Available Internships

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The following CONSERVE institutions have positions available for Summer 2019:

New Mexico State University (Las Cruces, NM)
Project Focus: Educational Media Development

University of Maryland Eastern Shore (Easton, MD)
Project Focus: Water Quality Analysis

University of Arizona (Tucson, AZ)
Project Focus: Water Quality Analysis

University of Arizona (Maricopa, AZ)
Project Focus: Water Quality Analysis & Outreach

University of Delaware (Newark, DE)
Project Focus: Consumer Behavior & Economics

University of Delaware (Newark, DE)
Project Focus: Water Quality Analysis & Product Testing

University of Maryland (College Park, MD)
Project Focus: Water Quality Analysis

University of Maryland (College Park, MD)
Project Focus: Water Quality Analysis & Outreach

University of Maryland (College Park, MD)
Project Focus: Spatial Analysis & Mapping

USDA Agricultural Research Service (Beltsville, MD)
Project Focus: Water Quality Analysis & Product Testing

 

New Mexico State University

Las Cruces, NM // Supervisor: Jeanne Gleason

Position Description: The intern will work on placement and distribution of CONSERVE communication tools and support production and quality assurance of animations, interactive modules, and web content. This opportunity will be in collaboration with CONSERVE and NMSU Media Productions, and the intern will be actively supervised and supported by editorial and web design staff. As part of an integrated team of professionals, the intern will be exposed to the process of designing, building, user-testing and doing quality assurance on CONSERVE media tools in development. Learning about distribution and marketing of educational outreach products, including on social media and education-focused platforms, will also be part of this internship. Skills needed: writing, meticulous data organization, and teamwork.

About the Lab: Work environment is a studio of educational media developers working on a variety of projects in agricultural, consumer, and environmental sciences education. Advantages of this environment include support for the intern from experienced colleagues and exposure to protocols of web publishing, app development, instructional design, educational technology and educational outreach. Responsibilities include that the intern operate professionally in a deadline-driven environment.

University of Arizona

Tucson, AZ // Supervisor: Sadhana Ravishankar

Position Description: The intern will be involved in Activity 3b of the CONSERVE project, which focuses on evaluation of ozone technology and ozone in combination with plant-based antimicrobials for treatment of non-traditional sources of irrigation water and produce wash water.  The intern will be responsible for participating in various activities including the following: Preparation of microbiological media, dilution buffers, plant antimicrobial solutions, and chemical reagents as needed for the experiments; Training in the safe operation and running of the ozone generating equipment; Conducting experiments on evaluating the efficacy of ozone and ozone in combination with plant-based antimicrobials against foodborne pathogens in produce wash water; Enumeration of bacterial survivors after treatments with ozone and plant antimicrobials; Data analysis, statistical analysis, literature review, and report as well as manuscript preparation; Presentation and discussion of results in lab meetings.

About the Lab: The Ravishankar Lab focuses on understanding the prevalence/survival of foodborne pathogens in the food production and processing environments and controlling these pathogens using natural ways. The current Ravishankar Lab team includes 1 postdoc, 1 Lab Manager, 2 Research Technicians, 1 Graduate student and 7 Undergraduate Students who work on various projects related to food safety.  The current projects in the Ravishankar Lab include the following:  CONSERVE (activity 1b, 3b, and 5) evaluating the prevalence of foodborne pathogens and indicator bacteria in non-traditional sources of water samples, investigating the possibility of using ozone and plant based antimicrobials for treatments of non-traditional sources of irrigation water, and educating the local k-12 school students about the importance of using these water sources for growing crops; Improving the safety and quality of melons grown in various regions in the US; Prevention of biofilm formation on produce contact surfaces using plant based antimicrobials; and Improving the safety and shelf-life of fresh-cut leafy produce using plant antimicrobials formulations in the wash water.

University of Arizona

Maricopa Agricultural Center, Maricopa, AZ // Supervisor: Channah Rock

Position Description: The intern will work with an outgoing and collaborative group of staff, scientists, and students to collect water samples, analyze samples for microbiological parameters, interpret data, and communicate scientific findings with stakeholder across the state of AZ. The intern will also have the opportunity to learn advanced microbiological techniques and learn how to translate complex scientific information to a variety of stakeholder audiences including growers, packers, shippers, irrigation districts, and other scientists.

About the Lab: The Maricopa Agricultural Center (MAC) is a 2,100-acre research farm within The College of Agriculture & Life Sciences at The University of Arizona. This research farm is located in the city of Maricopa, AZ about 90 miles north of The University of Arizona main campus in Tucson, AZ. Here at the farm there are about a dozen faculty members who conduct research in Agriculture related sciences like Urban and Rural Entomology, Integrated Pest Management, Ag Systems and Bio Engineering, Soil Science, Crop Science and Water Quality. The Water Quality Program housed at MAC has been conducting outreach and research for just over eight years and has reached more than 26,000 individuals. Outreach efforts for the Water Quality Program focus in teaching water quality principles and practices to watershed stewards, industry stakeholders and the general public. Research topics include food safety within irrigation water quality, surface water quality in rivers, lakes and streams, wastewater industry methods and standards and water reuse analysis and regulation. The Water Quality Program Lab is a microbiology-based laboratory that performs field and lab water sample collection and analysis using current high quality microbiological techniques in both cultural and molecular science.  

