Kaissa Inzunza Fonseca, who goes by Kai for short, studies environmental planning at Central New Mexico College. Kai is originally from Omaha, Nebraska, but she currently lives in Albuquerque, New Mexico. She plans to transfer to the University of New Mexico this fall to continue her studies in geology alongside environmental planning as it relates to risk assessment.
This summer, Kaissa is working with a team in New Mexico to build a data collection on the local aquifer that’s accessible to the public. The team is reviewing information from different well logs, sorting through them to determine whether wells are commercial or industrial, the depth of water in the area, and the precise location of the well. Ultimately, the team plans to digitize the information and upload the findings to Google Earth, making it most accessible to the general public.
- How did you hear about EarthScope, and what piqued your interest in the program?
My human geography teacher came into my class one day and was talking about this internship program, and I caught the tail end of the conversation. She encouraged me to apply if I was interested, and she offered to help me through the application process. She advised me to have fun with the process, and we were both shocked I got the internship. I had recently taken my first geology class, and I was excited to keep learning and seeing the ways new information overlapped with things I had already learned.
- What’s been your favorite part about the internship experience so far?
I’m a very social person, and I really enjoy interacting with people and picking their brains. With the other interns, we aren’t all studying the same kind of work but we all have very similar interests. Everybody’s really environmentally focused, and I really like seeing how everyone applies their unique knowledge and thinking to the project. We all get all along really well, and it’s so fun to nerd out with other people that are interested in the same things. The environment is so inviting, and it makes you comfortable being wrong or not knowing the answer to some questions. People always make the effort to explain things in a way you understand, and hopefully I can help somebody else understand that information in the future.
Apart from her interests in environmental planning and geoscience, Kai enjoys hula hooping in the mountains of New Mexico; she often goes on hikes and brings her hula hoop with her, hooping when she reaches the top of the mountain to take in the sights and nature around her. She also enjoys painting and cooking her own vegan meals, making everything from scratch. At the conclusion of her internship, Kai is planning to continue working on her coursework and complete scholarship applications. The internship has allowed her to take a break from coursework while simultaneously continuing to learn new things, giving her the chance to determine what she wants to do next. Kai hopes this internship will guide her academic pursuits, either prompting her to continue in GIS and environmental planning or to shift to something different.