Summer interns make waves

This summer, Freshwater hosted four student interns in mutual support of our programs and their burgeoning careers. Three worked with Dr. Carrie Jennings in our research and policy program in a partnership with the University of Minnesota College of Biological Sciences. The fourth is a next generation Freshwater champion: the great-granddaughter of one of our founding fathers, civil engineer and student of aquatic biology, the late Hibbert Hill. Keep reading to learn more about these unique individuals and their bright futures which will no doubt make waves for water.

Ashley Laskowski is a Junior, graduating in 2022. She is from Green Bay, Wisconsin, and her past work experience has involved tutoring high school students from the Minneapolis school district through the TRIO Upward Bound program and being a YMCA camp counselor. In her free time, she enjoys volunteering at Fairview Hospital, participating in events through the University of Minnesota Twin Cities Special Olympics Club, and running. She chose to study antibiotics used in confined animal feedlots that get applied with manure and are appearing in our surface and groundwater. They are suspected to be increasing antibiotic resistance.


George Roy is a Junior studying biochemistry in the Honors Program. Growing up in South Dakota, summer in Michigan, where George’s family had relocated, was going to be disorienting, especially after the cancellation of his position as a 2020 American Heart Association Summer Research Scholar at the Lillehei Heart Institute, so he was quite pleased to stay in Minnesota and work with Freshwater. George is a detail-oriented person who likes to help others. He has experience in performing PCR and spectrophotometry and in sorting and analyzing data. George chose to address the removal of endocrine-disrupting compounds found in human wastewater.


Colin Vehmeier is a Senior in Ecology, Biology, Society & Environment, graduating in December of 2020. He was in Brookfield, Wisconsin this summer and hiked pieces of The Ice Age Trail while there. He has conducted research in the Department of Horticultural Science on the physiological response of plants to UV light and is on the Alpine Ski team. He chose to investigate the impact of animal antibiotics on the soil microbiome. Soil health depends on a wide range of microbes and spreading manure may come with consequences that we are not aware of.



Pictured center: Emily Grey, great-granddaughter of Freshwater co-founder Hibbert Hill, 2020

Emily Grey is a Junior studying criminology at DePaul University in Chicago and the great-granddaughter of one of Freshwater’s co-founders, the late Hibbert Hill. This summer, when not out bouldering or enjoying the great outdoors, Emily was at Freshwater supporting various projects and programs. She was instrumental to our Weatherguide program and the special, experimental sales event we hosted as part of Minnesota’s Virtual State Fair. She also helped start a cataloguing project of many of the historical documents housed in far corners of our office sorely in need of organization and safekeeping. Emily’s great-grandfather the late Hibbert Hill was key to our founding and was a trained civil engineer. It was such a pleasure to have Emily with us this summer and to be inspired by a family whose care for our waters spans generations. Read more about Freshwater’s unique origin story  or explore Hib Hill’s treasure-trove of family and professional archives on the Minnesota HIstorical Society’s website.

Pictured center: Hibbert Hill, Circa 1968