Category Archives: Sustainability, Energy & Nature

Sea Turtle Rescue at the South Carolina Aquarium

Original posted contributed by Aren Carpenter ’18, recipient of the Jolley Foundation Internship Grant for summer 2017.

This summer I had the amazing opportunity to volunteer at the South Carolina Aquarium in Charleston thanks to a Jolley Foundation grant. I spent about half of my time working in the Sea Turtle Rescue Hospital that treats stranded, injured, and ill sea turtles from the entire east coast. It was an incredibly productive summer for the hospital this year; we treated more than 30 sea turtles and were able to release several just in the time that I was there. There are few experiences more rewarding. The staff and volunteers have such passion for these animals and it was a real pleasure being able to work with them to make a real difference for these turtles. I was involved with the daily care (feeding, cleaning, medical procedures, etc.) of the sea turtles and I was the primary caregiver for 12 terrapins, an estuarine turtle that I was using for research.

Terrapins are near threatened in several South Carolina populations and my research allowed me to study their interactions with crab traps, a leading cause of their aren-carpenterdeclines in the area. I conducted a series of tests on these terrapins and I am planning to submit my findings for publication later this year! Hopefully, my research can help mitigate terrapin deaths in the future. My previous exposure with terrapins also allowed me to start a biweekly terrapin educational program at the aquarium geared for younger children and teenagers. I was told by several of my supervisors that many guests commented that they loved the chance to have hands-on experiences with terrapins, so I believe it was a successful endeavor! As one of my professors used to comment, ‘you never know when one experience, however brief, could inspire a kid to be the next biologist or vet or scientist’. I’d like to think that I was allowing the thousands of kids I talked with to have such an experience.

In all, my summer was everything I hoped it would be. I can’t say enough how thankful I am to the Jolley Foundation for allowing me to expand my horizons, if you will, by exploring new career paths and making a difference in the lives of turtles and aquarium goers alike this summer.

Get to Know the Center for Career Development

2015 Center for Career Development Staff
2015 Center for Career Development Staff

Welcome back!  While we enjoyed a little break this summer, we are excited that campus is back to normal.  We took advantage of the quiet to do a little restructuring, plan some programming, connect with new employers, and just a few other things.  So, meet our staff and some of the great resources in the Center for Career Development!

Nathan Elton, Director
Nathan Elton, Director

Nathan’s Favorite CCD Resource: Davidson Career Advisor Network (DCAN) Some of the most common career advice you will hear is to talk to professionals in potential or identified career areas of interest.  Through DCAN there are over 800 Davidson alumni and parents who have signed up to share career advice, look over your resume, or prepare you for an upcoming interview.  Jobs and internships can be tough to land, but by using these connections you will know more about career fields that match your interests and abilities, and be better prepared for securing a position.

Jamie Johnson, Associate Director for Career Development
Jamie Johnson, Associate Director for Career Development

Jamie’s Favorite CCD Resource: Myers Briggs Type Indicator All of us have uniquely different personalities. The MBTI assessment will help give you a better understanding of your own personality, such as what energizes you or how you make career decisions. The assessment will also assist you in better understanding the people around you, whether they be at school, work or home. To take the MBTI, please contact our office at 704-894-2132 to set up an appointment to meet with a Career advisor.

 

Jeff Kniple, Associate Director for Employer Relations
Jeff Kniple, Associate Director for Employer Relations

Jeff’s Favorite CCD Resource: Information sessions are the place to make a personal connection with employers in advance of an application or interview.  They are the easiest place to make an impression with key staff members, to learn about how companies market themselves, and to learn other information that can be helpful in a cover letter or interview.  For internship and job seekers they are essential to the process.

 

 

Tiffany Waddell, Assistant Director for Career Development

Tiffany’s Favorite CCD Resource: Workshops and Programs The CCD offers workshops and events on a variety of topics for students throughout the academic year.  From getting started with LinkedIn and learning how network with Davidson alumni and other professionals, to penning the perfect resume – check out WildcatLink to learn more about what workshops are available to you this year and RSVP today!

 

 

Sarah Williams '11, Assistant Director for Alumni & Parent Engagement
Sarah Williams ’11, Assistant Director for Alumni & Parent Engagement

Sarah’s Favorite CCD Resource: WildcatLink is the best resource for accessing Davidson-specific career opportunities and resources. It is an online portal where you can apply to jobs and internships, sign up for job shadowing opportunities, and register for career-related events and programs. If you haven’t already, you will soon become very familiar with WildcatLink!

