Summertime is a great time for college students and recent graduates to learn more about subjects they are considering for future study or career paths. The NOAA Chesapeake Bay Office traditionally hosts a handful of talented students from around the country for 12-week summer internships. This summer, we are hosting interns in a blend of remote and in-person settings. Each intern works with mentors who provide guidance for their Chesapeake Bay-focused projects and collaborates with our experts.
Interns gain knowledge and experience, and NOAA benefits from having another talented staff member for the summer. Internship topics are developed each year by our staff. Each intern focuses on a needed project that might otherwise not happen due to time and resource constraints. So every intern’s project contributes to the health of the Chesapeake!
We partner with the Chesapeake Research Consortium to make these internships possible. Several are through their C-StREAM (Chesapeake Student Recruitment, Early Advisement, and Mentoring) program for students of color and/or who are first-generation college students.
Let’s learn more about this year’s talented class of interns!
Marcelina, who will be a sophomore at Washington College (Maryland) in the fall, is majoring in environmental science. She is our environmental literacy intern this year.
While she knows she wants to go into the environmental field for her career, exactly how and where are still to be determined. So when she heard about the NOAA internship program from her college and from her peer mentor, she decided to give it a look.
“While working as the Environmental Literacy intern this summer I hope to learn as much as I can about the different positions available surrounding environmental education,” Marcelina said. “I was lucky enough to have participated in several different environmental education programs throughout my time in middle and high school that were really crucial in growing my love for the environment and the Chesapeake Bay.”
We agree with Marcelina that the Chesapeake is a great place to live and work. Marcelina shared: “My favorite thing about the Chesapeake Bay is how many different kinds of ecosystems you can find relatively close to each other. I love being able to hike in the forest and then drive an hour and go kayaking in the marshes.”
Michaela will be a junior at Pitzer College (one of the Claremont Colleges in southern California) in the fall. She is a double major in American studies and environmental analysis.
For New Englander Michaela, the Chesapeake is like a second home because she has family here. She has been motivated to consider an environmental life for years.
“My concern for environmental issues began while attending elementary school on a farm in Vermont. We did farm chores every morning—things like collecting eggs, herding sheep, milking cows—and I fell in love with the animals and with being outside. Since then, I've also fallen in love with the natural environments in the places I've lived, and want to work to protect them. I also love the interdisciplinary aspect of environmental science; my internship is a great example of how environmental science and social science are intertwined!”
“I love being surrounded by water in the Chesapeake Bay region! I love all types of water activities—swimming, kayaking, sailing, SCUBA diving, etc.—and they are all so accessible here,” she said. So when she found our internship opportunity online, she was excited to find an internship focused on the region.
Michaela’s internship focuses on a new topic for our internship offerings: traditional ecological knowledge. She has taken a few classes about indigenous knowledge and history and wants to explore these topics further.
“I'm excited to explore how it can be used in tandem with conventional science and academic knowledge to help with natural resource conservation and climate resilience. I also want to explore how this can be done in a way that's equitable and beneficial to all, and hope my work helps to show the value of non-academic forms of knowledge!”
Anna, who will be a senior at Duke University (North Carolina) this fall, is studying environmental science with a focus on environmental resilience. Anna is an Arizona native who was fascinated by estuaries, like the Chesapeake Bay, a few years ago.
“During high school, I spent a transformative 2 weeks at an environmental leadership summer camp in Rhode Island. I have fond memories of wading into Narragansett Bay at night to catch bioluminescent comb jellyfish, stargazing, and community sing-alongs. I saw firsthand how nature could bring people together and nourish the soul, and I wanted to be a part of that. Studying ecological resilience and restoration teaches me how we can protect the environment for future communities.”
Anna is getting a hands-on experience with the Chesapeake this summer as our field intern. She found out about the field internship online through our partnership with the Chesapeake Research Consortium’s C-StREAM program. She’s eager to take a big picture look at how people experience the environment—and to grow her experiences, too.
“I am inspired by the environmental justice movement’s definition of the environment as ‘the places we live, work, and play.’ Taking a holistic view of an environment like the Chesapeake Bay will empower us to address complex ecological issues,” she said. “Whether I’m conducting oyster restoration fieldwork, learning about traditional ecological knowledge from other interns, or paddleboarding around the Eastern Shore, I can't wait to see how I grow as an ecologist.”
Anna connects to ecosystems she is in: “My favorite time of year in Arizona is the late summer monsoon season. I love the earthy smell of wild rain, and the combination of indigo clouds and golden sunlight. When the monsoons come, bringing much-needed rain to the desert, I feel more alive.”
Katie just graduated from North Carolina State University and will start her Ph.D. work at the University of Miami in the fall. Her degree is in physics and marine science with a physics concentration, and she minored in mathematics. She will focus on air-sea interactions and remote sensing for her Ph.D. She’s with us this summer as our data analysis and visualization intern.
The Chesapeake Bay is Katie’s home ecosystem, and she’s eager to focus on the Bay for her internship. “The courses I took at N.C. State focused on estuaries in North Carolina, and I was interested in learning more about the Chesapeake Bay and the waterways that have an impact on my family's home and well being,” she said.
“The Chesapeake Bay was always used as a great example of a flourishing drowned river valley estuary. I find the diversity of species that exist in the Chesapeake Bay very interesting and I cannot wait to learn more.”
This internship gives Katie the opportunity to apply what she has studied. “I have developed coding skills throughout college, and the projects I have worked on have always centered around modeling and hypothetical scenarios. I am very excited to create visualizations that use real data that is collected in real time because it means so much more to the community.”
She was motivated to go into environmental science because her parents are scientists. She has always enjoyed their discussions about their experiments and general scientific topics.
“In high school, I noticed I had an aptitude for math and physical sciences, so I decided to combine what I was passionate about (marine science) with what I am good at (math and physics),” she noted.
Jackson will be a senior this fall at Louisiana State University (LSU), where he is majoring in natural resource ecology and management, and minoring in Spanish.
This summer, Jackson is diving in with us to explore climate and coastal resilience.
“I want to experience what it is like working in the field of environmental policy and restoration planning. After spending a lot of time doing research at LSU, I want to see what it is like to work on the implementation side of environmental science with restoration projects,” he explained.
We’re sure glad he did, as he is motivated to make a difference: “I fell in love with the Chesapeake Bay during my time spent wading through tidal creeks and catching minnows with friends as a kid. Then, when I learned in school about the threats facing the Chesapeake Bay, I felt that I needed to learn more about how to take action,” he said.
And he knows that a healthy Bay pays big dividends in many ways, too.
“I truly treasure the seafood that comes from the Chesapeake Bay. From oysters to soft shell crabs and rockfish, there are so many amazing options,” he said. We certainly agree!