthetics for the garden. We wanted to create a garden that could be harvested for a lot of produce for the local food pantry, as well as a garden that could be a resting place for the community to come and enjoy the beauty of that space.”

-Christina Sandstedt’16

Raja Ampat Research and Conservation Center (RARCC), Indonesia

“Summer of 2015, I did an internship on a small island off of Papua, Indonesia. As a RARCC intern, my duties included planting, monitoring and harvesting sweet potatoes, starting up a Moringa tree planting and distribution project, leading kayak tours for the Conservation International Conference, taking Papua United to nearby villages to do soccer camps and HIV/AIDS awareness presentations, and accompanying tourists on snorkeling and diving trips to the island’s infamous reefs. I loved this internship because I experienced what ecotourism can look like and how it influences the interactions between people and nature –whether its between the local villagers and their environment or between the tourists from Europe who have come to see nature. This experience gave me a lot of practical skills for the future and helped me realize what I really love doing and what I want to pursue for a career.”

-Bella Lopez’16

Upland Holistic Development Project (UHDP), Thailand

“For my internship, I worked with UHDP in Chiang Mai Province, Thailand. UHDP works primarily with the marginalized Hilltribe communities of northern Thailand and provides training in sustainable agriculture, starts up women’s groups and microloan groups, and also helps the communities in attaining proper legal documentation. My time there was spend on the model sustainable farm, learning about the practices which can be taught to the Hilltribe villages. The internship was very challenging as it required I function primarily in Thai, but it was ultimately very rewarding. It gave me a valuable cross-cultural experience and experience working alongside a local NGO.”

-Nick Rubesh’16

Ezylife Corporation, CA

“I did my research for the Ezylife Corporation, a company in San Diego that sells eco-efficient stoves and other environmental sustainable products to African countries. I conducted market and environmental research for them to find good places to sell their products based on need and market viability. I learned how to work in the business world and the discipline, timeliness, and organization necessary to be an accountable employee. I also learned about environmental conditions in Africa and social context of business there.”

-Philip Meyer’16

Research on the Mountain Pine Beetle outbreak, IL

“I am researching stains left behind in pine trees that the beetles use as a way to draw nutrients from the tree. I’m comparing stains between different species (Eastern and Western pines) to see if the amount of chemicals within a tree helps to prevent the stains. I have learned a lot so far about the interconnectedness of this ecological topic with the economy, weather, and marketing. I have grown in my skills of gathering and analyzing data. This will be formative in the future because my confidence and skill set will be built up and I will be able to implement the things I have learned through out this research into future projects.”

-Hannah Farell’16

Rising Village, Ghana

“I interned with a nonprofit based in the U.S. and Ghana called Rising Village. They work with local women in Ghana in order to provide vocational training and sustainable income. I traveled to Ghana, taught sewing classes, helped with product design, and spent time with the women and children in the program. It was a blessing to connect with women from another culture with thread and needles when words failed me.”

-Kelsey Powell’16

Cardno ChemRisk, PA  

“Last summer, I interned for Cardno ChemRisk, an environmental consulting firm in Pittsburgh. I had the opportunity to work on a variety of projects related to assessing the environmental and human health impacts of hazardous chemicals. For example, I helped assess whether or not a chemical that would be in oil extraction would pose significant risk to aquatic communities. Projects like this challenged me to apply the skills I had acquired at Wheaton, while learning new skills in areas I was unfamiliar with.”

-Jacob Kvasnicka

Young Evangelicals for Climate Action (YECA)

I am a student fellow with YECA which advocates for the environment and for our neighbors who are affected by climate change by calling Christians to act –politically, socially, and spiritually. Through this fellowship, I have organized campus events centered around sustainability and climate change. This has been a humbling and exciting experience for me as I learn how to communicate the need for Christians to be good stewards of all of God’s creation.”

-Yuxi Zhao