 

 

 

Jamie Stamey, Assistant Director for Internships
Jamie Stamey, Assistant Director for Internships

Jamie’s Favorite CCD Resource: InterviewStream is a great tool to help you prepare for upcoming interviews.  Record a video of yourself answering industry specific questions.  Then, critique yourself or share with a mentor to get their feedback.  You know what they say about practice!  You might also see this pop up in some of you Davidson-sponsored program applications, like Job Shadowing and the #DavidsonIE Internship Program.

 

Kate Falconi '08, Assistant Director for Employer Relations
Kate Falconi ’08, Assistant Director for Employer Relations

Kate’s Favorite CCD Resource: Vault Think of this as a huge online library of career and industry guides to help you learn about jobs and career fields, and make sure you are ready for interviews.  It also includes rankings of employers in 20 different industries, such as advertising, PR, media, banking and consulting.

 

 

 

Julie Lucas, Office Manager
Julie Lucas, Office Manager

Julie’s Favorite CCD Resource: It’s easy to schedule an appointment to meet with one of our advisors.  Stop by the office or call 704-894-2132. Appointments are available from 9-12:00 and 1:30-5:00.  For quick questions, we also offer daily walk-in times M-TH 10:00-12:00 and M-F 1:30-3:30.

 

 

 

Logan Myers, Career Adviser
Logan Myers, Career Advisor

Logan’s Favorite CCD Resource: Davidson’s LinkedIn Landing Page and LinkedIn Networking Group Want to learn what 11,000 alumni are doing based on their major, where they live, what they do and where they work?  Davidson’s LinkedIn Landing page is an easily searchable system to learn about alumni based on these and other criteria.  Want to interact with alumni in LinkedIn?  Check out the Davidson College Network Group, where you can send messages to over 6,000 alumni.

 

The Nature Conservancy 2015 GLOBE Internship Program Student Informational Session – Tuesday, December 16, 2014

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The Nature Conservancy

2015 GLOBE Internship Program

Student Informational Session – Tuesday, December 16, 2014

Did you graduate in 2013, 2014 or will be graduating in May 2015 with your Bachelors, Masters, or Ph.D.? If so, you qualify for this extraordinary internship program!

Are you seeking a structured internship experience with a strong orientation, the on-boarding process,  professional training, networking opportunities, mentoring (buddy) program, and real work experience?

If your answer is YES to both questions, join us on Tuesday, December 16, 2014 at 7:00pm EST to learn more about the GLOBE Program. We will also discuss the application process and answer any questions you may have about the program. To join the call, you will need access to a computer and phone line.  Below are the instructions:

How to Join the Web-Ex:

On Tuesday, December 16, 2014 at 7:00pm EST (log on approximately 5-10minutes early)

Go to https://nethope.webex.com/nethope/j.php?MTID=mdde4699fdc0b1958873d5ff014c0ffb1

  • Dial 1-866-385-9623
  • Conference Code:  547 920 8976

Feel free to share this with your peers and don’t forget to mark your calendars!

FYI, all positions are currently posted on www.nature.org/careers until Friday, January 23, 2015, just in case you cannot attend the Web-Ex.

 For Questions or Comments, please contact:

Shawneece Hennighan, Diversity Recruiting Specialist; shennighan@tnc.org; (302) 747-7743

OR

VonGretchen C. Nelson, GLOBE Program Director; vnelson@tnc.org; (803) 316-6789

Next South Conference & Career Fair – February 27, 2015

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Generation Green and the Georgia Conservancy present NEXT SOUTH – the largest conference in the Southeast dedicated to inspiring and empowering future leaders seeking careers in sustainability and corporate responsibility.

A full day of speakers, keynotes and panels relevant to understanding the industry landscape – present and future.

Participating companies include:

AGL Resources  •  Brown-Forman  •  CDC  •  Chipotle  •  City of Atlanta  •  Coca-Cola  •  Compost Wheels  •  Cox Enterprises  •  Emerald Cities  •  Ernst & Young  •  Garnish & Gather  •  Homrich Partners  •  Inman Solar  •  Mansfield Clean Energy Partners  •  Mohawk Industries  •  National Wildlife Federation  •  Novelis  •  Opportunity Knocks  •  Red Hare Brewing  •  Southeast Energy Efficiency Alliance  •  SolAmerica Energy  •  Sustainable Talent  •  UPS  •  White Oak Pastures  •  Whole Foods

New companies and presenters joining every week! Detailed schedule to be announced in December.


