RSU Biology Students Selected for Summer Internships with Grand River Dam Authority

RSU Biology students Katrina Sherrick (from left) and Caden Lyons with RSU Assistant Professor of Biology Dr. Cheyanne Olson.

RSU Biology students Katrina Sherrick (from left) and Caden Lyons with RSU Assistant Professor of Biology Dr. Cheyanne Olson.

Two Rogers State University Biology students have been selected for summer internships with the Ecosystems and Watershed Management Department of the Grand River Dam Authority (GRDA) in Langley.

Katrina Sherrick of Claremore and Caden Lyons of Miami, both students in the Bachelor of Science in biology-environmental conservation degree option at RSU, have been named internship recipients.

Student interns assist the GRDA management team during the summer months in their stewardship of the natural resources of the Grand River watershed, as well as Oklahoma’s six Scenic Rivers: Flint Creek in Delaware County; Illinois River in Adair, Delaware, and Cherokee Counties; Barren Fork Creek in Adair and Cherokee Counties; Upper Mountain Fork River above the 600-foot elevation level of Broken Bow Reservoir in McCurtain and LeFlore Counties; Big Lee Creek in Sequoyah County; and Little Lee Creek in Adair and Sequoyah Counties.

Interns gain valuable experience in wet lab methodology, data management, and a variety of field techniques in limnology, the study of the biological, chemical, and physical features of lakes and other bodies of fresh water.

“I’m looking forward to the skills I can gain while working with GRDA this summer, regarding water quality and aquatic sciences,” Sherrick said. “It’s also cool that we’ll be working with at least one RSU alumnus, Dustin Browning, and get to see where people from the program I’m in can work. Plus, GRDA is a local entity, so I’ll spend my summer working to help monitor a local resource.”

Browning is an RSU biology graduate and was a GRDA intern in 2015, which led to his full-time job as a biologist with GRDA.

Lyons is equally enthused about the internship.

“I first learned about the internship through my limnology professor, Dr. (Cheyanne) Olson, who recommended it to students interested in water conservation,” he said. “From there, I was exposed to GRDA’s operations when Dustin came to RSU and lectured our limnology class about the operations and responsibilities at GRDA.

“I’m looking forward to meeting new people working towards conservations and looking forward to working in the environment,” Lyons said. “I hope to meet new people, learn from them, and possibly make new connections for opportunities in the future.”

Following the internship, Sherrick and Lyons will be heading into their senior years at RSU.

After graduation, Sherrick hopes to work in water quality resources. Lyons hopes to work for a governmental organization, such as the National Fish and Wildlife Service, National Parks Service or the U.S. Forestry Service.

Grand River Dam Authority is an agency of the state of Oklahoma created to control, develop and maintain the Grand River waterway. It was created in 1935 by the Oklahoma state legislature and was designed to be self-funding from the sale of electricity and water.

Part of GRDA’s present day mission is providing clean electricity to the region and drinking water to the communities of northeast Oklahoma, while prioritizing environmental stewardship.

The Ecosystems and Watershed Management Department was created in 2004 to provide a greater focus on lake management issues, and in 2012, RSU became a GRDA “Partner in Conservation and Restoration.”

Over the past 12 years, this alliance has offered numerous research and learning opportunities for faculty and students, with some of this research being shared with regional and statewide audiences. Since 2007, a total of 19 RSU biology students have participated in GRDA’s summer internship program.

For more information about degree options in biology at Rogers State University, visit