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What does a summer job in hydrology entail? Meet Laura Blunden…

As a Hydrology and Biogeochemistry Field and Research Assistant, Laura’s summer 2015 position with the WSRP was as varied as her academic background and work interests. Laura will soon graduate with an Honors Bachelor of Science in Physical Geography, including a Minor in Biological Science, with aspirations to obtain a second degree at some point (possibly a Master’s degree or delving into Environmental Law). Either way, Laura has already proven she is a strong multi-disciplinary individual, passionate about the environment and with a drive to continue learning. A further testament to this, Laura was motivated to join the WSRP by “…the fact that the program provided training in multiple areas of research”. In a short amount of time, Laura found that she learned “Tons!” In just two months, she became familiar with different sampling techniques, filtered samples with Agriculture Canada, created maps and brochures and helped organized tours of experimental farms where hydrogeochemical research is taking place as part of the WSRP outreach. Despite having some high profile responsibilities in her work, Laura acknowledges that there are some days when you can expect to get your hands dirty: she cites having her rubber boots stuck in the mud as her most memorable (and recurring) moments. Like many others in the group, the opportunity to work outside remains a favorite aspect of working with the WSRP for Laura. And like others, leisure time is also spent outdoors camping, hiking or heading to the beach.

Interview done and profile written by Jonathon Belanger

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What does a summer job in hydrology entail? Meet Matthew Walker…

  Meet Matt, the man who lives Environmental Science at work, at home and at play. A former Environmental Design and Architecture student, Matt joined the WSRP as a Biogeochemistry Field Assistant for the 2015 summer field season before entering his fourth and final year at the University of Manitoba in Environmental Science. Matt found his true passion in Environmental Science and Hydrology after taking a 3rd year Hydrology course with Genevieve (Ali). It was after this course that Matt decided about to learn more about rivers, streams, watersheds and how water transports chemicals and solutes in subsurface flows and throughout streams. Matt is a critical thinker and found that working with the WSRP gave him an opportunity to learn about Hydrology through a more holistic lens. He quickly learned the challenges of field-based research and that “…you never know what mother nature’s going to do”, citing a major rainfall event in which many instruments were damaged or floated away downstream. Fitting with his critical thinking, Matt also “learned a lot about farming and what goes on beneath the surface”, such as the intricate process from field to table that is often overlooked when we sit down for a meal. Matt is appreciative of the fact that working for the WSRP has “drastically broadened [his] perspective of how important the soil and water beneath really is”. Another, rather humorous, ‘challenge’ of field-based research Matt cites specific to his work was the side effects of working with blue dye and the awkward looks he would receive when noticing his blue hands, despite his valiant efforts to clean them. The most enjoyable part of working for the WSRP is that every day and every week is a little different and there is no redundancy, according to Matt. He also enjoys the opportunity to get outside often, given his passion for the environment, staying active and appreciating nature.

Interview done and profile written by Jonathon Belanger

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What does a summer job in hydrology entail? Meet Adrienne Schmall…

Don’t let the last name fool you… Ms. “Schmall” is already off to some very BIG things in academia and research! A Bachelor of Science student majoring in Geological Sciences, Adrienne joined the WSRP as Research Assistant in the field season of 2015 and she quickly made an impact. Motivated to find a working experience that combined both research and the opportunity to learn more about local water systems, Adrienne jumped on the opportunity to examine wetland-to-wetland connectivity on one hand, and water movement through soil profile and shale bedrock on another end. In addition to her contributions as a Research Assistant, Adrienne took part in the 68th Annual Canadian Water Resources Association Conference and represented the WSRP extremely well by winning the award for top poster over Masters and Doctoral students who had several years of research and conference experience compared to her 3 months on the job! In addition to learning various data analysis skills, Adrienne has become familiar with the use of different research instruments in her work, from water level recorders to automatic water samplers and soil moisture measuring probes. The opportunity to conduct fieldwork with other members of the group is Adrienne’s favorite part her job with the WSRP.

Interview done and profile written by Jonathon Belanger

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