With the support of a grant from the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), four UALR students will have the opportunity to intern with a local industry partner this summer. The internships will focus on pollution prevention. The students will shadow and assist engineers, scientists, and other personnel at local participating industries, including North Little Rock’s L’Oréal USA manufacturing facility, Little Rock Wastewater, and Alcoa Inc.
The $21,975 grant is funded through the EPA’s Pollution Prevention (P2) Program and was awarded to the Arkansas Department of Environmental Quality (ADEQ), the primary environmental protection agency in the state. UALR is partnering with ADEQ to develop and run the internship program. Participating industries are contributing an additional $5,040 to support the positions. Assistant Professor and Program Coordinator of Environmental Engineering Dr. Lashun Thomas, P.E., will lead UALR’s portion of the program, and the Office of Undergraduate Academic Advising will provide support for the intern selection process.
Open to qualifying graduate and undergraduate students in the Donaghey College of Engineering and Information Technology, the program will match students with paid positions at participating industries that will provide excellent professional growth and insight into the field of pollution control. Not only will the interns gain hands-on experience, but they will also be paired with a UALR professorial mentor, receive pollution control training from ADEQ, and have the opportunity to present their outcomes to and get feedback from a panel of industry professionals.
The project leaders intend to provide students with both enriching summer positions and preparation for future career paths. According to ADEQ’s proposal, “this joint program will help develop a pipeline of talent that can bring to light the business case for pollution prevention.”