Meet Emily Ward, Summer Intern!

by | Jul 10, 2024 | Outreach, WRC Blog, WRC Staff Highlights, WRC Student Spotlights


Mona looking at ag bmps installed as part of Rock Creek WMP.

Emily representing the AU Water Resources Center at the Russell County Farmers Market

Tell us about your background and what brought you to work with the AUWRC?

I began working with water in 2018 when I was in high school. I worked in a fishery doing aquaculture and aquaponics.  In 2019, I started water quality monitoring for the City of Florala doing bacteriological testing for E. coli in Lake Jackson. When I came to college at Auburn University I chose to major in biological and agricultural technology management. I am now a senior in the program, and I study technological approaches to solving environmental issues. In the summer of 2023, I interned as an aquatic technician with The Greenery in Charleston, SC performing pond maintenance. When searching for internship opportunities for this summer, I knew I wanted to continue in water and hopefully work under Extension Specialist and Water Resource Center Director Dr. Eve Brantley. When the ACES Intern position opened, I immediately applied and specified my preference for working with water. Being selected for this position is such an honor as well as working with the entire WRC staff! 


Emily at work with The Greenery in Charlston, SC performing pond maintenance. 

Emily in front of the Mell Bioswales, one of many green infrastructure practices she is helping highlight this summer

What projects are you working on this summer?

This summer I am working on various projects within the Water Resource Center. The Alabama Water Resource Conference is planned by WRC staff. As an intern, I get to assist with logistics like sorting abstracts and administrative tasks like selecting and designing swag, attend conference committee meetings, and more! With Alabama Water Watch, I am helping plan and prepare for educational trainings that occur throughout the summer including the AWW Annual meeting, Fish Camp with Auburn Youth Programs, and BWET Professional Development. My main project is using ArcGIS StoryMaps, a program that allows you to combine interactive maps and storytelling, to create an interactive narrative of stormwater practices on Auburn University’s Campus. This project is a collaboration between the AU Water Resources Center and Auburn University Facilities Management. The purpose of this project is to provide information and background on how Low Impact Development projects and Green Infrastructure work to mitigate nonpoint source pollution and increase effectiveness of stormwater management practices.  

Sydney instructs at her first Alabama Water Watch workshop.

Emily testing water quality with Alabama Water Watch

What advice would you give to others hoping to work in water resources?

My biggest piece of advice to students in related fields is to take every opportunity you get. Whether it is attending a meeting, job fair, or tour, you never know who you might meet and how they could expand your network. In 2022, I attended the Fall College of Agriculture Career Fair and received an internship offer on site 

Emily assisting with a watershed planning public meeting 

What are some of the biggest lessons you’ve learned since coming to Auburn?

The biggest lesson I have learned since coming to Auburn is that everyone has a place, and it is okay to be different. There are parts of coursework, my job, and life that I excel at due to my experiences, skills, learning style, and knowledge. And there are parts that are harder for me. As I have discovered more about myself it isn’t as discouraging when something doesn’t click. Watching my peers in other fields has been confirmation for me that I am in the right place and that it is okay to like different things. We are all good at something and that is why the world works the way it does. 


Auburn University Water Resources Center
ALFA Agricultural Services and Research Building
961 S Donahue Drive
Auburn, AL 36840