Meet the 2019-20 Undergraduate Interns

18 BREE summer interns work with faculty and graduate students working on the transdisciplinary BREE research program. Read more about this year's interns below!

Hello! My name is Mariah Cronin, a senior majoring in Environmental Studies at UVM. I am originally from Cape Cod, where I fell in love with the ocean and have since become interested in studying hydrological systems within the context of environmental justice. This summer I will be working on the ecological team studying watershed and soil biogeochemistry, specifically within streams. I am very excited to explore the interconnected social, political, and ecological factors at play in the Lake Champlain watershed while working to promote the longevity of the lake and all the life it supports. In my free time I practice yoga, hang out with plants and friends, and sing, listen, and/or dance to music. I am so grateful to EPSCoR for this amazing opportunity and can’t wait to get my feet wet :) !

My name is Julyanice and I am from Trujillo Alto, Puerto Rico. I am a rising sophomore at Saint Michael’s College majoring in Environmental Engineering. I was part of the Highschool Streams Project for three years working with benthic macroinvertebrates. This summer I will be working with floodplains analyzing sediment deposition and displacement to better understand what is being deposited in the Lake Champlain Basin. I hope that my fourth year with EPSCoR will teach me more about the science fields involved in this project to save Lake Champlain and to establish connections with different people. I enjoy drawing, listening to music and hanging out with friends on my free time.

Hola, my name is Sarimar “Sary” W. Cuevas Hernández and I am from Puerto Rico. Currently, I’m pursuing my bachelor’s degree at the University of Puerto Rico, Río Piedras Campus with a concentration on Geography. I’ll be working on the Social Team on Rewilding and Development Scenarios research with Dr. Asim Zia, Dr. Chris Koliba and Dr. Elizabeth Doran for Lake Champlain. My goal in this internship is to learn as much as I can in these few months to take advantage to learn furthermore for my future career in Geography. And while doing so, help Lake Chaplain recover from the algae blooms and be cleaner for the people of Vermont to enjoy.

Hello, my name is Mariana C. Delpín Sosa and I’m from Bayamón, Puerto Rico, where I’m currently a rising senior in Universidad Ana G. Méndez in the Cupey Campus. I’m currently pursuing a bachelor’s degree in biology. I really enjoy doing research in the biological/ecological science field. This will be my second year working with BREE, Vermont EPSCoR Summer Internship. This summer, I will continue working with the Ecological Team in Lake Champlain in the St. Albans and Missisquoi Bay. I will be working alongside Luis A. Esbrí Ruiz from Universidad de Puerto Rico, Rio Piedras Campus and the mentors for this summer research are going to be Wilton Burns, Andrew Schroth, Dr. Jason Stockwell and Saul Blocher. I’m excited to spend another summer in Vermont and try to get more knowledge and more experiences from this great opportunity.

My name is Luis A. Esbrí Ruiz and I’m from Rio Grande, Puerto Rico. I study at the University of Puerto Rico, Rio Piedras Campus majoring on Environmental Sciences. This summer, I will be working on with the Ecological Team in Lake Champlain in St. Albans and Missisquoi Bay, with Mentors Wilton Burns, Andrew Schroth, Dr. Jason Stockwell and Saul Blocher. My main interest is to refine my laboratory and field work skills during the research.

Hey!! My name is Pamela J. García Irizarry. I am a Chemical Engineering major at the University of Puerto Rico at Mayagüez. This is my second summer working with EPSCoR and I’ll be part of the Ecological Team working with Soil Biogeochemistry. I am extremely excited to be back at Vermont. My first summer here was truly amazing and I am hoping for this one to be even better.

Hello! My name is Jack Goldman, and I am a rising senior at The University of Vermont in Burlington, VT. I am studying Environmental Science with a concentration in Watershed Management and Forest ecology with a minor in Geospatial Technologies. I will be working with the Ecological Team on Biogeochemistry/ Environmental Microbiology research. I joined this team to learn more about Forest management and ways in which we can protect the soil which will have a beneficial impact on the overall Watershed. While not in the lab or out in the field, I spend my time exploring the landscape, whether that be running, biking, or reading about the natural history.

My name is Alex Howe (he/him) and I am a rising junior at UVM, where I am majoring in physics and minoring in computer science. I am originally from Texas. I will be working with Dr. Asim Zia and Kevin Andrew on the social team to model the behavior of decision-making individuals and organizations who are near Lake Champlain. In my spare time, I enjoy LGBTQ+ activism, reading, and animals.

My name is Grady Jakobsberg and I’m a rising junior at University of Vermont studying Environmental Science and Economics. This summer I’m researching the environmental, economic, and social complexities of using agricultural best management practices in the Lake Champlain Basin to reduce pollutant runoff. I’m from Silver Spring, Maryland so I’m looking forward to this Vermont summer everybody has been raving about. In my free time I like to play sports, chef-it-up in the kitchen, or binge a TV show (usually after cheffing it up).

