Grants give Adams State students experience

(06-19-2012)

Adams State University is providing new experiential learning opportunities for its students, thanks to new grants and agreements.

Prep for natural resources careers

Three students are conducting research as part of summer internships with Bureau of Land Management (BLM) offices in the San Luis Valley, funded by a new, five-year cooperative agreement with the Department of the Interior.

"We hope to grow to five internships each year. The agreement is renewable beyond five years," said Dr. Benita Brink, chair of the Department of Biology and Earth Sciences and project director. "The Department of the Interior and the BLM created the internships to help students gain management experience for careers concerned with the environment or natural resources. This not only helps the students, but also builds a better educated future workforce to manage the public lands."

She said the projected total budget is $150,000, depending on BLM funding. This year, $26,500 was awarded to fund student salaries for the full-time, 13-week internships. They are required to conduct a research project and present their findings; they also earn three credits in independent study.

Biology major Hannah Ortega is working on range management and conservation in the BLM's Saguache office. History/government major Dan Dellosso is conducting archaeological work through the La Jara office, while Brianna Boyd, a physical geography major, is working on heritage and archaeology projects with the Monte Vista office.

Brianna Boyd, an Adams State physical geography major, displays a piece of mammoth tooth discovered at the Villa Grove Mammoth site last year. That site and others will be investigated by Adams State students this summer, while Boyd completes an internship with the Bureau of Land Management.

Geoarchaeology with Denver Museum

Several earth sciences and anthropology students are seeking evidence of the first humans that arrived in North America, through a research grant from the Denver Museum of Nature and Science.

Directed by Dr. Jared Beeton, associate professor of earth sciences and a research associate with the museum, the group is conducting geoarchaelogical research at four different Valley locations, including the Villa Grove Mammoth Site, Magna Site, and the Mr. Peat Site. They are evaluating the potential for early human (pre-Clovis) cultural deposits, with a final report to be submitted by the end of November.

By Julie Waechter