By: Beth Ann Luedeker

Contact: Dr. Jake Mowrer - [email protected]

Makayla Faldyn, who will begin her senior year at Texas A&M in just a few weeks, spent her summer as a water resource restoration and protection intern with the Texas A&M AgriLife Extension water program in the Department of Soil and Crop Sciences.

Makayla Faldyn near screen with Powerpoint presentation visible
Makayla Faldyn presented an overview of her internship to faculty and staff at the end of the summer.

“I have a passion for science, communication and education, so this internship fit me perfectly,” said Faldyn. “I got to learn more about watersheds, set up meetings, and even deliver outreach education. I also got to make direct calls to the stakeholders to encourage them to be involved with meetings and events.”

She spent ten weeks working with the Texas Watershed Stewards, Mill Creek Watershed Partnership, and Geronimo-Alligator Creeks Watershed program.

Faldyn’s internship was all “hands-on”.  She spent the summer further developing the online presence of the programs by updating the Mill Creek Watershed Partnership website and updating the calendar to make it more user friendly. She promoted watershed events through their Facebook page and updated the Texas Watershed Stewards online courses, designed brochures and more.

One of her favorite parts of the internship was having the opportunity to serve as a youth program leader working with Texas Parks and Wildlife programs.

“I had the opportunity to work with about 400 young people ranging from six to thirteen years old at Lake Somerville and Huntsville State Park helping to teach water quality to younger generations,” Faldyn said. “I helped tailor the information to the ages of the youth and I really enjoyed it.”

“I cannot brag enough about the quality of this Aggie,” said Dr. Jake Mowrer, Extension Specialist for Soil Nutrient and Water Resource Management, who was her primary supervisor. “Makayla was a self-starter, very bright and engaging. She really benefited the program and has been very effective.”

Michael Kuitu, Extension Program Specialist and Program Coordinator, echoed those sentiments.

“This summer marked the second year our department offered undergraduate students an opportunity to join Extension’s water programs as an intern.  Though these past 10 weeks with Ms. Faldyn working in that position seem to have flown by I can say with confidence she has made a positive, lasting impression.  Her tactful and professional work ethic along with her presentation skills will take her far,” Kuitu said.

Five people standing together
Some members from the various water programs with which Makayla worked this summer gathered for reception at the end of the summer. Pictured are: Michael Kuitu, Makayla Faldyn, Jake Mowrer, Ward Ling, Extension Program Specialist for the Geronimo-Alligator Creeks Watershed, and Drew Gholson, Extension Program Specialist with the Texas Well Owner Network.

For Kuitu and the rest of the team, it was “truly rewarding” to witness an intern taking the lessons learned in the classroom and applying them to a real world scenario.

“One of the goals with this internship is to create an environment of expedited professional growth,” Kuitu said. “ To achieve this, we aimed to treat our intern as a colleague, ensuring the work they are assigned is not ‘busy work’, but rather a component of our team’s collective deliverables.”