University of Delaware

Newark, DE // Supervisor: Kali Kniel

Position Description: This position will include construction and manipulation of filtration columns containing zero-valent iron (ZVI) and sand for the removal of pathogens from water. This student will participate in and help coordinate field trials at the University of Delaware. This student will work in collaboration with scientists at the USDA-ARS and other students at the University of Delaware across multiple departments.

About the Lab: Dr. Kali Kniel's laboratory is a collaborative group of individuals all passionate about protecting public health through advancing food safety. We are a group that works well together and help each other out with large projects.

University of Delaware

Newark, DE // Supervisor: Kent Messer

Position Description: The Center for Experimental & Applied Economics is looking for a CONSERVE intern who is motivated and friendly and who has an interest in studying water and food issues from an economics and behavioral science perspective. As a part of this internship, the candidate will work on Institutional Review Board (IRB) approval and certification, identifying produce grown with various irrigation methods, development of experiment design and decision platform, administering studies, analyzing and presenting data, and developing learning materials based on research.

About the Lab: The Center for Experimental & Applied Economics consists of a diverse team of about 30 people (undergraduate and graduate students, postdocs and professors) working on a variety of research topics centered on human behavior and agri-environmental issues. Understanding how people respond to questions and tasks given various scenarios and information sets is critical when trying to comprehend and predict how people behave in the real world. This research helps us understand how human behavior can be influenced and altered to make better environmental and, consequently, economic decisions. Human behaviors have policy implications. In society, if we want to bring about change, we have to understand human behavior first. As experimental economists we use field and laboratory experimental techniques to gauge individual behavior. This could be as simple as asking people to make yes or no decisions concerning certain tasks. For example, “Will you eat this strawberry that has been irrigated with recycled water for $5? – Yes or No?” As experimental economists, we work to ensure that all purchase decisions have real financial outcomes for real products – just like they would be in an actual grocery store. This means that participants receive money to make these decisions and it also means that the decision itself is real – if we are asking if a participant is willing to eat a strawberry that has been irrigated with recycled water for $5, then we will have an actual strawberry that has been irrigated with recycled water that the participant can buy.

University of Maryland

College Park, MD // Supervisor: Shirley Micallef

Position Description: This position is for someone with a microbiology background to help with a field/greenhouse study that will assess the impact of overhead irrigation water on the microbiological quality of a leafy green crop, including assessing the potential shifts in plant microbiomes and transfer of antimicrobial resistance genes (ARGs) from bacteria in water to bacteria associated with the crop phyllosphere. Required skills: standard microbiological methods. Preferred skills: PCR.

About the Lab: Our lab is located in the Department of Plant Science and Landscape Architecture, in the Plant Science Building. We have about 1400 sq. ft of biosafety level-2 lab space equipped for molecular biology and microbiology research, two plant growth chambers, two greenhouse spaces at the Greenhouse complex, and also have at our disposal research plots located at four Research and Education Centers across the state of MD where we are able to conduct field research. Our research focuses on (1) the interaction of human pathogens with plants (fruit and vegetable crops), (2) the microbiomes of fruit and vegetable crops, (3) the effect of cropping practices on the fate and dispersal of enteric bacteria on farms, (4) agricultural water quality. For more information, please visit our webpages: http://www.psla.umd.edu/people/dr-shirley-micallef and http://psla.umd.edu/research/research-lab-pages/micallef-lab-produce-safety

University of Maryland

College Park, MD // Supervisors: Amy Sapkota and Rosenberg Rachel Goldstein

Positions Description: The position will be split between Dr. Sapkota's lab and the education and outreach efforts led by Dr. Rosenberg Goldstein and Mr. Paul Goeringer. The summer project will be focused on the RRIPER (Rooftop Runoff Irrigating Produce Eaten Raw) project evaluating water, soil, and produce from gardens irrigating with collected rain water or rooftop runoff. Duties will include supporting field sample collections from gardens; calibrating and using multi-parameter meters that measure water parameters such as nitrates, chlorides, pH, and dissolved oxygen; processing soil and produce samples; filtering water samples and extracting DNA (which will be used to profile the microbial communities present in the different water sources over time using 16S sequencing and shotgun metagenomics); and entering data (water parameters, DNA concentrations, etc). Extension and Education duties will include writing up results from field sampling; designing figures and tables of results; updating and editing outreach materials; conducting literature reviews for Extension and peer-reviewed publications; and acting as proxy for Extension team on conference calls with other CONSERVE project teams. The intern will spend 60% time supporting the lab team, and 40% time supporting the Extension team. This shared position will allow the intern the opportunity to learn advanced microbiological techniques and develop skills in translating complex scientific information to a variety of stakeholder audiences, including growers, Extension educators, and students.

