Georgia County Internship Spotlight

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Patrick Knight Interns with Fayette County
During the summer of 2022, Berry College student Patrick Knight interned with Fayette County. Knight, who studies environmental science, worked as a laboratory and compliance intern with the Fayette County Water System. Under the supervision of the laboratory and compliance specialist, Knight worked in the water quality laboratory on monitoring and management projects. 
Knight was not particularly familiar with county government operations before his internship. However, over the course of his internship work, he gained perspective on the responsibility of county services and public utilities. His training and work with the water system provided insight into the intersections between local government, public health, and the environment. Through his internship experience, Knight learned how to complete county government processes effectively and efficiently.

During his internship, Knight's essential responsibilities were assisting with water quality tests and the operations of the water treatment process. More specifically, Knight monitored lead and copper in drinking water to adhere to 2021 revisions of the Lead and Copper Rule. Knight participated in field sampling for lead and copper in elementary schools. Through field sampling, he learned proper sampling techniques, analysis practices, and data communication. Sampling, records research, and mapping completed by Knight were valuable to the Fayette Water System in facilitating compliance with water quality regulations.


In addition to sampling, Knight also gained experience with Geographic Information Systems (GIS) mapping practices. Working with the GIS Specialist, Knight received training in GIS data maintenance and original map creation. For the internship, Knight designed a map of water sample stations in the county.

Knight noted that his favorite part of the internship was meeting his colleagues at Fayette County and forming relationships with them over the summer. “It’s been one of the best learning experiences of my life,” he said. Reflecting on his work, Knight said that he learned specific hard skills, such as how to conduct specific water quality tests and the instruments and compliance rules that go along with them. Looking toward the future, “I believe I learned a large amount of information that will assist with my degree in environmental science,” he noted.
Knight is now a rising senior at Berry College. He plans to graduate in 2024 with a major in environmental science and a minor in geology. He is confident that his experience with the County will be beneficial in his career, saying "these skills will help me in any future classes or jobs where they are required." Following graduation, Knight plans to pursue a master's degree. After that, he would consider a career in county government.

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