Evan Marquardt ’20, Performs Snorkel Surveys of the Tucannon River at the Confederated Tribes of the Umatilla Indian Reservation in Pendelton, OR.

Hello again, Evan Marquardt here, I’m back to give an update on my internship with the Confederated Tribes of the Umatilla Indian Reservation and Walla Walla Community College. My last update largely focused on my individual project so I’ll start there.  

As you may or may not remember, I have been working on a project assessing a connection between habitat and species diversity, specifically fish and benthic macroinvertebrates. I performed snorkel surveys of the Tucannon River as well as collected samples of insects that lived in the river. I completed identifications of those insects and have begun my thesis summarizing my data.

Through this process I have discovered flaws in both my collection methods and identifications. My supervisors at the Community College and my thesis advisor at Whitman have diverging opinions about the level of scientific rigor required in my identifications and we are working on a compromise. Ultimately though, I will need to redo much of my collection and identification work. I’m frustrated that I didn’t learn of my errors earlier or had more direction in the planning and execution of my research but I am using this as an opportunity for growth. Since I have been writing my thesis in small segments each week, I have had lots of time to make myself useful in the Water and Environment Center’s lab in numerous ways. 

I have been working Tuesdays and Thursdays at the lab doing a myriad of odd jobs. Tasks range from inventory, to feeding fish, to feeding lamprey, to cleaning, to constructing a new aquatic system, to fish tank maintenance. My two staple tasks are to feed the lamprey each week and help with the construction of a new aquatic system.

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Experiences like Evan’s are made possible by the Whitman Internship Grant, which provides funding for students to participate in unpaid internships at both for-profit and non-profit organizations. To learn how you could secure a Whitman Internship Grant or host a Whitman intern at your organization, click here or contact Assistant Director for Internship Programs Mitzy Rodriguez

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