8 June 2021 • ResearchSTEM Smith '21 Lands Policy Internship on Capitol Hill

Graduating magna cum laude in biology with a minor in economics, Amelia Smith ’21 has landed an internship with the House of Representatives Committee on Natural Resources, where she hopes to affect environmental policy on Capitol Hill.

Amelia Smith ’21 has landed a summer internship at the House of Representatives Committee on Natural Resources. Charged with advancing the interests of the indigenous peoples and residents of the United States, the committee considers legislation and oversees federal conservation and species protection programs.

Passionate about water related conservation and preserving biodiversity in freshwater and marine ecosystems, the internship is one more stop on Smith’s journey to “bridge the gap between water related research and scientific communication through environmental policy, and community outreach and education,” she says.

A significant area of focus for the Committee on Natural Resources is the protection of water, oceans and wildlife. Smith brings her experience and research insights from her last internship at Woods Hole Oceanographic Institute (WHOI) to her role. Her work with the institute culminated in May 2021, with the joint-publication of research in the journal Invertebrate Biology.

Smith’s co-authors on the study are assistant scientist at WHOI Kirsten Meyer-Kaiser and Thomas Soltwedel, a scientist at Alfred Wegener Institute Helmholtz Center for Polar and Marine Research. Both are experts in early-life history of invertebrates and deep-sea biology. Their article is titled “Ontogenetic development of the crinoid Poliometra prolixa in the Arctic deep sea.”

Poliometra prolixa is a common species of comatulid crinoid in the Arctic deep sea. In this study, we characterize the ontogenetic development through the cystidean and pentacrinoid stages, using specimens from the LTER (Long-Term Ecological Research),” their abstract states. “We discuss the reproductive and ecological niche of P. prolixa and also consider the question of whether cystidean and pentacrinoid stages undergo metamorphosis.” Read the full abstract here.

At HWS, Smith’s Honors research project, “Investigating Lake Trout Diet in the Finger Lakes,” focused on the native and economically and recreationally significant Lake Trout. A declining population, Smith’s research focused on assessing potential differences in food web interactions.

On campus, Smith was a member of the Laurel Society, an O’Laughlin Ambassador in the Admissions Office, a Centennial Scholar through the HWS Leads Program, and a member and tour manager for Chorale and Cantori. She also held a position as a research assistant at HWS’ Finger Lakes Institute.