The Student-Run Newspaper of Townsend Harris High School at Queens College

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The Student-Run Newspaper of Townsend Harris High School at Queens College

The Classic

The Student-Run Newspaper of Townsend Harris High School at Queens College

The Classic

Harrisites participate in field biology internships at Alley Pond

Harrisites+participate+in+field+biology+internships+at+Alley+Pond
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Every year, Harrisites partake in a plethora of STEM geared summer programs. One program on this list is the Field Biology Internship (FBI) at Alley Pond Environmental Center.

The FBI is geared towards students interested in learning skills regarding local ecosystems and life. The program guides students in creating and carrying out experiments.

Designed for high schoolers, the internship gives participants experience in field research and experimental design, which are crucial skills for STEM-focused careers. The application process includes an online application and a virtual interview. The program takes place in the fall, spring, and summer, and it consists of six classes. The program is summed up by a final presentation on an environmental topic of choice. 

Senior Parisa Alam, a member of the Field Biology Internship, said, “My experience there has been great, and I actually find it to be very refreshing […] It really conditions you to think like an ornithologist, or an arborist, or a phrenologist, or whatever you end up doing that day because you genuinely learn so much in such a short amount of time.”

Participants have the opportunity to work with a mentor, one of the more appealing aspects of the internship. Senior Amy Jiang said she worked with many different high schoolers, mentors, and “professionals from different environmental careers, such as engineers [who would] talk to us about their educational and career journey.” 

The culmination of this internship was the final project based on a biology topic of each participant’s choosing. Amy said, “I did my research project on PFAS contamination in the US with Carolina Corcuera (Science & Technology Editor), where we looked at what PFAs are, where they come from, its impact on people and wildlife, and possible solutions.” Parisa, who is currently working on her project, intends to research “the role of Ailanthus altissima, or the Tree of Heaven in New York’s ecology.” 

All the participants agree that the Alley Pond Field Biology Internship is a helpful, educational, and beneficial experience.

Amy said, “I gained a lot of knowledge of different career paths in the field and the different ways these environmental issues relate to our everyday lives.” She said that the opportunity to  “utilize the natural spaces of Alley Pond Park to collect data and learn,” stood out to her.

Parisa said, “I think I have gained a lot more awareness of what inhabits my local environment, in addition to what it looked like in the past.” She shared that her favorite thing was “swinging for marine organisms at the Northern shore of Queens, since it was my first time seeing a skilletfish.” 

Both Amy and Parisa recommended that underclassmen participate in this program in the future. ​​Parisa describes the internship as “a great prospect for those who want to understand opportunities in environmental studies (especially on a local scale).” She said that the program might not be for everyone, “but it can be an exceptional learning experience if you want it to be.”

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