Last May, right after graduation, Nicole Sacha ’11 began working as an intern for the town of North Smithfield, R.I., conducting field research to update the town’s hazard mitigation plan. Already she has made an impact. While doing fieldwork and reviewing documented catch basins, she discovered between 10 to 20 percent of them are likely to be considered a hazard in the event of a flood because they are full or overflowing with sediment, said Town Planner Robert Ericson in a Valley Breeze newspaper article. Fixing the problem will cost the town money, but at least officials are aware of the issue, thanks to Sacha, the article noted. (She also found time to start a farmers’ market in town, which the Valley Breeze also wrote about.) Her internship has been extended and she’s now in charge of a project promoting energy efficiency. “I enjoy the work I have been doing here,” she said. “My internship has used different components of what I learned at Wheaton. I use my knowledge of ecology to grasp what may be happening to the overall health of our waterways. My work here has little supervision and I have had to devise my own routine, which is something I feel very comfortable doing because of the sense of responsibility I developed during my time at Wheaton. In addition to this, I updated the North Smithfield Hazard Mitigation Plan for FEMA. Without the writing skills I strengthened at Wheaton, I would not have been able to do so.” Sacha said that she is interested in continuing to work in the environmental field, perhaps at a consulting firm. In January, she is scheduled to start a graduate program at the University of Rhode lsland to study environmental policy and management.