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Environmental Evangelist

Cheryl Carmack, Class of 2014

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Amassing hands-on experience and making valuable connections – that’s what internships are all about. And that’s just what happened for Cheryl Carmack. During her second year of grad school in the Master of Environmental Studies Program at the College of Charleston, Carmack found herself interning with a local environmental watchdog organization – Charleston Waterkeeper. Flip the calendar forward one year, and Carmack has ended up joining the group full time as the organization’s in-house scientist.

The crux of her academic internship was to develop a full-scale program to monitor water-quality across the local region. As part of that work, Carmack collaborated with her grad school professors and with scientists at local and state agencies. It was important that the organization’s data and subsequent findings be officially recognized, and that required the use of a state-certified environmental laboratory. Because of Carmack’s grad student status, the water samples were studied and assessed at a lab right on campus. In fact, that’s the lab that Carmack and Charleston Waterkeeper continue to use in their work today.

As a water quality specialist, Carmack spends much of her time collecting samples from specific sites throughout the Charleston area watershed, which ranges across thousands of acres. With a keen eye for detail and a love of science, this is an ideal role for Carmack, who also oversees the maintenance and operation of the College’s hydrochemistry lab. And when she’s not in the lab or in the field pulling samples, she’s out in the community engaging with the public about the importance of the area’s water quality.