Internship Allows Student to Make her Mark on Kansas City’s Environment

Tuesday, June 30, 2020
Campus plant closeup

With her new internship, senior Kate Ludwig has an opportunity to help make the lives of Kansas Citians better.

In June, she began working with the Mid America Regional Council as an air quality intern for the regional planning body, a position that will last through December, working to collect related research and help with public outreach on MARC’s environmental initiatives, among other duties.

Three weeks in, and Ludwig said she’s already gained a wealth of new insights by sitting in on meetings and tasks ranging from social media posts to research to data recording. For Ludwig, it’s a dream come true.

“Our environment is in dire need of help,” she said. “And with that, it’s a really obvious calling for me to be that voice for the natural world and see what I can do to make a lasting impact.”

A senior studying political science with minors in environmental studies and economics, she is part of a Blue Springs, Missouri, family that made it a point to celebrate natural beauty.

“Growing up, my family’s goal was to visit all of the national parks together,” she said. “Because of that I really had a connection to the environment, partly because it was tied to those trips with my family.”

Since coming to Rockhurst, Ludwig has continued those efforts, helping spearhead the effort to collect signatures for a petition to create a sustainability fee, and serving as a student voice on the committee setting University priorities for the portion of the Go Forth strategic plan addressing sustainability and as social justice chair of Student Senate. And in the classroom, she’s taken part in projects that illustrate the need for greater sustainability, including a project in a biology course taught by Mary Haskins, Ph.D., professor of biology, that had her group placing air quality meters along Troost Avenue to measure pollution.

Although the COVID-19 pandemic means remote meetings and more email communication, Ludwig said she is excited to see where her internship takes her and put all of that learning to work for the good of the greater Kansas City community.

“I’m really excited just to learn how to use what I learned in the classroom and use that in that in the field, because I’ve never had the opportunity to do anything like that,” she said.