Katie Kumta ’21 is interning with the New York State Department for Environmental Conservation this summer.
In the position, Kumta is responsible for conducting field and lab ecotoxicology work. “I’m mainly monitoring bird development in areas with PFAS (man-made chemical) contamination, as well as doing aquatic invertebrate and fish sampling and identifying, mainly to check on the biodiversity and abundance of various lakes that have had copper treatments,” she says. “This is an aquatic herbicide used mainly to kill algae for aesthetic purposes, but can have a detrimental effect on aquatic wildlife in large amounts.”
As a biology major, Kumta believes that her time in HWS labs have given her experience in “collecting, organizing and analyzing data” and taught her to “think like a biologist,” two skills that are integral to her success in this internship.
She says that the practical field and lab work experience will be invaluable. “This experience will be very helpful when I’m applying for jobs or entering the work force. It is also giving me the opportunity to make some great connections,” she says.
The Salisbury Center for Career, Profession and Experiential Education was an essential resource during her application process. “The networking and interviewing seminars were great preparation,” she says. “Due to COVID-19, I found this internship after the Guaranteed Internship deadline for funding, but Career Services was extremely flexible and helped me apply and receive funding to make it possible.”
At Hobart and William Smith, Kumta is also pursuing a minor in dance. She is a member of the Three Miles Lost a cappella group and the Koshare Dance Collective.