Hydrologic Technician, New England Coastal Basin, Concord, New Hampshire
U.S. Geological Survey
 
How Ellen Finch got involved with U.S. Geological Survey
I was lucky enough to get an interview through a personal connection. I had no previous knowledge of USGS but feel so lucky that I have been able to work here doing such interesting research.
 
Experience
Throughout the summer, a definite highlight has been meeting eccentric homeowners. Since we would spend an entire day at a single house, I had the opportunity to chat with some truly interesting people and hear their stories. I ran into a man who makes his living from selling crafts made of porcupine quills, another who KNOWS Elvis is alive and living in Maine, and a four year old who thought nothing was more fun than putting on latex gloves and "helping" us! These interactions were priceless.
 
Ellen Finch's accomplishments
Over the summer, I worked on three studies. One consisted of communicating with local homeowners and convincing them to send us samples of their well water, which I then treated and sent off to a lab for testing. We were ultimately looking for trace metals in drinking water. The second involved traveling throughout Massachusetts taking basic measurements of monitoring wells that we have scattered throughout the state in an effort to track any changes that may be occurring in the water tables. The third, and most involved study, had us testing well water in Maine for bacteria and viruses. We handled all of the bacteria testing right in our lab (filtering, incubating, and using the new enterolert and colilert tray methods). For the virus sampling, we pumped huge amounts of water through a filter and shipped the filter off to Ohio to be analyzed. This was the pilot study for this method and provided us with some very interesting results.
 
Ellen Finch's next steps
As I head into my freshman year of college, I have absolutely no idea what I want to do next. I plan on taking a wide variety of classes and waiting to see if one strikes my fancy! I certainly hope to return to USGS at some point in the future.
 
Hometown: Concord, New Hampshire
School: Williams College