It’s hard to say if it was the hands-on curriculum or the outstanding natural beauty surrounding Colorado Mountain College Leadville that inspired Sarah Snarski to pursue an environmental career. More than likely, it was the experience Snarski gained as a Natural Resource Management Field Technician that led to her current position as a Hydrotech for the United States Geological Survey (USGS) – but the stunning scenery in Leadville sure helped.
Sarah Snarski graduated from the Natural Resource Management (NRM) program at Colorado Mountain College earlier this year, in Spring 2016. After graduating, Sarah returned to Michigan to pursue an internship with USGS. An NRM faculty member and former Hydrologist for USGS introduced Sarah to her connections, laying the groundwork for the beginnings of a developing environmental career. Through the USGS Pathways Internship program, this summer internship was converted into a full-time position.
Her experience as an NRM Field Technician exposed her to a variety of applicable skills. During her time at Colorado Mountain College Leadville, she learned to calibrate equipment, take discharge measurements, and collect water samples; skills that prepared her for current position with USGS.
“The hands-on experience is the main reason I chose Colorado Mountain College Leadville.” said Snarski, “The NRM internships offer ample opportunities to get you out in the field and able to make a difference. The internship allows students to work with the community, the EPA, CPW, USGS, and many other entities.”
As a hydrotech Snarski now collects water samples from storm events and maintains USGS gauge houses. She, like many other environmental grads, hopes to make a difference.
“The most rewarding part about my job is being able to be outside, in the environment, working on projects with the USGS that make an impact on bigger things, beyond me.” said Snarski, “I’m working on a project right now looking at phosphorus and nitrogen levels in agricultural fields and how they might have an effect on algae bloom in the Great Lakes.”
Snarski’s concern for the environment and desire to make a difference is what drives her passion, but it was Colorado Mountain College that helped deliver her goals.
“The instructors really enhanced my college experience,” said Snarski, “and the internship gave me the experience I needed. If you love the outdoors and are looking to make a positive impact on our environment, the NRM program in Leadville is unlike any other.”