Summer Interns Help Center, Gain Experience
08/06/13 by Juanita Teschner
Summer Interns Help Center, Gain Experience
Five interns worked on everything from the Campaign for Clean Air to the National Environmental Summit at the Center for the Environment this summer.
Duke University Stanback Internships
Helen Wu and Dave Grace, Duke University Stanback interns, did considerable research on future Faith, Spirituality and Environmental Stewardship Workshops, conducted a Campaign for Clean Air workshop and helped with the Third Annual National Environmental Summit for High School Students, held July 9-13.
Wu, a native of China who is a student in Duke’s East Asian Studies Graduate Program, and Grace, a California native who is pursuing concurrent graduate degrees in Duke’s Nicholas School of the Environment and the university’s Divinity School, interviewed congregants in several Salisbury churches on elements of environmental stewardship and offered recommendations for future workshops at the Center and in other locations. They planned and orchestrated a community Campaign for Clean Air painting workshop and also helped with recruitment and provided logistical support for the National Environmental Summit.
Wu noted that she gained a greater appreciation for the role of education in promoting environmental stewardship. “Education plays such a significant role,” she says. “The earlier the awareness is established and the more persistent we are, the higher the likelihood that we will have environmentally responsible youth.”
Wu learned the importance of teamwork through her internship. Her increased knowledge about sustainability has prompted her to “keep track of industry development in China,” she says. “This new knowledge allows me to appreciate a larger picture within a globalized context.”
Grace said he gained “great experience” in community-based conservation initiatives: “Experience of this nature in my field of study is critical for grounding my studies in the day-to-day realities of sustainability education and outreach generally and especially in the conversation between faith and sustainability.”
His blog about his internship can be accessed at http://blogs.nicholas.duke.edu/internshipsblogs/interning-at-the-center-for-the-environment/.
Catawba College Internship
Catawba student Colleen Smiley continued her work on K-12 teacher resources on the Campaign for Clean Air’s website. Her primary focus is the addition of a resource site called Symbaloo, which shares information and lesson plans from teachers and resources like Cambridge University and NASA.
“It is a visual bookmarking application that lets the Center create multiple tabs for organizing lesson plans based on the environment,” she says. The site also offers links to articles as well as PowerPoints.
“This site allows teachers to access education materials on all grade levels as well as disciplines, so math and language arts as well as science teachers will find useful lesson plans,” she says.
Smiley also helped with the National Environmental Summit.
Since she entered college years after she graduated from high school, she brings an experienced perspective to her internship. “I have learned that we must look at the world as a whole,” she says. “Unless we all make changes, nothing will change. You’re too old to learn only when you stop listening to the world around you.”
Robert Noyce Scholarship Program Internships
The National Science Foundation’s Robert Noyce Scholarship Program, a joint venture of Catawba College and Rowan-Cabarrus Community College (RCCC), funded the internships of Leslie Brown and Alex Lopez-Guitierrez.
Brown, who serves as student body president at RCCC, focused on the Campaign for Clean Air during her time at the Center and, in fact, plans to continue working with the Center as she promotes the initiative at RCCC during the 2013-14 academic year.
During her internship, she contacted officials at public and private schools in Rowan and Cabarrus counties about No Idling programs to reduce air pollution. She is promoting no idling on the six RCCC campuses and has requested that environmental biology classes at RCCC show the documentary on the Yadkin River called “A River Runs through Us.” In addition, she has secured a speaker from the Center for RCCC’s Environmental Day in January; has requested that the school’s Automotive Department offer gas cap check events; and is further promoting recycling at the school.
Brown acknowledges that she learned much more about the effects of air pollution than she knew before she began the internship. “Ozone affects even the person who is supposedly healthy,” she says.
She also learned about the many ways the Center and Catawba College are advancing environmental stewardship. She has been particularly impressed with the workshops on faith and the environment, the on-campus Stanback Ecological Preserve and the geo-thermal heating and air conditioning system on campus.
Brown will graduate next May with an associate degree in science and plans, after additional study, to become a parasitologist.
Lopez-Guitierrez, an RCCC student, helped Smiley with the Symbaloo resource, focusing primarily on K-5 education since he plans to become an elementary education teacher. He also helped with recruitment and logistical support for the National Environmental Summit.