City Semester check-in with Jacob Levendosky

We just kicked off another great summer of City Semester Pittsburgh — with six Penn State students living in Pittsburgh and learning about sustainability. This semester, we have students from the Colleges of Earth and Mineral Science, the Liberal Arts, Arts and Architecture, and Agricultural Sciences, as well as the Smeal College of Business and the Eberly College of Science. They meet each week at the Penn State Center Pittsburgh for a course on urban sustainability, and then spend the rest of the week interning with a local community partner. Let’s check in with one of the students!

Jacob LevendoskyName: Jacob Levendosky
College: Eberly College of Science
Major: Biology
Expected Graduation: 2024
City Semester Internship: Three Rivers Waterkeeper

What are your general responsibilities at your internship?

I am working to collect and test water samples at locations of water recreation all over the three rivers area in Pittsburgh. I am responsible for traveling to each location, collecting the samples, and incubating them to test for bacteria growth. I then report the findings to a website called Swim Guide where anyone looking to recreate on the water can see if it is safe or not. My other responsibility includes helping research topics related to waterway pollution so that they can be posted on our social media.

What does your day-to-day look like?Intern tests water samples

I typically travel to Pittsburgh on Tuesdays and Wednesdays for my internship. Tuesdays are when I do my research, conduct the sampling, and initiate the testing. I am usually in the office or out driving to each site for a total of eight hours. On Wednesdays, I come in and help to analyze the results and report them online. Sometimes, I will work from home and update any documents when needed. Sometimes on weekends, I help with River Clean Up events.

What has been your favorite part of the program?

My favorite part of the program has been making connections about urban sustainability between what I am doing at my internship and what we are learning in class and how it connects to the bigger picture.

What’s your favorite sustainability hack?

My favorite sustainability hack is repurposing plastic containers. I like to cut water bottles and milk jugs and use them as my plant pots for my steadily growing plant collection.