My name is Mathew Koretsky and I’m from Bethesda, Maryland. I am a rising junior at the University of Vermont, pursuing a B.S. in Data Science with a minor in Chemistry. This summer, I will be joining the Integrated Assessment Modeling team to work on estimating costs of implementing agricultural best management practices, and projecting the impact water quality changes have on economic systems and human health in the Lake Champlain Basin. I am looking forward to begin modeling how changes in the lake may affect communities in the surrounding areas.

Hi, my name is Kerien M. López Aquino and I’m from Cataño, Puerto Rico. I’m studying Political Science with minors in Music and Environmental Policy and Sociology at the University of Puerto Rico, Mayagüez campus. I’ll be working on the Social Team with Dr. Clare Ginger and Dr. Richard Kujawa in the project about Climate Change Resilience through Hazard Mitigation and Water Quality Governance in a Local, Regional and State Scales. I’m very excited to work this summer and get more experience so I can also help back in Puerto Rico with INESI (National Institute of Energy and Island Sustainability) at the University of Puerto Rico and keep tracing a path for graduate school in sustainability and public policies.

Raquel Lugo Bendezú is a geology student at the University of Puerto Rico Mayagüez. She will be working this summer with the Integrated Assessment Model Team on River suspended sediment monitoring and machine learning research along Dr. Donna Rizzo, Dr. Mandar Dewoolkar and Dr. Scott Hamshaw. Raquel is passionate about using art and design to advance science education and helping communities reduce the risks posed by natural and environmental hazards. In her leisure time, she enjoys spending time with her loved ones and participating in outdoor activities.

Hello! My name is Ann Marie Matheny, and I am an incoming senior at Indiana University, Bloomington. I am pursuing a degree in Statistics with minors in Spanish, Mathematics, and Economics. I am very excited to be working this summer with statistics for climatology. Particularly, my team and I will be applying downscaling methods and bias correction in order to increase the accuracy of climate projections and refine output to better capture extreme events in the Lake Champlain Basin area. This internship provides me the opportunity to apply, challenge, and strengthen my analytical and technical skills in a field that I am passionate about. I look forward to exploring the Northeast and creating lasting friendships through the course of this program.

Hello, my is Diego Rodriguez-Steinhardt I’m from Puerto Rico. I study Agriculture Sciences at the University of Puerto Rico, Mayaguez Campus. This summer I will be working in the Social team on Climate Change Resilience through Hazard Mitigation and Water Quality Governance. I’m passionate about natural resource conservation and architecture. My long-term plan is to pursue a master’s degree in Sustainable Architecture (or Environmental Design) in order to develop resilient strategies for future generations.

Hi, my name is Giorgio Sarro, I am originally from Italy, and I lived in France, Germany and now the US where I study at the University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee. My major is in atmospheric science with a minor in mathematics. I am excited to be part of the EPSCoR BREE project where I will be part of the climate team on Hydroclimatology research, specifically, I will be researching about drought events in the northeastern United States. I love everything that has to do with nature, so I find Vermont, with the lake and all the different mountains, the perfect place to conduct this kind of research. Other than my field of study, I love to hike, ski, and learn new languages.

My name is Anna Singer and I am from Essex, Vermont and will be junior at the University of Delaware in the Fall. I am pursuing degrees in Public Policy and Environmental Studies with a concentration in Environmental Advocacy. This summer I will be on the social team with Vermont EPSCoR working under mentor Patrick Bitterman on survey and analysis of institutional networks in the Lake Champlain Basin. As part of this team, I will have the opportunity to work with governance actors and see their interactions within the basin. I am excited to spend the summer in Vermont and work to better the lake for the surrounding communities.

My name is Ellie Sovcik and I will be a senior in the fall studying Environmental Science at the University of Vermont. I grew up outside of Chicago learning about the Great Lakes and spent the past two summers leading kayaking tours on the Chicago River. Unfortunately, many of our once beautiful waterways are now degraded, and I want to help change that. This summer I will be researching nutrient transport and retention in the Missisquoi wetland complex to better understand nutrient loading and cyanobacteria blooms in Lake Champlain. I hope to learn more about riverine loading of pollution and nutrients, wetland function, and possible strategies for prevention and restoration of our waterways in the future. I am so grateful for the opportunity to work with the BREE team this summer and look forward to helping the team understand and combat cyanobacteria blooms in Lake Champlain.

I am Connor Zwonik and I am going to be a junior in the fall at the University of Vermont. I am pursuing a double major in Mathematics and Statistics with a minor in Computer Science. This summer I will be working with the BREE Climate Team on analyzing climate data with Maike Holthuijzen, Dr. Brian Beckage, and Dr. Patrick Clemins. We are working on downscaling the data and reducing bias to increase its applicability to our model. I’m looking forward to strengthening my data analysis and programming skills throughout the internship.