About the Lab: The Extension team has four team members who have a range of experience in Extension, environmental and climate change communication, and agricultural law. We have a collaborative and friendly working environment. Dr. Sapkota has an environmental microbiology lab in the School of Public Health. The work will include sampling trips, water, soil, and produce processing in the lab, and some office work.

University of Maryland

College Park, MD // Supervisor: Masoud Negahban-Azar

Position Description: The intern will gain hands on experience in geospatial data collection and analysis. He/she will help with the data collection and processing and will work in developing the GIS platform of alternative water sources for agricultural irrigation. The intern will be exposed to large-scale hydrological modeling and optimization techniques. He/she will also be part of a team developing decision support systems for water reuse in agriculture.

About the Lab: In Water Security and Sustainability Lab at UMD, we explore different aspects of water resources planning and management. Our research focuses on holistically examining water systems at different scales, focusing on the interfaces that exist between natural and built environment that affect water quality and availability. In our lab, we use laboratory-scale experiments, field-scale demonstrations, and analytic model-oriented frameworks. Our ultimate goal is to provide decision-makers with the tools they need to secure the resilience and sustainability of water systems.

University of Maryland Eastern Shore

Easton, MD // Supervisor: Fawzy Hashem

Position Description: The intern will work closely with the UMES CONSERVE team. The intern will aid in the characterization of positive isolates for phenotypic and genotypic properties, isolated from CONSERVE Objective 1b surface and reclaimed wastewater samples over the past 2 years. The intern will be trained in advanced microbiological and molecular techniques. In addition, the student selected for this position will have the opportunity to learn how to translate complex scientific information to growers and other scientists during field days, workshops, and training sessions; and present his/her research findings at local and national meetings.

About the Lab: As a team, we are the building blocks of the UMES Food Safety Center of Excellence and constitute a major member of UMES Chesapeake Bay Water Quality Center.  Our research focuses on food safety of fresh produce, poultry, and seafood. Our laboratories are well-equipped with the state-of-the art instruments and facilities.  Currently, the UMES College of Agriculture and Natural Sciences employs about two dozen faculty members who conduct research in agriculture and related sciences including Agricultural and Environmental Microbiology, Water and Soil Quality, Entomology, Integrated Pest Management, Plant Pathology, Soil and Crop science, etc. UMES has two research farms (700 and 500 acres) used mainly for field experiments, on-farm trials, education, and outreach activities. Research topics include food safety within the context of irrigation water quality, irrigation water treatments, surface water quality in rivers, lakes and streams, bonds, and the wastewater industry including wash water. The UMES Water Quality and Food Safety Centers are microbiology- and chemically-based laboratories that perform field water sample collection and analysis using current high quality microbiological and chemical techniques in both cultural and molecular science.

USDA Agricultural Research Service

Beltsville, MD // Supervisor: Manan Sharma

Position Description: The intern will perform standard microbiology and molecular biology and laboratory tasks in support of examining the effect of on-farm disinfection technologies for irrigation water. The student may need to travel to several CONSERVE sites for field trials and may be involved in growth chamber trials as well. The student will assist in evaluating water treatment technology (sand, zero-valent iron filtration of irrigation water), carrying out standard microbiology recovery of bacterial foodborne pathogens (Salmonella spp. E. coli, Listeria monocytogenes), and using molecular biology detection techniques (Polymerase chain reaction, immunomagnetic separation of pathogen) from filtered waters. The intern will also be responsible for constructing and setting up ZVI filters in the laboratory and on the farm. This will include different filter designs with different combinations of sand and iron appropriate for different water types that are being analyzed. Overall, this position will provide exposure to environmental, food, and molecular biology techniques to the intern. This position requires the ability to execute tasks independently, record data and procedures, and communicate effectively and respectfully with colleagues from different educational and cultural backgrounds. This position is only open to U.S. citizens.

About the Lab: Our laboratory investigates a broad array of topics and issues related to the persistence and population dynamics of enteric bacterial pathogens in pre-harvest environments, including irrigation water and biological soil amendments. Our laboratory uses a variety of environmental and food microbiology methods to detect enteric pathogens (enterohemorrhagic E. coli (EHEC), Salmonella spp. and Listeria monocytogenes) in surface and reclaimed wastewaters. We use traditional and real time PCR (Polymerase Chain Reaction) methods to determine and confirm the presence of these pathogens in surface waters. Our work also looks at next-generation water filtration technologies, like zero-valent iron filtration (ZVI), that has been shown to reduce bacterial contamination in contaminated surface waters. Our goal is to design and evaluate a filter that can be easily implementable for small farms that may need a simple, cost-effective and efficient filtration system to comply with irrigation water standards from various regulatory and commodity group associations.