Post submitted by Lindsay Brown, recent graduate from Iowa State University and member of Iowa State’s Soil and Water Conservation Club (SWCC)
My name is Lindsay Brown and I have recently graduated Iowa State University with a Bachelor of Science Degree in Biology and Environmental Science. I joined the Soil and Water Conservation Club (SWCC) in the fall semester of 2016 and it has provided me with vast amounts of knowledge surrounding the topic of soil and water conservation. Over the years I have heard many presentations from graduate students, professors and other professionals working in the field. The presentations range from land management and conservation to farming practices. Hearing from these various professionals has allowed me to diversify my knowledge about these topics and develop a better understanding on how conservation efforts can be implemented and managed. The SWCC does not only meet every other week and listen to presentations, but we also sell, assemble and present Groundwater Flow Models. These models visually represent how water moves throughout the ground. This visualization can help students, farmers, faculty, or really anyone to realize the importance of water movement on the surface and underground and how understanding its movement can lead to specific water management practices. The Groundwater Flow Models are sold and distributed nationally and internationally and the profits go toward club funds, which allows us to go on trips and attend conferences for professional experience.
The SWCC also has an annual publication called Getting into Soil and Water that is put together by the publication committee. Getting into Soil and Water is a publication that is composed of a variety of articles related to soil and water about local and international subjects written by professionals from various backgrounds. I have been an editor for this publication since August of 2016 and have learned a lot about the editing process, leadership skills, and how to communicate efficiently and effectively with my peers, authors and sponsors. At the beginning of the year, the publication committee discusses and brainstorms different possibilities for themes the publication could follow. After the theme is discussed and we’ve reached a consensus, authors are then contacted to see if they would like to write an article in the publication. After all the articles are retrieved, the editing process begins. Each article is edited many times by each member of the committee and compiled into a cohesive publication. Once the publications are printed, they are distributed to people all around the state of Iowa. Through my experience of being an editor, I learned how to delegate effectively and to recognize the value each person brings to a team in achieving a larger goal. Being an editor also gave me experience running meetings, helped me to develop confidence voicing my opinions in a group setting and allowed me to share ideas with my peers in the publication committee. All of these experiences will be useful for my future career goals and aspirations.
Since graduation I have moved to Minneapolis and now have an internship with the University of Minnesota partnered with the City of Woodbury leading a water conservation project. My future career goals are to work with environmental consulting to decrease environmental degradation and improve the health of communities and ecosystems. Being a part of the SWCC and the Getting into Soil and Water publication committee as an editor, has provided me with multiple years of experience learning about conservation practices as well as practical communication skills. I would definitely recommend students to get involved in student organizations like the SWCC on campus, because it provides you with lifelong practical skills for your future career.
Lindsay Brown is leading a water conservation project with the Minnesota Technical Assistance Program in Minneapolis, Minnesota. She has a B.S. in Biology and Environmental Science from Iowa State University. She is currently looking for full-time employment doing environmental consulting in the Twin Cities area.