A Checklist to Achieving the Best Summer of Your Life | Ohio Sea Grant

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A Checklist to Achieving the Best Summer of Your Life

12:00 pm, Tue March 26, 2024 – Jared Burton, a forestry, fisheries and wildlife alumnus from The Ohio State University's class of 2013, said his "perfect summer" at Stone Lab opened doors to career at the Ohio Environmental Protection Agency

Living on the Lake Erie shores throughout the months of May to August offers the quintessential Ohio summer experience. Beautiful sunsets, warm temperatures, and gorgeous lakes and shores drive visitors to flock to the Great Lakes region in the summer months. Spending time with friends in this environment makes a perfect summer even better.

Jared Burson calls his time on Stone Lab’s Gibraltar Island with fellow wildlife enthusiasts “one of the best summers I’ve ever had.”

three people stand in front of a Stone Laboratory sign

Jared Burson, center, now an environmental specialist for the Ohio Environmental Protection Agency, credits his experience at Stone Lab for advancing his career.

Burson, a forestry, fisheries and wildlife major from The Ohio State University’s class of 2013, understands what makes Lake Erie special, and perhaps more so than most students. Originally from the Sandusky area, Burson recalls his time on Lake Erie as the main reason he pursued a degree in the School of Environment and Natural Resources.

“I grew up on the lake,” Burson said. “I just kept coming back to nature, wildlife, and aquatic resources.”

This interest followed him throughout his career and pushed him toward registering for a sport fishing class and taxonomy course at Stone Lab after seeing frequent advertisements around Kottman Hall.

Upon arriving at Stone Lab, Burson quickly realized that this summer would be an amazing one. Living among his peers and professors was a completely different experience from what he was used to in terms of taking courses, but Burson loved the unique environment.

“It was a big family vibe,” he said.

Burson recalled one memory that personally allowed him to connect with his classmates and teachers. One professor on the island was in the midst of completing a study on snakes commonly found in the field and offered his students extra credit for every snake they caught. This led to Burson and his friends searching for snakes nonstop throughout the summer until their professors had to restore order to the group.

As a student in the School of Environment and Natural Resources, Burson took full advantage of the professional development services, especially career fairs, offered by the school. He initially connected with the Ohio EPA at a career fair hosted by SENR and secured an internship in the Division of Surface Water.

person holding a fish and a fishing pole

Burson graduated from The Ohio State University School of Environment and Natural Resources in 2013.

Burson had been unsure of his future after graduation, but his time at Ohio EPA exposed him to many other opportunities. While working in other roles post-graduation, Burson received a call from the Ohio EPA offering him a position in the Air Pollution Control Division. Burson fell in love with the Ohio EPA and rose through the ranks to his current position as an environmental specialist in the Division of Surface Water.

Burson advised current students pursuing a career in the environmental field: “Show interest. People in the environmental field are passionate; you never know who you’re going to talk to. Stay diligent.”

Burson’s experience with Stone Lab is a perfect example of the personal and professional development Stone Lab courses offer. He credits his field work experiences while on Lake Erie as a factor that made his transition to the Ohio EPA seamless, and he still communicates with the professors and peers he attended Stone Lab with.

One special factor made Stone Lab and the courses taken on Lake Erie special to Burson: passion.

“There’s a passion in the group,” he said. “Everyone has a common denominator as far as interest goes.”

Ohio Sea Grant is supported by The Ohio State University College of Food, Agricultural, and Environmental Sciences (CFAES) School of Environment and Natural Resources, Ohio State University Extension, and NOAA Sea Grant, a network of 34 Sea Grant programs nation-wide dedicated to the protection and sustainable use of marine and Great Lakes resources. Stone Laboratory is Ohio State’s island campus on Lake Erie and is the research, education, and outreach facility of Ohio Sea Grant and part of CFAES School of Environment and Natural Resources.

ARTICLE TITLE: A Checklist to Achieving the Best Summer of Your Life PUBLISHED: 12:00 pm, Tue March 26, 2024 | MODIFIED: 3:00 pm, Wed March 27, 2024
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Trinity Raber
Authored By: Trinity Raber
Communications Intern, Ohio Sea Grant College Program  FIND MORE TAGGED as EDUCATIONAL, STONE LAB