2015 GSA Annual Meeting in Baltimore, Maryland, USA (1-4 November 2015)

Paper No. 208-6
Presentation Time: 9:00 AM-6:30 PM


SPANGLE, Chynna Jean, Department of Geological Sciences, University of Texas at San Antonio, One UTSA Circle, Flawn Building (FLN) 4.03.30, San Antonio, TX 78249, chynna.spangle1@gmail.com

As the environmental agency of the state of Texas, the Texas Commission on Environmental Quality (TCEQ) is responsible for the protection of air, water, and waste. Their mission is to protect public health and natural resources, while maintaining a suitable economic balance. The TCEQ’s many programs include an internship called “The Mickey Leland Environmental Internship Program” (MLEIP). MLEIP was named after U.S. Congressman George Thomas “Mickey” Leland, who was an influential leader on environmental matters in the State of Texas and internationally. Over one thousand diverse students have participated in the MLEIP since its formation in 1992. The MLEIP has allowed students to learn about environmental issues while gaining professional and research experience either in the field, office, or both. The Edwards Aquifer Protection Program (EAPP) is one of the many within the TCEQ in which a student may be selected to work. The EAPP enforces regulatory compliance through site assessments in order to protect groundwater and maintain surface water quality standards in areas that will impact the Edwards Aquifer. The goals of the internship include providing opportunities for students to develop strong fieldwork skills, learn how other state agencies (such as the Texas Department of Transportation) interact with the TCEQ, and to develop applicable office skills. This internship provided opportunities to work alongside karst engineers and geologists, assess future development for the presence of solution cavities and caves on the aquifer recharge zone, and write geotechnical reports that are available internally within the agency and externally to the public. The internship has enabled participants to develop robust professional skills, an enhanced understanding of career opportunities within the TCEQ, and has strengthened the students’ desire to pursue geology.