WHERE THE NEXT GENERATION OF LEADERS MEET CONSCIOUS CAREERS

Destination Unknown: We know it was a success!

destination-unknown300On Monday, September 29th, at 7:30 P.M., the Center for Career Development and the Residence Life Office hosted Destination Unknown: Realizing the Potential for Your Future.  The event was targeted at delivering information particularly important for Davidson seniors.

Center staff and student ambassadors provided information about the job and graduate school searches, resume improvement, cover letter writing, and social media polishing.  Jamie Johnson, Associate Director for the Center for Career Development, answered questions and provided information about the graduate school search.  She “felt it went very well and provided a foundation for other similar events to come in the future.”

Students could also take professional headshots for their LinkedIn accounts.  If all of these useful resources weren’t enough, yummy hors d’oeuvres and mocktails were served.  Ory Streeter, one of the Area Coordinators at RLO, worked as a bartender, requiring students to give a fact about responsible drinking in a professional setting before receiving a mocktail.

Seniors loved the event!  Alexandra Clark ’15 said, “The experienced career counselors, both students and faculty, gave me really helpful advice and tips to prepare me for my career search and for life after Davidson.  The Center for Career Development is an awesome resource for seniors and I look forward to going to more of their events.”

Seniors, don’t worry if you missed this event!  Make an appointment with a staff member from the Center or stop by walk-in hours for Center staff or student ambassadors to see what you missed.  You are always welcome!

Career Development Ambassadors 2014-2015

The Center for Career Development is pleased to announce the 2014-2015 class of Career Development Ambassadors.  Trained to assist with peer advising regarding topics such as resume review, cover letter review, and mock interview prep – stop by and visit them during walk-in hours this semester in the Center for Career Development (Alvarez 201):  Sundays 3-5pm, Tuesdays 7:30-9:30pm, and Thursdays 7:30-9:30pm.

Emily Burke
Emily Burke ’15

I am majoring in economics and will be working in investment banking after graduation.  During summers off from Davidson I have pursued internships in a variety of fields including investment banking at Bank of America Merrill Lynch in the leveraged finance group and a boutique investment bank in Boston, management consulting at a firm in Washington DC, and foreign policy at the Brookings Institution, a think tank in Washington DC.  On campus I play the oboe in the Davidson College Symphony Orchestra, volunteer with the Office of Admission as a tour guide, and have served as the social chair of my eating house, Warner Hall.  In my free time I enjoy playing golf, reading, and traveling.

Colin MacKay '15
Colin MacKay ’16

I am majoring in economics and plan to pursue a career in banking, consulting, or financial accounting. I have served as the corporate social responsibility intern at Bank of America where I researched competitive trends in the CSR space. I am a member of the Davidson College varsity swim team and serve as a representative in the Student Athlete Advisory Council and the Davidson Athletic Fund Student Athlete Engagement Program. I am a member of the Symphony Orchestra string bass section, a fraternity brother in Sigma Phi Epsilon, and a member of Campus Outreach. My hobbies include camping, spending time with family and friends, traveling, and playing cards.

Braden Beaudreau '15
Braden Beaudreau ’15

I am majoring in political science and I plan to pursue a career in law, government, or public policy.  Last summer, I interned at Akerman LLP, a law firm located in Washington, DC, for a public policy adviser working on issues concerning higher education policy.  Previously, I worked in the Davidson College Center for Career Development as a work study student, where I managed internship databases.  I spent a semester abroad my junior year traveling across the breathtaking landscape of Australia and studying business and economics at the University of Melbourne.  I also write for the Davidsonian and perform spoken word poetry with FreeWord.  My hobbies and interests include intramural basketball, supporting the Red Sox, and going on adventures with my friends.

Catherine Lowenthal
Catherine Lowenthal ’15

I am majoring in psychology with a concentration in medical humanities.  I plan to eventually work with individuals with mental illness and/or  HIV/AIDS or other physical disease.  In my summers, I have served as a research assistant at the Yale Center for Emotional Intelligence and interned at Broughton Hospital, a North Carolina state psychiatric hospital.  I have also worked in an orphanage for children with HIV/AIDS in South Africa, and volunteered at several programs for children with HIV/AIDS in New York City.  On campus, I work as a research assistant for a psychology professor and am the Vice President of Queers and Allies, Secretary of the College Democrats and a member of the Common Ground Council.  My hobbies include traveling and trying new foods.  My favorite quote is from Booker T. Washington:  “Associate yourself with people of good quality, for it is better to be alone than in bad company.”

