Ana Soto reflects on her time in mining consulting with SRK
The summer internship is a key component to many undergraduate students’ college experience, and Ana Soto made the most of hers.
Soto is a senior in the Environmental Science department at the University of Arizona and spent her 2022 summer working with SRK Consulting Tucson, a global mining consulting company. She worked on many different projects and got a taste of a variety of responsibilities, one of them being data management.
“It was the first time I worked with this large of data sets, like thousands of rows in Excel,” Soto said. “It was a challenge to learn how to manage all of that and create tables and graphs that would be used for reports with clients and other third parties.”
Other than working with data sets, Soto also had the opportunity to work in the field and collect data of her own. Cori Hoag, manager of the SRK Tucson office and direct supervisor of the internship, said Soto visited a few mining sites, including a historic one that closed about 100 years ago, to collect soil data.
“Ana got exposure to environmental science field data collection and worked directly with an integrated team of scientists and engineers, a great opportunity for undergraduate and graduate students,” Hoag said. “The summer session gives us access to UA students, and she was out here in the hottest part of the year with a great attitude.”
Soto is an international student from Sonora, Mexico and moved to Tucson to attend Pima County Community College, where she earned her associates degree before starting at the University of Arizona.
Although it was a challenge for some parts of the internship, Soto said, her time studying in the Environmental Science department helped prepare her for others.
“It was easier to understand the projects and their background and goals because of my background in environmental science,” Soto said. “I already knew a lot of the concepts from the work I’ve done in the lab and in my classes, and this internship helped solidify those concepts.”
One of her favorite parts of the internship was learning how to use ArcGIS Pro, a software product that offers satellite imagery, which Soto and many others use to map changes at mining sites over time. Soto said her time at SRK changed her perspective on her future goals.
“The internship gave me a better idea of what I want to do in the future,” Soto said. “It definitely left me wanting to explore the area more, so I think I will work for a year or two before coming back for graduate school.”
SRK offers summer internships to undergraduate and graduate students around the world, as well as scholarships for graduate students. According to Hoag, these programs are mutually beneficial for both their company and the students.
“I am always excited to see the UA students come up for review for our internship program every year,” Hoag said. “The student interns are advancing us and moving our projects forward while gaining experience at the same time, so it really is a win for all of us.”