Trinity One Internships
Trinity One is very pleased to be able to provide summer internships to students working in sustainability. Several of our students are currrently working on exciting projects both on and off campus. Read about their work here.
It is one thing to hear in the news or read in a textbook about the trash in our oceans, but another thing altogether to pick microplastics out of a sediment sample from the Pacific Ocean. Through my research with Professor Chelsea Rochman this summer, I have gained a more concrete grasp of the concepts I learned about in Trinity One this past year. The endless news about pollution adds to a sense of despair and helplessness in the face of climate catastrophe. However, the opportunity to research an aspect of the catastrophe this summer has been an empowering experience. Because of research conducted in Rochman Lab, the level of concern for microplastics in San Francisco Bay was elevated from minimum to moderate concern. Additionally, awareness around microplastics has become mainstream due in part to the research made by this lab. Last week, I received a call from my parents – they had heard about the microplastics issue in Monterey Bay (the very region I am researching this summer—about two hours south of San Francisco Bay) on NPR. The same week, Greta Thunberg posted on Facebook about the same issue. Because of this research experience, I have realized that I would like to pursue environmental policy, working to bridge the gap between policy and environmental research. What the world needs right now is scientifically-educated policymakers, so important work like that being done at Rochman Lab can be funded and significantly shape policy.
I was given a position as a research assistant for Patrick Moldowan, a PhD student, working at Algonquin Park. In 2019, the non-profit Algonquin Wildlife Research Station (est. 1944) is celebrating 75-years of wildlife research and conservation, student training in the natural sciences, and outdoor education. The AWRS and its users serve as stewards of a 7,700-hectare wilderness area. The facility hosts many long-term ecological studies of flora and fauna, which have provided invaluable baseline information for the protection of lands, waters, and their inhabitants. As an assistant, I traveled up to Algonquin Provincial Park for the month of May to help with data collection and to further enhance his project. This opportunity allowed me to get hands-on experience in the field of Ecology and Evolutionary Biology and gave me the chance to get to know a diverse group of people in the field, all while learning more about the scientific method and the biological sciences. For the rest of the summer, I will be helping in the Rollinson Lab to continue analyzing and developing the data collected in the field. This opportunity completely opened the doors to a new realm of scientific understanding and provided me with the connections needed to further my educational career.
The Trinity One Butterfield stream has been one of the best choices I have made in my first year. Not only was it one of the more interesting courses I took in the year, but it also helped me find stability in my new University of Toronto environment. The structure and small class size of the course facilitated building relationships with professors, which was less accessible in my other courses. I was able to build a rapport and trust with my professors, and it carried over to my summer internship. I had applied to be an assistant in Professor Njal Rollinson’s lab as well as a position for data collection in the field at Algonquin Park. While at Algonquin I was able to join the other students on their daily assignments. This involved finding, measuring and helping salamanders cross the fence so they can get to the lake where they will reproduce.The salamanders are stopped by a fence built by Patrick Moldowan for the purpose of his long term study on the inventory of spotted salamanders at Bat Lake. I was also able to assist with students researching turtles. We were given recently captured painted turtles which we had to measure, weigh and record our findings. My position in the lab has involved digitizing data from old field books as well as cross-referencing information to find the first instance of nesting. Through this summer experience, I learned how broad the scope of an environmental degree is and I got to experience both field and lab work.
This summer I am involved in the Trinity One Research Internship to establish sustainable urban food systems in the GTA. This is a collective research program conducted both at Trinity College and UTSC. Through our research, we hope to raise awareness of sustainable actions and increase community engagement in the meantime. As I write about our work, we have established three experimental sites at both locations, which have shown promising results. In addition to our group project, each intern has taken on independent studies and mine focuses on the newly announced ban on single-use plastics. My project would focus on four major factors: effects of single-use plastics on humans and the environment, ways to ensure minimum job loss during the transition phase, effectiveness of a total ban and its alternatives, and implementation of the ban. By the end of this summer, I am hoping my project would provide a reference regarding reducing waste generated by single-use plastics in Canada.
Being part of the Trinity One Butterfield Environment & Sustainability Stream was a great opportunity as a first-year student. The format of the class is a seminar course that enhances participation and discussion. During this academic year, we have examined issues such as energy and resources, threats to biodiversity and how to preserve it, and climate change. As well as, how we influence the planet, ecosystems, and other living things. We visited different gardens and projects held at U of T, as well as at the city of Toronto. These field trips allowed us to deepen our knowledge and develop a network with many experts in the field. Over the summer I’m doing an internship at Trinity College. The objective of this internship is to develop a sustainable food network. This internship has two categories: our group projects and independent research. One of our main goals as a team is to reduce the amount of food waste being produced at Trinity College and how we manage this waste. In addition, we are working with Edible Campus (UTSC), the Director of Facilities and Services of Trinity College, and the Sustainable Office at UofT. We’ve had lots of fun designing and building our raised beds. We hope to do a harvest party and cooking workshops to engage with the community. Furthermore, we are looking forward to developing Sustainability Goals for Trinity. The topic of my independent research study is mental health and urban gardening. I’m interested in analyzing the relationship between these two components and how we can improve mental wellness by being involved in an urban environment.
I applied to the Trinity One Environment and Sustainability Stream with an interest in the intersection of environmental and social justice issues. My background involved working with urban agriculture initiatives as a means to provide food security for low income communities whilst cultivating sustainable food systems. These issues were reflected and broadly expanded through the interdisciplinary perspectives shared in both classes, each illustrating the circular relationships between social structures and the changing environment. Our professors presented these cycles through the alternating lenses of modern science and environmental ethics, exposing the fragments of knowledge that result from isolating perspectives. The awareness of the detriments caused from fragmented knowledge has significantly influenced my approach to research and work in the field. Currently this has manifested into the projects that I am involved in this summer through the Trinity College Food Systems Network, which is a summer opportunity supervised by Professor Spiegelaar. My independent study focuses on the localization of culturally diverse crops as a way to enhance food security for migrant communities while simultaneously reducing greenhouse gas emissions that are prevalent in industrialized agriculture. To bring this research to life, the FSN has recently implemented a garden at St. Hildas which will act as a teaching space to host the application of our studies, and I look forward to watching it grow alongside the breadth of my knowledge.