James Cobb
James Cobb ’15

I am a Political Science major from Middlebury, Vermont. Next year, I will be working as an investment banking analyst with Morgan Stanley in New York City. Prior to an internship with Morgan Stanley this past summer, I worked with Gridley & Co, a boutique, M&A technology bank in New York City; as an equity research analyst with WEDGE Capital Management in Charlotte; as a summer analyst with the Davidson College Endowment; and as a consultant with the Atlantic Leadership Group in New York City. Through Davidson, I have been able to study abroad for two semesters in Ireland and India and the Middle East. On campus, I am the Vice President of Sigma Phi Epsilon fraternity, a Chidsey Fellow, Terry scholar, and play saxophone with the jazz ensemble. My hobbies include reading, weight lifting, and challenging travel.

Daniel Reitten
Daniel Reitten ’15

I am originally from Tel Aviv, Israel.

I am majoring in economics and planning to be in finance after graduation. I spent my previous summer at the summer internship program at UBS in Sales & Trading where I worked on the FX spot trading desk in the New York office. Prior to attending Davidson College, I served 3 years in the Israeli Air Force. I played Tennis for Davidson during my first two years, and I got the chance to attend 3 different abroad programs. I am also a member of Hillel, and this is my seventh semester that I teach Hebrew here at Davidson. I enjoy music, traveling, crossfit and philosophy.

Leigh Miller
Leigh Miller ’15

I am majoring in psychology with a minor in French. I plan to work in Human Resources (hopefully doing recruiting), eventually pursuing a career in coaching for businesses. I have served as a Human Resources intern at the corporate headquarters for Chico’s and for Vans, working with the Recruiting, Learning & Development, and Payroll departments. I am a co-president of the Pep Band, and president of the Knitting Society. My hobbies include swimming, cycling, reading, and knitting.

To Grad School or Not to Grad School? Ask Yourself the Question.

If you are thinking about graduate school, you are not alone.  Are you asking yourself if you need a break post-Davidson before you pursue your next course of study?  Deciding on a program and when to enter is a big decision.  Before you send off those applications and secure your enrollment spot, it’s a good idea to ask yourself a few questions and take time to reflect on whether or not graduate school is the appropriate next step for you.

Harvard_University_Academic_Hoods

The first question I ask most students who meet with me to chat about researching graduate programs and application prep is simple: why?  For each person, the answer is different.  Immediate entry into graduate school may give you a leg up in your professional field of interest.  Many times graduate or professional school will afford you a number of specialized skills or certifications and help propel you into the next step of that particular industry.  For example – if you want to be an attorney, then at some point, attending law school, succeeding in your studies, and passing the Bar exam is a pre-requisite before you can attempt to practice law.  In other fields, a graduate degree may be required simply for candidacy of application to apply.  However, this is not always the case.  Some graduate programs are more likely to admit an applicant who has work experience. It is important to identify the norm or standard of education in a given field – and do a bit of research to find out whether or not graduate school immediately after college is a necessary or realistic goal.

Another big question to ask yourself: are you ready?  By ready, I simply mean are you ready to continue attending school for several months or years?  As you approach graduation, you may find that you would like a break from school to recharge before you pursue another academic program.  Perhaps you would like to gain some “real world” experience and explore the world of work a bit before deciding which field of study is the best one for you. Maybe you would like to travel the world or give back in the form of volunteering or service work.  Gap years are increasingly common for students and a great year to gain more experience, sharpen your professional skills and supplement your academic pursuits before pursuing a graduate or professional degree.

Whatever you decide, remember that the choice is yours.  Family, friends, and other influencers will not be attending classes (or work) for you.  Adjusting to a new academic or work environment and geographic location is a major life transition and certainly worth consideration and intention.

As you explore your options, you have many questions. Visit with faculty advisors to discuss your areas of interest and strategies to identify the programs that would best suit your interests.  Learn more about the ins and outs of graduate school application prep, and how to make the most of your post-graduate studies, by visiting the Center for Career Development.  Take some time to reflect as to whether or not graduate school right after college is the right choice for you now – or in the future.

Students Explore the “Megatrend” of Sustainability with On-Campus Panel

Three experts in sustainability in the government, nonprofit, and business sectors gathered this Friday to form a panel answering students’ questions on careers in sustainability.

