This story is part of an occasional series that looks to highlight the benefits students derive from doing internships. FIU students are encouraged to seek out internships by working with FIU Career Services, professors and mentors who can assist in identifying these opportunities. Read more internship profiles here.
Internship opportunities have helped transform Lilian Marrero from a student with a passion for water into a professional with the skills and experience to take on the challenges that await her.
As an undergraduate research assistant at Goddard Space Flight Center for NASA’s Water Science of Coupled Aquatic Processes and Ecosystems from Space (WaterSCAPES), her focus was in assessing the impact of sea level rise. In her second internship with Sullivan International Group, Inc., an applied science, environmental and technology firm that serves both the commercial and government sectors, Marrero had the chance to do more hands-on work, determining whether vapor intrusion was a concern at two different Superfund sites.
“I think the internships have helped me develop not just the technical skills, but also professionally as a person,” said Marrero, who is also a Department of Energy Fellow. “I’m able to interact with clients and government officials, and I feel comfortable being in a position where I have to speak to people. As an engineer, you can get sidetracked into only focusing on the technical side, but one emphasis of these internships is developing people skills, and being outgoing and proactive.”
Marrero is now working on her master’s degree in civil & environmental engineering specializing in water research, after earning her bachelor’s degree at FIU in Spring 2011.
A native of Matanzas, Cuba, Marrero moved to the U.S. with her parents when she was nine years old. As an undergrad at FIU, she got involved with Engineers Without Borders and discovered a love and appreciation for water that has helped focus her career path.
“Water itself is the basis of life,” she said. “You can’t have civilization without potable water supply and good water quality. It’s something at times we take for granted, but it’s essential for our everyday activities.”