2022 Apprentices

Nate Venarske

Nate is  a junior majoring in biological engineering and minoring in creative writing at MSU. One of the main focuses of this project is to connect people to the exciting wildlife research going on in Jackson, and he loves bridging the communication gap between scientists and laypeople. He will learn a lot about local history, human-wildlife conflict, and the ArcGIS interface, and he looks forward to distilling a massive collection of data into a format that is simultaneously engaging to non-scientists and useful to researchers. Him and the team will be analyzing datasets from multiple wildlife camera transects to eventually form predictive models of human-wildlife conflict, enabling us to nip problems in the bud before the deer nip gardens in the bud. It’s hard for him to think of a more exciting project for my home city.

"This learning matters because one day I will have to work in large teams representing different entities with different interests and abilities." - Nate Venarske

Evelyn DuBose-Schmitt

Evelyn is an upcoming junior at Mississippi State University from Huntsville, AL. She is majoring in Food Science, Nutrition, and Health Promotion with the goal of becoming a registered dietitian. She chose this program because of individual mentorship and the ability to gain experience in research in order to also form a fuller perspective in her field and its application. She hopes to gain communication and presentation skills, as well as a better grasp of the research process while establishing meaningful relationships with those she works with and form good connections. This apprenticeship will allow her to participate in research that can be impactful in the future of Mississippi.

This has allowed me to have a more full view on FCS in general. I will continue to learn about and clarify the questions in the assessments. I will be able to use my new knowledge in this subject area to benefit my learning in the future." - Evelyn DuBose-Schmitt

Mary Charles Bounds

Mary Charles is a junior studying Human Development & Family Science at Mississippi State University. Her concentration is in Child Development and she is working toward a certificate in Trauma-Informed Child Advocacy. During the school year, she worked for ACCESS program on campus. She chose this apprenticeship because she is passionate about the work TIPPS (Trauma Informed Parenting and Professional Strategies) is doing to empower families in Mississippi. She is eager to learn from the members of this team and gain experience in the field of Extension. This opportunity is unique because it integrates research and community outreach. She is excited to see the real-world implications of what she is learning in class.

I am thankful for the opportunity to integrate my individual interests into the existing project throughout this apprenticeship. My plan now is to continue exploring!" - Mary Charles Bounds

Claire Kirby

Claire is a rising senior at the College of Charleston majoring in Marine Biology and minoring in Environmental Studies and Sustainability. She chose the apprenticeship program to encounter science in the real world while using prior knowledge to make resilient decision to create change at a local, state, and national level through coastal conservation and restoration projects. She hopes to develop new relationships with fellow teammates as well as creating a deeper connection with our environment. She is looking forward to working in a close-knit community of nerds who love our environment.

I learned the importance of organizing your data. Another aspect of research is analyzing and interpreting your data into usable information this can be done by organizing your results. There will be lots of number to account for, so I found that categorizing and classifying your data will increase productivity. Not only should I be able to understand how the data is organized but others should be able to understand it too." - Claire Kirby

Carson Dewberry

Carson is a rising senior with Wildlife, Fisheries, and Aquaculture major at Mississippi State. He is from Maben, Mississippi. He chose this apprenticeship to get a better knowledge of the partnerships and practices that takes place within the Extension Department and to increase his knowledge of cattle grazing landscapes, as well as using that knowledge to impact private landowners’ decisions to practice safe and thorough wildlife habits on the land. He also looks forward to increasing his connections across the state of Mississippi.

I will use what I have learned in this apprenticeship to help producers and landowners of many kinds to maximize their land value to tailor to their needs." - Carson Dewberry


Meghan Vona

Meghan is a junior at Michigan State University, and she is working towards a double major in Environmental Science and International Relations. She is from Buffalo, NY. This summer will be her first time in Mississippi, she is excited to explore new places and experience a southern summer. She hopes to pursue a career in environmental research, therefore she wanted to spend my undergraduate summers experiencing research opportunities. She loves to spend time outside and learn about how communities impact the natural world. She is excited to become more engaged with GIS mapping technology because she is interested in how this can be applied to community sustainability and learning to engage with local community members and local wildlife. She is very interested in the grander network of this project, such as the progress of teams in other cities. She believes that this nationwide network is encouraging and is excited to be a part of it!

This learning matters because one of my potential career paths is working for a state or federal environmental agency. If I do end up in one of these positions, I will be sure to dedicate sufficient time and resources to the local municipal officials of my designated region. I will also be able to apply the knowledge that every region has different struggles and relationships with various institutions, and I should be cognizant of this when facilitating any form of human subjects research." - Meghan Vona

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Girl wading knee-deep in water measuring its depth with a yardstick
Filed Under: Undergraduate Apprenticeship Program, Environment May 26, 2021

Like sea levels, expenses related to flooding in communities and businesses along the Gulf Coast are rising.

One student spent last summer investigating ways to mitigate these costs while enhancing approaches to shoreline protection during her time in the Mississippi State University Extension Undergraduate Apprenticeship program. The program is targeted toward high-achieving undergraduates from across the country to give them firsthand experiences in research and extension to understand how research can be applied.

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Portrait of Dr. Nesma Osama Abdelrahm Osman
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