Carly Dutkiewicz '14
Carly Dutkiewicz ’14 entered DePauw intending to major in Environmental Geoscience. She grew up in a family that took active vacations—hiking, biking, snorkeling—and she enjoys being outside amidst Earth’s natural wonders. She decided not to apply for the Science Research Fellows program as an incoming freshman because she wanted to explore other disciplines, but her first semester at DePauw, Carly took Earth and the Environment, an introductory geology course taught by Dr. Jim Mills, and her interest in the geosciences was solidified.
“Not only did the geoscience classes fit my interests, but the geoscience department had personable, supportive professors, and a small but fun group of students that I wanted to be a part of,” Carly said.
Carly quickly realized that the SRF program was a unique, selective opportunity that suited her desire to learn outside the classroom, and that would give her experiences that she might not get otherwise. She entered the SRF program as a lateral entry student.
For her first research experience, Carly worked on a project that investigated evidence of climate change in Putnam County. Her research involved collecting tree cores from trees in the DePauw University Nature Park and analyzing the tree rings for climate patterns. She enjoyed learning outside in the field.
“The hands-on aspect of this research experience taught me much more about climate change than I would have learned in a classroom,” Carly commented.
Her research group also visited the dendrochronology lab at Indiana State University, and Carly was in contact with the assistant climatologist at the Indiana State Climate Office for the project. “These contacts are useful for potential future research, and I have the Science Research Fellows program to thank for this,” Carly said.
For her on-campus summer research project, Carly studied the effects of agricultural runoff on water quality in Big Walnut Creek. She collected water samples from streams and then analyzed the samples for the presence of chemical compounds that come from fertilizers. This experience connected Carly to professionals in the area; her research group sat in on two meetings held by the Big Walnut Creek Watershed Alliance, a group of local and state government representatives that works to improve water quality in Big Walnut Creek.
“The Alliance is a welcoming, laid back group of people, and it was interesting to hear about the projects that they’re working on. Both of my research experiences at DePauw have connected me with professionals, and this has helped me to develop more professional communication skills,” said Carly.
Only a junior, Carly has yet to complete her off-campus research internship. She would like to do research on an environmental issue at a national laboratory, or at a larger university. Carly enjoyed both the research topics that she has explored at DePauw and might like to do research on a similar topic.
Her sophomore year, Carly took an economics course and decided to pursue an economics minor. She is intrigued by the ties between the environment and the economy. She wants to integrate economics with her major and work for a sustainability company, or non-profit organization in a developing country after she graduates.
“For a developing country, sustainable economic growth is hindered by wealth. It is vital that in the midst of the environmental issues that the world faces that sustainable practices and technologies are in place. To contribute to the implementation of low-cost, yet effective sustainable growth technologies in developing countries would be very rewarding,” said Carly.
Through off-campus Winter Term trips offered at DePauw, Carly has embraced the opportunity to travel to countries that are off the beaten path. She has traveled to Senegal and is going to Thailand. Going to these countries makes her appreciative of the opportunities she has, and is part of why she would like to work in a less developed country. She also is planning on studying abroad for a semester through a program focused on sustainable development or environmental action.
Though Carly’s career plans are not research based, she believes that the research she has done, and has yet to do through the SRF program will help her to better understand environmental issues and be able to address these issues.
“The Science Research Fellows program has given me the knowledge of how to conduct research, and something I’ve learned is that there is never an end to research and to keep questioning. This is something that I can apply to whatever I do after DePauw.”