College of Science

Environmental Science MS

ENSCI Student Serves as Research Assistant with the Central Coast Wetlands Group

Aubrie stands in a wetland habitat while recording samples on a clipboard

Aubrie Heckel recently completed her Professional Science Master's internship with the Central Coast Wetlands Group (CCWG). While serving as a Research Assistant, Aubrie had the opportunity to expand on the skills she has gained in the classroom as an Environmental Science graduate student. 

We reached out to Aubrie to learn more about her internship and graduate program experience. Check her interview below for more insight.

What did you research experience entail? 

I worked at Salinas River State Beach with Central Coast Wetlands Group studying how iceplant removal influences dune ecosystem recovery. Primarily, I monitored changes in dune vegetation, how vegetation cover influences western snowy plover nesting, and how dunes have morphologically shifted since the start of iceplant removal in 2016. I was able to combine skills acquired in the Environmental Science MS program such as study design, mapping, data analysis, and technical report writing with my passion for botany in a professional setting. After completing this internship, I was hired by Central Coast Wetlands Group as a part-time researcher during my last semester at school.

How did you internship contribute to your career goals? 

My professional goal is to work for, or with, organizations that manage public lands. I am interested in the balance between human impacts and ecological function with the intention of offsetting the need for restoration with education. I grew up in the Castroville community and am grateful to work at a State Park and other local public lands I visited when I was younger.

What is your favorite part about being a graduate student at CSUMB?

My favorite part of being a graduate student has meeting new friends and exploring the natural spaces near campus. 

Have you participated in other professional experiences as a graduate student? 

I also completed an internship with Mosaics in Science Diversity Internship Program as a hydrology assistant. You can check out a recent blog post of mine on their website. 

What are your plans after graduate school? 

After graduate school I plan to work locally on the central coast improving public lands and working with the public. I aspire to stay local because of how much I enjoyed both work and class projects within my home community.


Congratulations on completing your internship, Aubrie! We look forward to seeing how your professional endeavors continue to positively impact the local community.