Brigit Humphreys ’21 is interning this summer with the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service in Great Falls, Mont. There, she helps protect and support local wildlife.
Humphreys is one of 200 Hamilton students conducting research or completing an internship supported by the College this summer. Her internship is supported by The Richard and Patsy Couper Grant.
What is the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service?
The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service is an agency of the United States federal government within the U.S. Department of the Interior that is dedicated to the protection and management of fish, wildlife, plants, and their natural habitat for the continuing benefit of the American people. Their duties include protecting endangered species, restoring wildlife habitat, and enforcing federal wildlife laws.
What are your responsibilities?
I’m working on Benton Lake National Wildlife Refuge in Montana … My primary job responsibility has been collecting samples on the refuge to be processed and tested for selenium toxicity concentrations, which has been a problem on the refuge in the past and can cause embryonic deformities, poor reproduction, and embryonic death in waterfowl. We do this by collecting eggs from waterfowl nests, collecting water samples from the wetland areas, collecting aquatic invertebrates to investigate possible effects of biomagnification, and collecting wetland sediment cores.
Hometown: Sherman, Conn.
High School: New Milford High School
Other duties that I have performed for the refuge include Native Prairie Adaptive Management (NPAM) vegetation surveys, breeding waterfowl pairs surveys, and waterfowl species counts in order to calculate the refuge’s species composition and track how it is changing over time.
How has your general experience with your internship been?
... I love the work that we do and I feel lucky every day to be contributing to the conservation of our nation's valuable natural resources in such a fun and enjoyable way. There are not many jobs where you get to spend your day riding around on an ATV and paddling around in a canoe out in the sunshine every day.
What’s been the most rewarding aspect of your internship?
The most rewarding part is working hard outdoors with some really great people who share the same goal as me of protecting the wildlife and their valuable habitat. The variety of work we do is very exciting, and I am always satisfied after a long day in the field.
What are your future plans/aspirations?
I want my career to involve some sort of field research ecology with either plants or animals. Having a permanent job with the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service would be very cool.
Anything else you want readers to know about you or your work?
I just want to encourage others to take advantage of their summers and Hamilton’s incredible Internship Funding Program to get an internship that involves living in a new place away from home, because you will have new and unforgettable experiences that will teach you so much.