Out West student blog

Exploring the Bay Model Visitor Center

Tesfa Madhin looks up from his laptop at his desk and smiles at the camera

Tesfa Madhin (he/him)
Hometown: Whittier, CA

Major: International Relations ‘25

Internship: U.S. Army Corps of Engineers

Tesfa Madhin visits the Army Corps of Engineers’ Bay Model Visitor Center in Sausalito, California, which hosts a working hydraulic model of the San Francisco Bay and Sacramento-San Joaquin River Delta System

The Army Corps of Engineers built and operates the Bay Model in Sausalito, CA, a scale model of the San Francisco Bay Estuary used to predict how waterflow changes in response to levee construction, dredging, and development of other water infrastructure. As someone interested in fighting against the damaging effects of climate change, my internship with the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers has given me a tremendous opportunity. As an intern with the Corps, I helped to host a conference with levee operators across the region at the Bay Model to increase cooperation between the federal government and non-federal operators of levees. This conference centered on providing levee operators a forum to ask questions, discuss amongst themselves, and refresh their knowledge on key regulation. It also facilitated greater cooperation between the federal government, a key partner in levee construction, and local agencies primarily responsible for maintaining these levees. This increased cooperation will make the massive challenge of fighting off the impacts of climate change easier and more streamlined. 

Along with helping to host the conference, the internship has given me an amazing opportunity to meet others passionate about the environment. The Corps has a large and talented staff all dedicated to their work and having the ability to talk to and learn from them has enhanced my knowledge and given me a better sense of direction for my future career. Along with talented staff, I have worked alongside a cohort of other interested interns from across the nation who are just as passionate as I am and whom I have learned much from. The friendliness and openness of those around me at the Corps has taught me the value of human connections when attempting to solve any problem or get anything done. I hope to take this newfound insight into any future career I may pursue. 

Recent Center News

The Biden Administration helps coal towns embrace clean energy; gray wolves move back into Southern California; two tribes prompt a pause in construction of an energy transmission line in Arizona; state authorities block efforts to move towards more sustainable water use; a burning tundra releases methane into the atmosphere; and other environmental news from around the American West.
On Nov. 29 at the Commonwealth Club of California, Bruce Cain discussed his new book on sustaining the American West in the face of grave threats from climate change.
In remembering the late Sandra Day O'Connor, BA '50, LLB '52, the Bill Lane Center for the American West reflects on the remarkable legacy of this trailblazing Supreme Court Justice, with gratitude for her service to the Western region.