Freshwater resources are critical features of the landscape and are threatened by many phenomena (e.g., eutrophication, invasive species, climate change, acid rain). The importance of fresh waters requires that scientists continually improve their tactics and technologies for broader understanding. Increasing use of automated sensors to collect environmental data creates a need for training of environmental scientists. In this paper, we present case studies based on a doctoral training program. For each case study presented, the goals and overall recommendations for adaptation to other programs are discussed. Case studies were selected based on recommendations of external evaluators of the program, the perceived value of the particular case study to the overall program, and the desire to provide case studies that were illustrative of the primary objectives of the project. We conclude that training of scientists in this area requires a consideration of the technology behind the sensors, proper usage of this technology, the technology development process, data management, and technology transfer. In addition to sensor-specific attributes of our program, we also have gained insight into the process of professional development for graduate students and how students can work across disciplines and universities. Our key suggestion for achieving inter-disciplinary training is to give students a common problem to tackle and the tools to do so. To ensure that these efforts are successful, identification of a group leader and provision of an opportunity for bonds and relationships to develop is vital.