We have a new program assistant here at Sweet Water! Kristin joined the team in August and will be here through next July. This week, Kristin answered some questions about herself and about Lutheran Volunteer Corps.
Where are you from?
Kristin Schoenecker: I’m from Edwardsville, Illinois, which is about a 20 minute drive from St. Louis, Missouri, but I spent the last four years in Rock Island, Illinois, where I earned my B.A. in Geography at Augustana College.
How did you end up in Wisconsin?
KS: My time here in Milwaukee and at Sweet Water was organized by Lutheran Volunteer Corps, or LVC. LVC sends volunteers to different cities around the country to live together in intentional community for a year and serve with local nonprofits. I am living with six other volunteers who have been placed in a variety of locations around the Milwaukee area at organizations such as Sojourner Family Peace Center and Victory Garden Initiative. At its core, an LVC year is an opportunity to learn how to live simply and sustainably and with a mind for social justice and inclusion.
What in particular are you doing at Sweet Water?
KS: I will be a program assistant for many of the various projects that Sweet Water organizes. Just a few of the things I’ll be helping out with are event planning for Sweet Water’s annual Clean Rivers, Clean Lake Conference, communications and outreach for the Respect Our Waters Campaign and the Watershed Watch Newsletter, and research for a project that studies the effects of leaf litter and disposal on phosphorus levels in our watershed.
Have you always been interested in water studies and management?
KS: Although I lived right next to the largest and one of the most altered and managed rivers in the US my whole life, I never really gave water or the Mississippi much thought until I began studying it in college. I took a Water Resources and Management class in which we took a boat out on the Mississippi several times as our “floating classroom”, and my love for studying water began there. In that class we worked on a project in Clinton, IA where we did an educational campaign to inform citizens about how improper stormwater disposal connections were contributing to combined sewer overflows into the Mississippi River. The real-world project opened my eyes to the importance of sustainable water management, and I’m really excited to learn about water management as it pertains to the Great Lakes as I work with Sweet Water.
What do you like to do in your free time?
KS: In my free time you still can’t get me away from the water! I’ve been a competitive swimmer for most of my life, continuing through college, and I still try to swim or otherwise do athletic activities when I have time. I especially like outdoor activities such as hiking and kayaking.
Do you have plans for the years after your LVC year is over?
KS: While I’m not completely sure where I’ll be for the next five years, I’ve wanted to be a geography professor for a long time, so in the next few years I’ll probably end up back in school to get my masters and eventually my PhD!