Coastal Policy and Restoration Interns
North Carolina first drew me away from my desert roots when I chose to pursue a bachelor’s degree in environmental science and policy at Duke University, where I am a rising senior. Through coastal visits and a semester of international travel courses at the Duke Marine Lab, I have gradually come to recognize a unique synergy between desert and ocean. Both ecosystems grow under constraints (lack of water, high salinity) which interests me in regard to plant life because, in a sense, the organisms have to be stronger than their rain forest relatives. I hope to expand this interest and the realization of unexpected connections while working alongside the innovative and dynamic team at the federation this summer.
I am a rising junior at Duke University studying environmental sciences. Growing up in Connecticut, I was blessed to be able to explore New England’s coast where I developed a passion for fishing and came to appreciate the importance of coastal ecosystems. At Duke, I have been able to explore my passion for the ocean and have enjoyed my classes in marine science and environmental policy. Specifically, I am interested in plastic debris and how micro-plastics impact fish and other marine life. This summer I look forward to learning how an environmental nonprofit operates and hope to develop skills that will help me in an environmental career.
Originally from the landlocked state of Pennsylvania, I don’t remember seeing the ocean until after I was in college. An environmental studies class in high school first sparked my desire to protect the environment, and I chose the marine ecosystem because of how little is known about the ocean. I graduated from the University of Maine in 2017 with a Bachelor of Science in marine science and an honors thesis researching the benefit of using polyculture agriculture to reduce nutrient runoff and hypoxia downstream of farms. Currently, I am a graduate student at Duke University’s Nicholas School of the Environment where I am earning my master’s degree in coastal environmental management. My thesis will assess North Carolina sea turtle rehabilitation programs. This summer I look forward to putting my education into practice with the federation and gaining experience that will follow me as I finish my master’s degree and begin applying to doctoral programs.
Growing up in Eastern North Carolina, paddling the nearby rivers and creeks was a big part of my childhood. This instilled in me a deep appreciation for our state’s amazing natural beauty and showed me that the health of our communities and the surrounding ecological communities go hand-in-hand. Currently, I am a rising junior at East Carolina University, pursuing a major in applied geography and a minor in urban/regional planning, and I am still fascinated by people’s relationship with nature. This summer at the federation, I hope to learn more about coastal ecosystems and low-impact development strategies, as well as get my feet wet building living shorelines. Along the way, I aspire to give a little back to the amazing place I call home.
Northeast Region Interns
Growing up in central North Carolina I have always enjoyed my time at the coast. I spent a good portion of my childhood summers roaming and fishing all over our beautiful coastline. It was while fishing our beaches that I began to understand the impact of pollution and knew that I wanted to be a part of the positive changes to reverse it. As a rising senior at Apex Friendship High School, I look forward to learning more about the federation’s work and the opportunity to help them reach their goals. This summer I will be working to identify areas where rain gardens and other best management practices could be installed in a Nags Head watershed to improve water quality in the sound. I would also like to use this summer to learn more about how conservation efforts by groups like the federation tie back into business opportunities since I hope to pursue a business degree in college.
As a native of the Outer Banks, water has been an integral part of my life and has influenced my involvement with coastal education and preservation. Currently, I am a rising senior at North Carolina State University, majoring in environmental science with a focus in water resources. I am excited to work with the Wanchese office for a second summer, through funding from the Golden LEAF Scholars Leadership Program. This year I will focus on developing and testing a living shoreline data monitoring app to increase the efficiency of collection methods at our project locations. I will also establish regular monitoring of water quality at the office shoreline and assist with outreach events. I look forward to further expanding my knowledge with this remarkable organization and educating others about the significance of protecting our unique ecosystem.
Central Region Intern
Growing up on Long Island not only gave me a great taste for seafood, but also made me appreciate the ocean and its creatures from a personal perspective. I was fortunate enough to be raised on the beach and taught about the importance of the estuaries and ecosystems of the coast, which I became increasingly interested in as I grew up. Although those shores have their charms, I originally came to North Carolina to explore other areas of our beautiful Atlantic coastline. I am currently a rising sophomore attending Stony Brook University in New York, studying marine sciences with a journalism minor. I look forward to learning more about our aquatic ecosystems more this summer at Hammocks Beach State Park and applying it to my own studies in college. We have been studying very similar ecosystems but with different environmental strains, and I hope to apply the conservation lessons and methods learned here to the environment at home.
Southeast Region Interns
As a self-proclaimed “coastal junkie,” I have spent my entire life on one coastal plain or another. Raised on the shores of New Jersey, my love for the beach and the outdoors started to bloom at a young age. I received an undergraduate degree in earth science and mathematics from Salisbury University, where I graduated in 2017. Now I am pursuing a M.S. in geoscience at University of North Carolina Wilmington. My research interests focus on constraining historical (past ~3000 years) rates of relative sea-level rise to better inform coastal management and decision-making for the future. When I am not at UNCW’s Center for Marine Science conducting research or studying, you can find me surfing, fishing or photographing the beautiful beaches of North Carolina. As an intern at federation, I look forward to making a positive impact on our local environment. As Ralph Waldo Emerson so astutely stated, “To know even one life has breathed easier because you have lived. This is to have succeeded.”
I am working on my Master of Science in environmental studies with a concentration in coastal management and conservation. I grew up in a military family so we never were in one place for long. We were always near a coastline though and had access to beaches, from Japan to here in North Carolina. I took a trip to Australia, went diving on the Great Barrier Reef, and it was there that I knew I would protect our coasts for a living. I did whale shark research in Mexico and diving in Bali so this is not only a career path, but a passion of mine as well. I am cliché with believing that if you do what you love then you never work a day in your life. I feel this way with the ocean and our coasts. I am beyond excited to be working with the federation this summer.
I was born and raised in the mountains of Colorado, thousands of miles away from any ocean, but in Colorado I gained great respect and admiration for the natural world. Then, after just one day of snorkeling in Hawaii, I fell in love with the marine environment. That passion for nature and the marine environment is what lead me to go to the University of North Carolina at Wilmington where I am currently pursuing a marine biology degree. Interning for an organization like the federation is allowing me to follow my passion for protecting these amazing places.
I naturally have a deep appreciation and sense of stewardship for the coast as a native Wilmingtonian. As a rising junior at North Carolina State University, I am pursuing a double major in geology with a minor in biology to better understand the processes impacting the coast and its ecosystem. I am also majoring in science education after firsthand Title I educational experiences pushed me to recognize the lack of funding for supplemental opportunities in addition to the different hardships students face. I am excited to intern with the federation through the Z. Smith Reynolds Non-Profit Internship Program as I learn alongside and develop educational opportunities for members of our community.