USF Student Carries Out Prestigious Internship Deep in the Everglades
Krista Gutierrez, a first-generation student, is one of three people selected from an international group of applicants for the internship.
TAMPA, Fla. (July 14, 2016) – Krista Gutierrez, who recently graduated from the University of South Florida with a bachelor’s degree in geology, is one of a select few from around the world chosen to participate in the 2016 Arthur R. Marshall Foundation’s “Everglades Summer Intern Program.” During the 10-week internship, Gutierrez is studying plant and animal ecology through hands-on experiences while learning about the realities of Florida Everglades restoration programs.
For Gutierrez, a first generation Mexican-American born in in Pahokee, Fla. who grew up in South Bay and Clewiston near Lake Okeechobee, the internship is a bit of a homecoming to an area of South Florida she says has captivated her since childhood. Gutierrez is one of just three students selected for the internship.
“I pursued this internship for the sole reason of what the Arthur R. Marshal Foundation stands for,” said Gutierrez. “I truly believe in the Everglades, not only from an ecological standpoint, but also as a resident of South Florida. Finding the balance between what’s environmentally and economically right is definitely a challenge. I’m proud to be part of this wonderful program. My undergraduate work in geology at USF prepared me for this, and I thank my wonderful professors for that.”
Gutierrez says her parents, agricultural workers who never had the opportunity to graduate from high school, worked hard to provide her with the opportunity of getting a college degree. As she was earning her bachelor’s in geology, she attended summer field camps in Florida, Georgia and South Carolina studying coastal areas, hydrology and sinkholes.
Part of the satisfaction in carrying out the Marshall internship, she said, was getting to meet people involved in Everglades restoration, including professors, professionals and members of organizations working on those efforts.
“I feel that I am now a true steward of the Everglades,” she said.
Her internship ends July 28. In the fall, Gutierrez will begin her master’s degree program at USF in global sustainability with a focus on water issues. Her career goal is to work as a researcher for the U.S. Geological Survey.