Hi, everyone! My name is Victoria Williams and I am a rising junior at the University of Richmond. I am majoring in Environmental Studies with a Bachelors of Science, and double minoring in Spanish and Anthropology. I am from Baltimore-Annapolis, Maryland; however, I have been fortunate to call Richmond my home for the past 2 years! This summer I have the wonderful opportunity to intern with the James River Association, working with Lower James Riverkeeper Jamie Brunkow, as the Water Quality Program Intern.  I am super excited to get to explore the city of Richmond more in depth and spend my days working on the James River.

Here’s a little more information about who I am and what I like to do. I am the oldest of 5 siblings. I love to stay on my toes and completing tasks are the highlights of my day! Whenever I can, I try to get outside because it is my favorite place to be. I love lakes, rivers, the ocean, practically any body of water, which is why my position as the Water Quality  Program Intern is so fitting. I also love to travel. I have been to El Salvador, Jamaica, the Dominican Republic, Belize, and this coming semester I am fortunate enough to be studying abroad in Panama. While there I will be studying tropical ecology through the School for Field Studies Program. Other than being passionate about the environment, I have a heart for people. I love getting to know new people and building relationships with those around me. Seeing intentional relationships and having the opportunity to facilitate them are things I strive to do on a daily basis.  

So enough about me and more about my job. As the Water Quality Program Intern my job is to help the JRA staff implement the water quality monitoring program in the Richmond region. My specific tasks include developing knowledge of protocols and methods for E. Coli bacteria testing, and overseeing weekly monitoring at sites on the James River throughout Richmond. This role also manages and trains a team of volunteers, coordinating with them directly to ensure the success of the Water Quality Monitoring project. Another important component of this position is maintaining JRA’s online data reporting system – the James River Watch. The site is the public’s way to gain information on whether or not the areas of the river are safe to swim in based on conditions like bacteria and water levels. It has been a pleasure working with members of the community and having the opportunity to provide service to those who call the James River home.

In addition to my responsibilities as a Water Quality Program Intern, I have been fortunate enough to learn more about JRA and work to continue its mission. It has truly been amazing to see how much this organization has done and impacted the health of the James over the past 40 years. It has been even more amazing that I have had the opportunity to assist in projects dealing with regional advocacy, restoration, or education that perpetuate the organization’s success and longevity. I have enjoyed every moment at JRA!