Posted on Friday, September 13, 2013
Andrew Creary '14 held a summer internship with the Monroe County Department of Environmental Services (DES) in Rochester, N.Y., where he ran bacteriology tests in an effort to help reduce pollution in the environment.
DES is comprised of five divisions: Pure Waters, Solid Waste, Geographic Information Systems, Engineering and Facilities Management and Fleet Maintenance. Its mission is to protect Monroe County from pollution, whether it's in the water or on land.
In the lab, Creary says he had several key responsibilities. Typically, he would receive samples from various locations around the county, run tests, compile data for reports, and distribute results to designated recipients.
"Over the course of the summer, I have learned an incredible amount about what goes into keeping our environment as clean as possible," says Creary, a double major in biology and environmental studies. "Moving forward, I know that I have the skills necessary to go into whatever field I finally decide on and handle every obstacle that comes at me."
At DES, Creary's additional duties included assisting a biologist who was running real-time polymerase chain reactions to see if bacteria can be quantified using the method. In addition, he aided in the DES Solid Waste lab where he worked to quantify the amount of industrial waste released into the environment so offenders can be identified. He also was an aide for Manual Wet Chem, helping to prepare lab control standards for chlorine residual tests and test for chlorine content. Creary also helped to run bioavailable oxygen demand tests and set up total phosphorous tests.
"I can wholeheartedly say that my classes prepared me for this internship," says Creary.
A microbiology class with Assistant Professor of Biology Patricia Mowery and a course on environment and development in East Asia taught by Associate Professor of Environmental Studies Darrin Magee both were especially helpful for his internship, Creary says. "Without the dedicated faculty at HWS, I would have never had the skills required to work in a lab," he says.
At HWS, Creary is a brother of Phi Sigma Kappa, which he says boosted his self-confidence and developed his leadership abilities, working as the New Member Educator for the fraternity. Creary says one of his goals is to enroll in graduate school.
"Regardless of what I choose to do in the future, this internship allowed me to get some hands-on experience, and I loved every minute of it," he says.