Monday, November 10, 2014

Interning at Save The Harbor/ Save the Bay !

Hi! I am Mehar Kaur, the Environmental/Policy intern at Save the Harbor/Save the Bay (STH/STB). I am an international student from India and have only recently moved to Boston to pursue a master’s in environmental heath engineering at Tufts University, Medford.

I learnt about STH/STB through my roomate with whom I went on STH/STB's Spectacle Island Cruise. As a nature enthusiast and a previous intern at the Center for Environmental Education, New Delhi, India, I provided literature on the use of biomimicry to gain access to clean drinking water. At Tufts, I reviewed literature for interventions to help overcome diarrheal-linked malnutrition in children.

To better integrate with Boston city and to continue my interest in environmental health and education, I have become part of STH/STB. As an intern, I am modeling tidal data to more accurately represent the level of Enterococcus in the Boston beaches. Currently beach flagging depends on previous days Enterococcus data, which is not an accurate representation of the water quality. By understanding the relationship between variables including rain, wind and tidal height and the level of Enterococcus, I aim to present a real-time model of water quality testing and subsequent beach flagging.

At STH/STB I am able to further my interest in volunteer work by helping organize various free programs for underprivileged communities in Boston. This is a personally fulfilling experience as I am able to help diverse groups have an educationally enriched experience. In return I get to connect with the city by learning about the diverse communities that make up Boston.     

Here at STH/STB, I have the opportunity to meet with various professionals and learn about their field of work and their contribution to our environment. Last week I attended a presentation by Dr. Wallace J. Nichols on his book, Blue Mind. This presentation resonated with me on various levels and has steered me towards a more holistic view of science. As a future scientist, if my work does not connect with individuals, various societies and/or with policy makers, it is of very little value. At the presentation Dr. Wallace related to all of us at a personal level by helping us understand our emotional connection to water and why increasing scientific data should be focused on explaining our innate relationship with water. Such findings will subsequently allow individuals and societies to better understand themselves.

After the presentation, I was eager to read the book and learn about all the different emotional, social and economic ways in which we connect with water. I will further elaborate on Dr. Wallace’s presentation and his book, Blue Mind in my next blog. Until then, in Dr. Wallace’s words, I Wish You Water!

- Mehar Kaur

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