Every year, the Environmental Protection Agency holds a contest inviting thousands of sophomore undergrads to vie for a chance to work side-by-side with scientists researching an environmental topic of their choice.
Students get to choose a topic to study, choose a state to study in and get paid to do the work.
They also get $50,000 toward their college tuition.
George Grant is one of those students.
Grant, a sophomore double majoring in biology and geology, was one of only 40 students chosen nationwide for this research project.
“The application process was extensive and a lot of work,” Grant said. “I had to write multiple essays about my future goals, achievements and interests. But it was all worth it.”
Professors Cynthia Moulton and Tim Grover introduced the project to Grant, knowing his interests and qualifications would make him a prime candidate.
“I never could have pulled this off without Moulton and Grover. They encouraged me to take this chance,” Grant said.
Grant will be spending 12 weeks in the state of his choice researching the effects of degradation on different bodies of water. Alaska is Grant’s first choice because of personal interests and the wide variety of natural watershed. Alaska has “pristine water and highly degraded water, perfect for research data,” Grant said.
The data Grant pulls will be analyzed by the EPA and could lead to action depending on the results.
Not only is this project going to be contributing to environmental conservation, it is also helping Grant pay for school, a huge bonus in the current economy.
“Money has always been a stress factor. Getting this has allowed me to relax a little, to focus more on school. Also, I got to cut back my hours at my shitty job,” Grant said laughing.
The project will fund his travel expenses to and from his destination and pay him for his time and work. The only thing Grant will be paying for are his living arrangements and provisions.
“I might find a cheap apartment or maybe just camp out for the summer,” he said. “Either way, this is going to be the best experience. I’m making a difference and doing exactly what I love.”