Northeastern State University offers new pathway to river-based careers

Students passionate about river science, recreation and conservation at Northeastern State University are one step closer to landing their dream river careers.

NSU students measure flow data. Photo by Julianne Perry.

NSU has partnered with the River Management Society (RMS) to offer the River Studies and Leadership Certificate (RSLC) to undergraduate and graduate students.

“The certificate helps prepare students for a variety of river-based careers through interdisciplinary coursework, hands-on professional experience and opportunities to meet and learn from current river professionals,” RMS River Training Center Coordinator Angie Fuhrmann said. “Students will get to explore and study river systems in ways that integrate the life and earth sciences, policy and conservation, socio-cultural and economic factors, education and recreation.”

Students participating in the RSLC program will receive a free one-year membership to RMS, which includes a subscription to the RMS Journal and access to national and regional river trips and virtual and in-person workshops. Students will share their river-related work at the RMS Symposium or by publishing an article in the RMS Journal.

Dr. Lizz Waring, assistant professor of biology and RSLC advisor at NSU, said the certificate naturally complements the existing Freshwater Science and Fish and Wildlife degrees currently offered in the Department of Natural Sciences and may interest students in other programs such as geography, criminal justice and recreation.

“Given the importance ecologically, economically and culturally of the Illinois River and the other state scenic rivers in Oklahoma, partnering with RMS for this certificate is a natural fit,” Waring said. “We are excited to offer this program to the next generation of river leaders here in northeast Oklahoma.”

Vice President of Water Quality for the Grand River Dam Authority and RMS Midwest Chapter President Ed Fite believes that as an NSU alumnus and through working professionally with the institution, he has always viewed NSU as a leader in this field.

“I think this is going to be a golden opportunity for NSU,” he said. “For a national organization like RMS to also recognize this makes me feel proud and excited about the impact this opportunity will have, not only for the university, but also for the communities located within the Illinois River watershed and across Oklahoma. RMS is the one-stop-shop in the United States for accessing river management information and experts. This partnership will undoubtedly yield opportunities for students to connect with state and federal agencies and both nonprofit and private sector leaders that will further students’ expertise and may open doors to professional river careers.”

Students interested in participating in the RSLC program at NSU should contact Waring at [email protected] or visit her in Room 141 in the Science Building on the Tahlequah campus.

Visit https://www.river-management.org/river-studies-leadership to learn more about the RSLC. To learn more about the different natural sciences degrees offered at NSU visit https://academics.nsuok.edu/naturalsciences/default.aspx.

Published Jan. 26, 2023

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