Created and edited by Easton Lane 25C
Alexis German 25C
Internship Organization: Yellow River Wildlife Sanctuary
Over summer 2022, Alexis German interned at the Yellow River Wildlife Sanctuary, specializing in animal care for primates and other animals. When she started looking for internships in spring 2022, German was undecided on which path to pursue, but she knew that she wanted something “hands-on,” immersed in the environment. As she had driven by the Yellow River Wildlife Sanctuary on trips between Emory and her hometown, she decided to email the organization about an internship position even though there were no postings, leading to an interview and her hire.
On the job, German was tasked with the feeding, diet prep, medication distribution, enclosure cleaning, and the creation of daily enrichment opportunities for primates and other animals. As someone who had never worked in animal care before, she was not sure about what to expect, but thanks to an environment in which inquiry and engagement were encouraged, German’s curiosity flourished. Describing the atmosphere at Yellow River Wildlife Sanctuary as “very positive,” she notes how looked forward to working with animals and visitors every day.
Though German came into her internship not knowing what career path she wanted to pursue, she emerged with a better idea of her practical interests, mainly that no matter what field she ends up working in, she wants to be working with animals.
“Making a personal connection with these animals made me absolutely sure that I will do what I can in my future profession to ensure that, moving forward, the world we live in is one that naturally supports all aspects of these endangered animals’ health,” she says.
Audrey DeRossett 23C
Starting her search for a summer 2022 internship during winter 2021, Audrey DeRossett took her interest in working at National Parks and found an internship at Mammoth Cave National Park through the Greening Youth Foundation, an organization focused on connecting underserved people with environmental internships. Like other internships at National Parks, DeRossett was employed by a third-party organization like the GYF, whom she represented while working at Mammoth Cave in the Environmental Education and Interpretation Departments.
DeRossett spent most of her time leading educational tours of the cave system and conducting activities on the surface designed to teach about Mammoth Cave’s scientific and historical features. Regularly leading spelunking tours, she was responsible for guiding groups as large as 100+ through the longest cave in the world, and by the 12-week mark, she was leading tours independently. The internship pushed DeRossett out of her comfort zone in daunting but ultimately beneficial ways as she developed public speaking skills and the ability to think fast under pressure.
“You really learn a lot about yourself when you are 300 feet underground, crawling in tight spaces just big enough for a person, squished in the middle of 12 middle schoolers, trying to convince them that you will get them out of the barely lit, winding maze of tunnels safely,” DeRossett says.
Although she aims to pursue a career in environmental law, DeRossett’s experience at Mammoth Cave helped her develop transferable skills in unconventional ways, sparking her growth as a leader, public speaker, and voice for the environment. Spending every day in a place as beautiful as Mammoth Cave and educating visitors on its importance is an opportunity DeRossett would recommend to any prospective student, especially those interested in environmental education and National Parks.
Anyssa Fernandez 23C
In addition to zoology and fieldwork, Emory ENVS students got involved in internships that focused on research and data science. Anyssa Fernandez interned for the PIN Smart Community Corps over summer 2022, partnered with Georgia Tech’s Serve, Learn, and Sustain program. Fernandez began her search for internships in January 2022, finding the opportunity at PIN through the Georgia Climate Project page.
Fernandez’s internship involved using her research and data science skills to work with the Working Farms Fund and Georgia Organics on projects integral to their future plans. For the WFF, she created QGIS maps and conducted a case study for one of WFF’s partners, and for Georgia Organics, Fernandez researched and architected a program for the organization to implement for their farming apprenticeship in Georgia. All of this work culminated with a cumulative presentation for the PIN community at Microsoft.
Taking part in this internship was an impactful experience for Fernandez, giving her a greater appreciation for the skills she has picked up through Emory’s ENVS program and helping her make connections with environmental organizations in Atlanta. She also emerged with an even greater passion for innovation and sustainability, hoping to use her experience at PIN to land a job in the sustainability field after college.
“Being able to see my work used directly by the people I worked for was inspiring. I got to see my actions make a difference and was treated like an equal within the organization,” Fernandez says, illustrating the self-affirming power that a great internship can have. As she looks toward future careers, Fernandez will take the skills she learned at PIN with her.
Amelia Tamez 24C
Amelia Tamez’s summer 2022 experience showed that it’s possible to manage two internship opportunities simultaneously. Working as a Watershed Education Researcher and Writer at the Captain Planet Foundation and as an Agroforestry Intern at the West Atlanta Watershed Alliance. Tamez started her internship search at the beginning of 2022, finding opportunities through ENVS Academic Coordinator Leah Thomas’s emails. When she didn’t get hired at the first ones she had applied for, Tamez refused to give up and submitted applications to CPF and WAWA, getting hired at both.
At CPF and WAWA, Tamez managed many projects at once, including the Project Hero program that focused on civic engagement in the Hackensack River Watershed, located in New York and New Jersey. Tamez’s internships gave her hands-on experience developing content and educating younger activists. Clocking over 330 hours between both organizations, Tamez gained a great amount of professional experience within the fields of environmental justice, management, and education.
“My opportunity at CPF increased my capabilities of working on more than one project at once and how to use my specific skill set to assist in developing projects, while the internship at WAWA showed me how a fun and welcoming work family can increase work ethic and the passion for justice,” she says.
As an employee of two different environmental organizations, Tamez’s summer offered her a unique opportunity to figure out where her interests in environmental sciences truly were, and she remarked that it was “comforting to know” that careers in environmental science don’t necessarily require extensive experience in research or post-graduate education, even though she’s interested in pursuing both in the future.
Morgan Finch 23C
Internship Organization: Emory Office of Sustainability Initiatives
Morgan Finch engaged with environmental science internships right at Emory, serving as the Gardens and General Sustainability Intern for the Emory Office of Sustainability Initiatives (OSI) over summer 2022. Although all internships must be completed outside of Emory, OSI is the one exception. She began looking for her internship at the start of the spring 2022 semester, seeking a program in which she would be able to gain hands-on experience with sustainability initiatives.
OSI provided both a focus on public health and hands-on experience in sustainability for Finch, whose role as an intern was to help maintain the seven educational gardens spread across Emory’s campus and serve as an advocate for waste outreach and education. The opportunity also allowed Finch to connect with those of similar interests, giving her the chance to make a positive, direct impact on Emory’s campus.
Finch has also stayed on as a fall intern during the fall 2022 semester, where she serves as the OSI Sustainability Programming & Outreach Intern, coordinating with campus organizations to promote sustainability across campus. These opportunities have also led her to an internship with the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, helping to develop the Office of Children’s Health Protection’s Climate Adaptation Implementation Plan and contributing to a project working to design a “climate change indicator for children’s environmental health.”
Eyeing employment prospects after graduation, Finch’s internships at OSI have helped her gain valuable experience and learn what it means to have a job in sustainability. Finch plans to move forward with an emphasis on public health because as she says, “sustainability is intertwined with human health and critical to advancing environmental justice,” and OSI has aided her in taking the first steps down that career path.
The Green Careers Internship Fund aims to support students as they gain work experience that will help them pursue environmentally related careers. The fund provides a stipend to support students who would otherwise be unable to afford to participate in sustainability/environmentally related career development internships. Internships may be in any organization (government, commercial or non-profit), and funds are used to supplement students’ income during a summer or semester. As part of completing the internship, students must enroll in the ENVS 497 “Internship Program” and complete a minimum of 160 hours of work in the internship. To learn more, contact email@example.com.