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Unlocking nature’s secrets

Courtesy photo.

Northeastern University freshman Steffi Klosterman completed her first experiential learning opportunity even before she arrived on campus in the fall.

For two weeks this summer, Klosterman volunteered at the Institute of Arctic Biology’s Toolik Field Station in northern Alaska. The secluded station is located more than 350 miles north of Fairbanks in the northern foothills of the Brooks Range.

At the field station, Klosterman worked alongside scientists studying climate change. She helped set up experiments that measured the methane levels in nearby lakes and compared sunlight and oxygen intake in algae. Later, she graphed the data for the researchers. Even washing bottles that held water or mud samples helped open her eyes to conducting field research.

“I’m incredibly interested in that process, in which you’re unlocking the secrets of nature,” Klosterman explained. “You’re basically unraveling how these ecosystems work, and you can apply that knowledge to all kinds of study.”

Klosterman developed an interest in nature at an early age. At 5, she began collecting rocks, a hobby inspired by her geologist mother. Her father, Steven Klosterman, is the industry relations and engineering leadership director in the College of Engineering’s dean’s office at Northeastern.

This summer, Steffi Klosterman earned her Wilderness First Aid certification; she is currently working toward becoming a certified Emergency Medical Technician.

At Northeastern, Klosterman plans to complete more experiential learning opportunities through co-op and field research. She is majoring in political science and pursuing a minor in environmental science. Together, she said, the two disciplines present many exciting areas to explore, such as urban policy and resource management.

“Sustainability ties to everything we do,” Klosterman said. “As far as urban policy goes, it’s one of the biggest issues we’re facing. As populations grow, how we can maintain our standard of living even as we’re draining our resources?”

Klosterman hopes to work both in the community and in far-flung parts of the world. She expressed interested in studying abroad or completing a co-op in a Spanish-speaking country.

“I want a global experience to get that cultural immersion,” Klosterman said.

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