Monday, Jan. 31, 2011
SENIOR FROM TOPEKA TO HELP NATIONAL GEOGRAPHIC SOCIETY WITH K-12 EDUCATION OUTREACH
MANHATTAN -- A Kansas State University student plans spend her summer exploring the National Geographic Society.
Abby Beuerlein, a senior in geography, Topeka, will serve a three-month internship with the society at its headquarters in Washington, D.C.
The society is one of the largest nonprofit scientific and educational institutions in the world. Its intern program provides qualified college juniors, seniors and master's students an opportunity to apply knowledge and techniques they have learned in the classroom, according to Richard Marston, university distinguished professor and head of the K-State department of geography.
"We've had several geography students from K-State selected as interns with the National Geographic Society in the past. This is no accident," he said. "We have high-achieving students who are motivated and talented pursue opportunities beyond the classroom. Our geography faculty endeavor to hire undergraduate students as research assistants so they can determine if they want to pursue graduate-level research toward an advanced degree."
Beuerlein is looking forward to her summer job.
"This is the first internship I've ever had, which is why I was really surprised and very honored," she said. "I couldn't be more excited that my first opportunity in the geography field will be with an organization that is so well known and respected."
Beuerlein will primarily work with the National Geographic Education Foundation's Geographic Alliance Network, a program dedicated to improving geography education at the K-12 levels.
"I didn't realize just how much grant work the society does and how important it is to their organization," she said. "I'm starting to feel the pressure though, knowing I'm going to be doing something so challenging. At the same time, I would much rather be challenged than to just run around getting coffee for people.
"It's going to be a great experience getting to go to Capitol Hill and having an impact on working to educate young people. I would really like to assist the National Geographic Society in its goal of ensuring that at least 80 percent of all 18-year-olds be geographically literate by 2025," she said.
Beuerlein is optimistic the internship will lead to future opportunities in the geography field.
"I think this internship could be a life-changing experience," she said. "I'd be thrilled if my three months with the society turned into a career with them, since it has always been a dream to work for National Geographic. If it doesn't though, I know having experience with them will be a great stepping-stone for other opportunities in the geography realm."
Marston said the National Geographic Society seeks student interns like Beuerlein who are involved in quality extracurricular activities related to the field.
Beuerlein is a member of Gamma Theta Upsilon, the international geography honor society, and Kappa Delta sorority. She received the K-State NASA Space Grant Consortium Undergraduate Fellowship in spring 2010. The daughter of Joe and Debbie Beuerlein, Topeka, she is a 2007 graduate of Hayden High School.