The opportunity to combine environmental engineering and the outdoors in a summer internship was just what Tiffany Taylor was looking for. The Quinebaug Valley Community College student and Scotland resident is spending the summer working for the United States Geological Survey at its Branch of Geophysics located in Storrs, Conn. Taylor, 20, is one of only two college students nationwide to be selected for the internship.
The USGS is the nation’s largest water, earth, and biological science and civilian mapping agency. It provides reliable scientific information to describe and understand the Earth; minimize loss of life and property from natural disasters; manage water, biological, energy, and mineral resources; and enhance and protect our quality of life. The agency’s 10,000 scientists, technicians, and support staff work in more than 400 locations throughout the United States.
Taylor learned of the internship from Mark Vesligaj, professor of engineering science and technology studies at QVCC. In fact, her Intro to Engineering class took a field trip to the Branch of Geophysics this spring, and she realized it would be a perfect fit. “The USGS combines the science/engineering career field I’m pursuing with my enjoyment of the outdoors,” she said. “For me, this presented itself as an incredible opportunity.”
Taylor’s geophysics and hydrogeology internship involves field work, programming, preparing and using various instruments, as well as learning from the scientists who work for the USGS. Along with the sciences, her interests include engineering and mathematics. “Working at the USGS has given me a unique opportunity to apply the knowledge I have acquired to real life situations,” she explained. “The field work has given me great hands-on experience, giving me a better understanding of how techniques, concepts, and laws are used in my career field.”
An engineering science major who was home-schooled before enrolling at QVCC last fall, Taylor cannot say enough good things about her professors and advisors. “They are what makes my education possible and they have guided me towards opportunities that I didn’t know were available,” she remarked. When asked about her future after graduating from QVCC, Taylor said she will probably transfer to the University of Connecticut to complete a bachelor’s in environmental engineering, adding, “Unless other opportunities present themselves, which they very well could.”