For the past two years, the Benzie Community Water Council has provided a scholarship to Benzie Central High School alum James Robinson (class of 2015), who is attending the Great Lakes Water Studies Institute at Northwestern Michigan College. He wrote up an update for us, so we can follow his studies: check it out below! (Also, he plans to attend our Winter Potluck Series, Topic: MI Water event, so you can meet him and ask about his studies there!)
Freshwater Studies Winter/Spring 2017 Update
My third semester at Northwestern Michigan College went very well. I took four courses this past semester — English Composition; Probability and Statistics; Meteorology and Climatology; and Introduction to GIS. The most interesting of these courses was Introduction to GIS (Geographic Informational Systems). This class taught me to use ArcGIS software to make maps of spatial data. Among other things, I learned how to connect data tables to spatial elements in the map (i.e. points, line, or polygons), how to symbolize features in a map, and how to create and print a map layout. I managed to sustain a 3.5 or better in all of my courses, with an overall GPA of 3.92 for all three semesters.
Along with my academics, I continued a successful career as a staff writer with the White Pine Press. This year, I had the privilege of traveling with a few other student journalists to the ACP National College Media Convention in Washington, DC! We spent four days at the Grand Hyatt, attending various workshops to enhance our skills as college journalists. We also attended several high-profile keynotes from Donna Brazile, Bob Woodward, Jose Antonio Vargas, and Edward Snowden! When we weren’t in workshops or attending keynotes, we explored the museums and monuments of Washington, DC. It was a fantastic trip. I plan to continue my involvement in the White Pine Press during the Spring 2017 semester. I also plan to get more involved in Phi Theta Kappa and possibly the NMC Green Team or the Grand Traverse Freshwater Society (two other NMC student groups).
This semester, I will be taking three courses — Principles of Microeconomics; Water Policy and Sustainability; and Genetics, Evolution, and Animal Biology. I’m very close to finishing my Associate’s degree at NMC and have already begun the transfer application process to Western Michigan University, where I will complete a Bachelor’s degree in Freshwater Science and Sustainability. I plan to finish my NMC courses in the Fall 2017 semester and begin taking one or two WMU courses that same semester. I’m also currently applying for summer internships related to water-quality monitoring and environmental education, such as water-quality monitoring at Sleeping Bear Dunes National Lakeshore or shipboard environmental education for Inland Seas Education Association.
I’m thankful for the two $1,000 scholarships that I received from the Benzie Community Water Council. I was very surprised and happy to receive this award a second time! I’ve been very lucky so far with paying for college, since I haven’t had to ask my parents for money or take out a college loan. Thanks in part to the scholarships I received from the Benzie Community Water Council, I was able to focus on excelling in my classes instead of worrying about paying for college. I look forward to continuing my educational journey at Northwestern Michigan College and Western Michigan University.
P.S. – If you ever need volunteers, let me know! I’d be more than willing to help.