This summer I have been fortunate enough to have the opportunity to intern with the Sea Turtle Restoration Project in their northern California headquarters office. Walking into work the first day was nerve-racking, but this anxiousness quickly dissipated after I met the friendly staff members and with the realization of all the good that this small organization was doing for sea turtles worldwide. And I cannot wait to be a part of it.
I was born and bred in the bustling of the northeast (about 45 minutes south of New York), and I have constantly been surrounded by friends and family in the business industry. As an undergrad student in Pennsylvania, I was the exception, majoring in environmental studies, as opposed to finance, accounting, and economics. In fact, there were less than 10 environmental studies majors in my graduating class of about 1200! It makes me smile to think about the road that I have taken. The fact is that we really can make a difference, but we need far more people to get on board.
Following my desire to pursue a career in conservation of marine life, I moved to Miami to attend the University of Miami and work towards a master’s of science in Marine Affairs & Policy. Surrounded by students with different passions ranging from sharks to marine mammals to billfish and beyond, it was here that I found my passion as well: Sea Turtles. Finally, I was not alone!
Although I was encouraged to join the Sea Turtle Restoration Project to fulfill a graduation requirement and pursue my thesis research, this thought is now on the back burner. All I can keep thinking is how I can really make a difference this summer! I will be assisting on a campaign to increase protection efforts within the Pacific, primarily in areas of Oceania and the Cocos Corridor. I also have the opportunity to assist in efforts to protect sea turtles within the Gulf of Mexico, harmed by shrimp trawls. But, what I am most excited about is the community outreach; I will have the opportunity to share my passion and knowledge in person with new friends in California and around the world with blogs like this one, social media updates I will be leading, and exciting new web content I plan to develop. With awareness and empathy, will action be taken; and only with meaningful actions, will sea turtle populations be able to be restored.
Although I have only worked here a few days I feel a lot of pride in the work that I am doing this summer. This summer promises to be full of life-changing experiences in which I will be able to help protect an amazing and mysterious animal, the sea turtle!