My name is Kathleen Nguyen, and I am currently a chemistry student at San Diego Miramar College and San Diego Mesa College. With the internship opportunity for the Disturbance Hydrology Lab led by Dr. Kinoshita, I was excited about the field work because I enjoy the great outdoors of San Diego and working on hands-on activities. Not only that, it was intriguing to learn more about the impacts of the California fires and seeing the vegetation and wildlife in Alvarado Creek. I have only worked with lab techniques in a chemistry setting, but working with the field equipment has increased my competence in my hands-on skills and knowledge on the field of civil engineering.
As I am still growing as a student, I found the techniques and experiences of the Disturbance Hydrology Lab to be helpful in my academic career. Chemistry and civil engineering may be different disciplines, but they have similar methods to calculate and measure data. I have learned how to infiltrate water to observe Alvarado Creek’s soil water movement and rates, and analyzed field data with Excel for surveying. Data measured and collected from surveying was used to observe the land properties and vegetative state of Alvarado Creek. I have participated in stream gauging and pebble counts to understand collect information on stream processes.
The internship activities have taught me about how diverse and inclusive civil engineering is, and I am intrigued with the hydrology aspect of it. Learning more about the different kinds of methods and techniques used in civil engineering has broadened my perspective on the kinds of careers that I am interested in going into and how it resonates with the field of chemistry.
The hands-on experiences done with the Disturbance Hydrology Lab have enhanced my skills and confidence in the laboratory, and have geared me towards my future endeavors in the STEM industry. Despite the limited activities that could be performed during the COVID pandemic, I still had an amazing experience with the Disturbance Hydrology Lab. The Disturbance Hydrology Lab team are supportive and positive mentors. I enjoyed both the field work and working with them, and I have gained skills that will last me a life time not only academically, but skills that foster both communication and listening skills.