The Gwinnett County Department of Water Resources is running a new summer internship program for area college students to gain real-world experience in the water utility industry. The program’s 15 participants attend the University of Georgia, Georgia State University, Georgia Tech, Georgia Gwinnett College, Southern Polytechnic State University, University of West Georgia and Duke University.
“This internship is a learning experience that will help me choose a more specialized field of environmental science that I want to pursue in college and will give me potential ideas for a future career,” said Mounika Pogula, an incoming freshman at Duke University.
Interns work full-time and are immersed in various roles such as water production and reclamation, water quality monitoring, GIS and infrastructure mapping, and engineering and construction. “I’m interested in experiencing the engineering process required to solve problems and implement designs,” said Katie Wingrove, a recent Georgia Tech environmental engineering graduate. “Gwinnett County was recommended to me by a professor as one of the best water departments in the state, so I figured an internship here would be a great learning opportunity.”
Danielle Buice, a senior biology major at Georgia Gwinnett College, said, “After starting the internship, I feel like I have already learned a tremendous amount of interesting information. I am really excited be a part of this great opportunity.”
For the upcoming school year, Gwinnett County will be launching a co-op program with Southern Polytechnic State University and Georgia Tech that will train engineering students for careers in Water Resources while they complete coursework in their major fields of study. Water Resources Director Ron Seibenhener said, “As interest in environmentally focused jobs grows, we want to make students aware that the field of water resources offers a career that makes a difference. Water industry professionals are directly involved in protecting and preserving the health of their local community and the environment.” Students who are interested in participating in the co-op program may apply through the schools’ career center.
The Georgia Association of Water Professionals is working with public utilities to reach students who want to learn about careers in the water industry and has created an outreach program called H2Opportunity. For more information, students can visit http://h2opportunity.net/.