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For many college students, summer is time to find a job where they can earn extra money to pay tuition and gain valuable experience for post-graduation plans. Lyndsay E. Belt '08, of Potsdam, NY, however, found something more.

Belt, a 2004 graduate of Potsdam Central School, has accepted an offer from the Student Conservation Association (SCA) to work as an intern in Yellowstone National Park located in northern Wyoming this summer, beginning right after her spring semester at the University. She was awarded an internship fellowship by the Career Services and Leadership Education office to assist with expenses.

Belt is also blogging about her experiences through the summer.

A biology major with a minor in sports studies and exercise science, Belt says she was looking for an opportunity to put her studies to use and a chance for a summer experience that she would never forget.

"I wanted the chance to contribute to the conservation of native species of Yellowstone National Park," Belt says. "I also wanted to experience an environment outside of New York State. I plan on taking time off between college and graduate school and field experience will help me get a job as a lab technician," Belt added.

The SCA is a nationwide organization that hires high school and college volunteers who are committed to protecting and preserving the environment. Students who work for the SCA are able to experience internship opportunities in conservation and wildlife management, and participate in all disciplines of conservation.

Belt is a member of the St. Lawrence swim team and secretary of the biology honorary society. In addition, she has a campus job in the University communications office. She has also participated in marine biology research in the Bahamas, traveling to San Salvador in the summer of 2006 with Associate Professor of Biology Brad Baldwin's marine ecology class. In the Bahamas, students researched the health of coral reefs and the population ecology of three important reef species.

"The best way to learn about something is to see it, touch it, and work with it," Belt says, indicating that this was an opportunity to pursue goals that would help further her desire to engage in conservation biology research. "You learn so much more when you're interacting with your subject of study than just reading about it in a book."

Posted: May 25, 2007

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