Fields and Forests
Biology Major Monitors Michigan Wildlife
Keeping tabs on sensitive species was the highlight of
Maille O’Toole’s internship. A senior who’s studying fisheries and wildlife biology, O’Toole interned with the Wildlife Department of the U.S. Forest Service, in Michigan’s Manistee National Forest.
There she worked alongside wildlife technicians to survey and monitor a number of federally classified sensitive species, including birds such as the goshawk, red-shouldered hawk, Louisiana waterthrush, cerulean warbler and piping plover.
She also monitored box turtles, wood turtles, spotted turtles and massasauga rattlesnakes.
“I got the chance to use a variety of equipment, such as a radio telemetry device to locate animals and track their movements,” she says. “We were out in the field every day working on something new.”
O’Toole spent time at savannah restoration sites, where sections of land were reseeded with native grasses. Her group dug holes and installed nearly 50 barrier posts between three sites to stop any motorized vehicles from entering. They also planted milkweed to encourage monarch butterflies to lay eggs in the area.
O’Toole received academic credits, housing and a weekly stipend for her work.
“My experiences with the Forest Service will really advance my resume,” she says. “The skills I acquired are priceless.”
O’Toole’s summer internship continues a relationship with Cal U started almost 15 years ago by Dr. Carol Bocetti, a professor in
Cal U’s Department of Biology, Geology and Environmental Sciences.
“They (Forest Service officials) report that our students are well prepared for field work and are highly motivated to build additional professional skills,” Bocetti says. “It has been a very good relationship for both forests and for Cal U.”
A native of Venetia, Pa., and vice president of the Cal U equestrian team, O’Toole transferred to California after earning an associate degree from Potomac State College.
“I love the classes here, although they are rigorous,” she says.
“I am so grateful to Dr. Bocetti for helping me with my transition to Cal U, and setting this internship up for me.
“I feel much more prepared for starting my career thanks to her and this internship.”
Supply Chain Partner
Business major drills down on data
Better business through better collaborations. Marc Gibson, a business administration major with a concentration in economics and minor in computer science, interned remotely to help SAB Ariba achieve just that.
SAP Ariba is a procurement and supply chain collaboration solution that connects suppliers and other trading partners around the world. Gibson gained experience in the company’s critical incident engagement area.
“It’s basically high-level customer support, where my team triages our clients’ very time-sensitive problems and gets them sent to the appropriate people to be solved,” he explains.
“This requires considerable knowledge, which is why I did a lot of shadowing with co-workers on Skype, sharing the screen so I could watch them triage service requests and ask any questions that I might have.”
Gibson also gained experience with Microsoft Power BI software, which can be used to generate reports to ensure teams meet performance goals.
“Once in there I analyzed it and created visuals such as bar graphs, pie charts and matrix tables that drill down on the data,” he says.
“I made my presentation to my boss’s boss and other project leads, which is kind of a big deal because it put me in front of some very high-level people at Ariba.”
Gibson found a Cal U network at the company, including supervisor Josh Dvorchak ’05, Alan Natali ’74, ’79 and Bob Buttermore ’89.
“There are several Cal U alumni at SAP Ariba who are very successful, which reflects on how the school prepares its students for successful careers,” Gibson says.
“I think that Cal U is a great school. Many of my professors have always gone out of their way to be helpful. This internship will definitely positively impact me.”
English major sees her words in print
Hannah Wyman has quite a resume.
The University Honors Program student is an English major with a minor in women’s studies, news editor for the Cal Times, a peer mentor, and a member of the Student Activities Board and Alpha Lambda Delta.
She has also completed an internship with the Erie Reader, a weekly alternative newspaper focused on art, culture and news.
Writing mostly from home, like many professional journalists, Wyman had dozens of stories published this summer, many about the COVID-19 pandemic. She also covered protests in Erie following the death of George Floyd in Minneapolis.
Her interview subjects included a man who started a petition seeking to remove an Erie police officer after a video of an alleged assault during a peaceful protest went viral, and a person who started a GoFundMe page for a protester who was arrested.
“I enjoyed … covering the local impacts and how people come together for these efforts,” Wyman says. “It’s been moving seeing people step up and help each other out.
“This internship gave me the chance to talk to so many people I never would have talked to.”
Wyman brought her community-oriented experience back to the Cal Times student newspaper, which publishes online at caltimes.org. She hopes to continue community coverage once face-to-face instruction resumes on campus.
Journalism professor Dr. Debbie Goh is not surprised by Wyman’s success.
“Even with the most basic assignment … she will look for ways to present her stories so that they will be meaningful and engaging to her readers.
“In the current climate, where the news industry is facing so many threats, it is heartening to have a student like Hannah, who is passionate and dedicated to pursuing impactful journalism.”