Shianne Gruss: Uncovering Sustainability in Iowa

As the first Iowa NSF EPSCoR communications intern to work out of the Iowa City area, Shianne Gruss is looking forward to covering alternative energy topics and events in Eastern Iowa throughout summer 2014. She will begin her senior year as a journalism student at the University of Iowa in the fall.

During her second semester of college, Gruss was drawn toward sustainability issues while taking an introduction to environmental science course under the instruction of EPSCoR researcher Adam Ward. A semester later, she began pursuing a certificate in sustainability.

[IMAGE] Shianne Gruss profile

“There’s a part of me that wishes I were a scientist or researcher myself,” Gruss says. “I’m happy to use my journalism skills and experience to become a science writer instead.”

Before beginning her internship at EPSCoR, Gruss worked briefly as a communications assistant at the University of Iowa IIHR—Iowa Hydroscience and Engineering office. At IIHR she covered research areas in flood detection, mitigation, and prediction.

She also spent a semester abroad in Valparaíso, Chile and became increasingly interested in ocean ecosystems while living along the South Pacific coast.

From Water to Wind Energy

While her primary sustainability interests are water quality and quantity issues, she is eager to learn more about wind energy, energy utilization, and policy in Iowa. Throughout the summer, Gruss will be interviewing several EPSCoR researchers, writing news and science articles, assisting with the promotion of the program through social media platforms, and producing videos.

She is also passionate about the organization’s involvement within local area schools, since communicating environmental issues with young people is an endeavor she’d like to pursue after graduation.

“I believe anyone can be part of the worldwide movement away from fossil fuels and toward a deeper care for our environment,” she says.

Gruss also enjoys gardening, biking, and volunteering for a local food rescue organization, Table to Table. In the past, she has worked for the student newspaper, The Daily Iowan, and at Lincoln Elementary as a before school Spanish teacher.