Theresa Brehm

Erosion and Sediment Control Inspector Intern at USDA NRCS


Name: Theresa Brehm

Major: Global Resource Systems, Agronomy

Year: 2nd Year Junior

Hometown/State: Durango, IA

Company/Organization: USDA – NRCS

Title: Erosion and Sediment Control Inspector Intern

Location: Dubuque, IA

Describe your internship responsibilities:  I was responsible for ensuring erosion control measures were being carried out on both urban construction sites and rural agricultural projects within the Catfish Creek watershed.  Through this, I worked on a regrading of a streambank in the Catfish Creek watershed, as well as doing my own personal project of improving community knowledge and involvement of the preservation of the Cloie Creek watershed.  This entailed weekly water sampling and analysis as well as creating a brochure about the watershed to spark community interest and involvement.

What did you enjoy most about this internship?  While I was working on projects in the agricultural sector of the watershed, I was able to learn about GIS software and how to use it.  I was a large factor of bringing in the Agricultural Conservation Planning Framework (ACPF) toolbox, software that pinpoints areas of focus for conservation projects in a watershed, for ArcGIS to the Dubuque Natural Resource Conservation Services community.

How has this experience impacted your future career plans?  I have realized that I definitely would like to work with people in the field of agriculture, not necessarily much in terms of an urban construction setting.  While I enjoyed my time with local contractors, I think my skills and passions can be used more effectively in the agricultural field, particularly in reference to my passion for global food security and the worldwide issues associated with that.

What resources did you utilize to obtain this internship?  I spoke with Mike Gaul of the Career Services Office frequently, and I personally reached out to people from my local community regarding potential jobs in agricultural conservation.  This position was made available through networking and expressing a deep interest in my field of study.

What advice would you offer to other students seeking similar internships?  Allow yourself to be passionate about what you love, and be open to trying something outside of your comfort zone.  You never know if you will love something or hate it until you try, and everything you do is a learning experience.  Take advantage of your resources on campus like the Career Services Office and the Career Fairs during the fall and spring, because those people are there for you. You hold the power and the ability to fill the job or internship they have available for you.  Be confident in what you know and open to learning new things.

Area of Expertise: 
Global Resource Systems