After completing classroom work, students spend ten additional Saturdays to participate in field research work, developing a water quality- or meteorology-related project to be presented at a research/scientific conference. Instructions are provided on chemical analysis and chemical data expression, as well as the role of various chemical and physical factors and their effects upon biota and overall water quality and human health implications thereof. Students participate in monitoring of water quality in the Pearl River and the Ross Barnett reservoir.
Field trips are also undertaken to the Grand Bay National Estuarine Research Reserve in Moss Point, Mississippi, where students are provided the opportunity to familiarize themselves with various habitat types of the Grand Bay NERR ecosystems, to do sampling and processing for fish and to use dichotomous keys to identify fish species. Moreover, they may have the opportunity to visit the Museum of Natural Sciences in Jackson, Mississippi, as well as the Aquarium of the Americas in New Orleans, Louisiana.
Students also participate in monitoring the meteorology station at Jackson State University. Rainwater samples are collected following any Friday through Saturday mid-morning precipitation events and analyzed by students to determine the pH in order to identify acidity level as it influences the potential for environmental pollution, especially by toxic metals. From the observations, local temperature and precipitation patterns are identified and used to enhance the local Climatic Record. Introduction to both radar and satellite data sets collected during precipitation events solidify student understanding and comprehension of individual meteorological elements and both local and synoptic weather patterns.
Students also visit NOAA National Weather Service station in Jackson, where they are given a tour of weather service facilities including surface weather, upper air, radar and satellites. They are also briefed on weather observations and analysis using surface, upper air, radar and satellite data for daily weather and severe weather forecasts.