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Environmental Studies Program

College of the Sciences

Riana Grout

My name is Riana Grout and I am currently living in the Chicago area working as a Pathways intern at the Indiana Dunes National Park (formerly known as the Indiana Dunes National Lakeshore). My job is to create lesson plans for teachers in the Great Lakes region giving students and teachers a chance to know what research is going on in and around the park through fun and engaging class activities!


Once my time as a summer intern ends, I will be driving back to New Orleans, Louisiana to finish my last year of graduate school! I am a graduate Teaching Assistant at the University of New Orleans in the Earth and Environmental Science department studying marsh erosion and shoreline change in the metro New Orleans area. Since I am a teaching assistant I do not get paid over the summer months which led me to this amazing internship with the National Park Service! (Yes, you can get a full ride AND get paid for graduate school!!)


I am able to work at so many different places in so many different disciplines because of my Environmental Science degree from CWU. The policy, biology, geology, geography, GIS, and various field classes gave me an immeasurable degree of interdisciplinary knowledge and experience I can readily apply in the work force. I have worked as a shellfish lab technician for Auburn University, an NPS Pathways intern, “professor” for intro geology labs at my current university, and so many other amazing opportunities. My only word of advice when committing to any major, always ask yourself if graduate school is in your future. If so, read what classes are required and ensure you fit those into your busy schedule. Physics 1 and 2, calculus 2 and chemistry 1 and 2 were thankfully NOT required for my graduate program but it is a requirement for many but CWU’s Environmental Science degree does NOT require these classes.


I am so thankful for my degree in Environmental Science. I can go in any direction professionally and academically. If you are considering this degree, go talk with the chair of the program and see if it is right for you!

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