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My experience as a Water Quality Monitoring Intern

Majoring in Physics and minoring in Math from Occidental College, Jad Eways has focused most of his academic career on how to take a holistic approach to environmental change. In his home country of Palestine, Jad has a constant reminder of how limited access to natural resources can greatly effect a community, and that the improvement of living and humane conditions goes hand in hand with his role as a Physics student to aim for change. As coherent data collection and processing becomes more relevant for the works of scientists in the environmental and public policy domain, Jad hopes to pursue a career as a civil or environmental engineer.

As an Arabic tutor, Jad has also worked effortlessly to engage himself in local community, volunteer work and community outreach with the Palestinian society in diaspora and here in Southern California in the Pasadena communities. As a student at Occidental College, Jad continues to blend his passion for physics and math with his community engagement and activism work.

We caught up with Jad and asked him a few questions on his internship with our Science Team as a Water Quality Monitoring Research Intern.

What has been your favorite aspect working with the CWH team?

Getting to explore different hiking trails and recreational sites on the LA river and streams has been reinvigorating considering that they are not opportunities and landscapes I have explored and studied. With the help of my supervisors, I was able to find a suitable role for myself in the office that makes me feel helpful and productive despite being just a college intern- who, in other places, could be given marginal tasks.

You are working a lot on the Los Angeles River Watershed Monitoring Program (LARWMP), in your opinion why do you think LARWMP is important?

LARWMP is important because it sheds light on the health of the Los Angeles watershed and puts LA's residents as its priority stakeholders (not always true, and can be responsive to the concerns of LA residents). There are many people like me (prior to this internship) who do not necessarily think of the LA river as a river. There are people who reside along the river who are unaware of its health status and how it may affect them. LARWMP explains all that and helps answer basic questions all these people might have: is it safe to swim? is it safe to fish? A long-term project like LARWMP can help keep Los Angeles residents safe, in terms of understanding when it is safe to recreate along the river, but also guide efforts to raise awareness of the LA river and improve its ecological health.

What do you hope to gain from your internship with CWH?

Although the Council is a non-profit organization and not a research institute, they have introduced me to the process of doing research and writing a research paper. By the end of my time here, I hope to have acquired intangible research skills as well as practical skills such as handling and using equipment and so on.

I have had the liberty to start working on an individual research project involving LARWMP that looks at ways the program could be improved. Since I plan to pursue a career in civil/environmental engineering, I decided to take a more engineering-oriented focused on my research focusing on hydrology and geomorphology. In the process, I gained some scientific knowledge of water quality management and river ecosystems and it has been rewarding so far.


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