Biological Science Aid, Upper Midwest Environmental Sciences Center, La Crosse, Wisconsin
U.S. Geological Survey
 
How Aaron Cupp got involved with U.S. Geological Survey
The Upper Midwest Environmental Sciences Center (UMESC), located in La Crosse, WI, creates annual employment opportunities for students to become involved in environmental research. Dr. Roger Haro, a biology professor at the University of Wisconsin – La Crosse and student employment coordinator at UMESC, emailed the summer student job vacancies to all of his biology students. I applied and was hired into a STEP position in the Aquatic Ecosystem Health branch working with Mark Gaikowski. Following my initial summer employment, Mark gave me the opportunity to continue working during school in the Aquatic Ecosystem Health branch and I have become more involved in the aquaculture drug approval program as well as in their research in the control of aquatic invasive species.
 
Experience
Being employed at UMESC has put me in a unique position to take what I have learned in the classroom and apply it to practical environmental research. My typical day-to-day job consists of assisting in conducting various laboratory studies. However, last summer I was given a chance to assist in field efficacy studies at Iron River National Fish Hatchery, located in Iron River, WI. Assisting with this field study allowed me to observe how our research combats the real problems faced by fisheries facilities. UMESC is making progress in aiding this fish hatchery, specifically to control parasites. Aside from seeing research in action, I was also able to interact with scientists in a non-work environment. Knowing these scientists on a personal level has given me a chance to establish professional relationships and connections within the aquaculture research community.
 
Aaron Cupp's accomplishments
My biggest personal accomplishment while being employed at UMESC is the discovery of an occupation that I can be passionate about. As a beginning college student, I was unsure of the direction that I wanted to head in pursuing a career. Becoming involved in fisheries research at UMESC has given me not only a focus for my career, but has also instilled an excitement for my future. Specifically, I hope to find a future as a scientist in aquaculture or aquatic invasive species research.
 
Aaron Cupp's next steps
My experience at UMESC has motivated me to pursue a M.S. in fisheries. I have applied for an opportunity to become a graduate student researcher at UMESC working to gain approval for new aquaculture sedatives. This position and degree will be a stepping-stone towards a career. While the specifics of future employment may remain unknown, I intend to use my degree to further myself wherever the road may take me.
 
Hometown: New London, Wisconsin
School: University of Wisconsin - La Crosse
Major: Biology