Student Profile: Valerie

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Photograph of ValerieEnvironmental Specialist

Major: Animal Ecology

Protecting Missouri Watersheds
As an Environmental Specialist in the Watershed Protection Section for the Missouri Department of Natural Resources, I am the technical and ecological support for the state’s federally funded (EPA) Clean Water Act – Section 319 nonpoint source pollution water quality grants. I am the technical lead on agricultural and wetland grants, as well as programmatic reporting software systems.

All in a Day's Work
My typical day at work is to assist grant recipients with any and all parts of their grant. These tasks range from day to day including reviewing technical documents, public service announcements, and educational workbooks, helping recipients follow federal guidelines, conducting field visits, attending meetings, and writing reports for EPA’s review and approval.

A Winning Combination
Working with my major professor in NREM, Dr. Timothy Stewart, I was able to mesh my interests in water quality, macroinvertebrates, and wetland ecosystems together. I gained knowledge of other ecosystems through courses and volunteer field research. All of these experiences gave me insight into the research world and kept me up-to-date with current wetland issues, thereby preparing me to assist my grant recipients and coworkers.

Collaboration and Variety
The best part of my job is working with concerned citizens and watershed groups in Missouri. Together we strive to improve water quality, and therefore, life in our state. I meet a variety of people working toward the same goals, each in their own way. I enjoy the great variety of grants I manage. The grants range in focus from educational to assessment and monitoring of water quality. Some focus on implementing Best Management Practices, and these cover a range of settings including urban areas with green infrastructure and practices.