Dubbed a “megatrend” by Scott Tew, Executive Director at the Center for Energy Efficiency & Sustainability at Ingersoll Rand, the sustainability movement is opening up new positions in a variety of fields. Mr. Tew spoke about some of the novel ideas that have come out of his company, including Club Car, a golf cart company that is the world’s largest manufacturer of small-wheel, zero-emissions electric vehicles (look for them buzzing around campus!). Ingersoll Rand aims to design products and help customers live more sustainably and reduce their impact on climate change.

Amy Aussieker, Executive Director at Envision Charlotte, was another panelist who, after a variety of career changes, has found herself happily working at a nonprofit that works with the regional economy to promote environmental stewardship. Through four programs on water, air, energy, and waste, Envision Charlotte aims to make Charlotte the most sustainable urban center in the country. By developing electric vehicle programs in the city, developing apps to encourage sustainable behavior, and creating composting programs in restaurants, the organization hopes to reduce the energy use in uptown Charlotte.

Our third panelist was Henry McKoy, businessman and former Assistant Secretary of the NC Department of Commerce. Mr. McKoy currently works at Investment Scientific Equity Partners where sustainability is the bottom line in developing investments. He has even been invited to the White House by President Obama to discuss how sustainable enterprise can fit into the new economy.

During the question and answer section of the discussion, students asked questions on the future of careers in sustainability.  Here are a couple of highlights:

Q: Do you ever feel disconnected from the nature component of your work–from the planet-saving component–when you are in an office all day?

A: No. In Charlotte, with a 40% tree canopy, you can still feel the connection to nature. Working everyday in this environment is a good reminder of the progress that has been made and still can be made.

Q: What are some of the hindrances, or obstacles, to promoting sustainability, particularly in American society?

A: Primarily generational. If the younger employees (the 20-somethings) are inspired to take up a new sustainable practice, they can encourage the higher-ups to do the same. Sometimes it is a matter of finding out what motivates people; is it incentives, power, access to other opportunities? Determining how to energize people to join the movement is one of the key challenges. Elementary school students are a hidden gem! They will take what they have learned about in school and bring these ideas home to convince their parents to recycle, turn off lights, reduce water use when brushing teeth, etc.

Thanks to the above panelists, and especially to Jeff Mittelstadt, Davidson’s Director of Sustainability, for sharing their insight.  Students who are interested in career development opportunities related to sustainability should check out the summer Sustainability Scholars Program and keep an eye on WildcatLink for potential opportunities.

Rebecca McKee ’14 Completes Environmental Education and Research Internship at the SC Aquarium

Below is the second post written by Jolley Foundation grant recipient Rebecca McKee ’14 about her summer internship in South Carolina.  Her first post can be found here.

Rebecca introducing a Columbian red-tailed boa named Rosie to aquarium guests

With the final days of my time at the South Carolina Aquarium ticking by, I have been savoring every moment I spend with the outreach animals and the amazing educators, biologists, and fellow students I have had the privilege of learning from this summer. Since the last post, I have had a chance to perform all of the aquarium’s educational shows at least once, try my hand at working with Pippen (the barn owl), and watch a vet perform a colonoscopy on a Sea Turtle.  So even though I am much closer to my last day here than my first, the learning and new experiences have continued at an impressive pace.

The last few days have been particularly exciting for the education team, as it has been “A Celebration of Sharks.”  Like Shark Week, the weeklong series of programs focusing on sharks that appears every summer on Discovery Channel, A Celebration of Sharks at the aquarium features special programs to educate guests about the great predators of the ocean—only with less footage of shark attack carnage. The advent of the week has meant learning new shows that feature sharks as well as brushing up on lots of information about the six species of sharks found at the aquarium. I have especially enjoyed learning about white spotted bamboo sharks, a carpet shark that has made its home in the touch tank for the week.  This shark native to Madagascar couldn’t seem more at ease in his South Carolina home, and rarely even wakes when hundreds of fingers stroke its sandpaper-like skin.

Rebecca leading the dive show Habitat Hunters to help kids learn about animal habitat preferences

The bustling crowds of summer camps and vacation families that flock to the touch tank and shark shows are a nice contrast to the very quiet days working on my research. At the end of July, I completed the terrapin-filming portion of my research.  After a few days of checking the terrapins’ weights and cleaning the numbers off their backs, I released the 38 male terrapins to their home in Townsend Creek, taking care not to release them too closely to the mink or bald eagle we passed en route to their beautiful home, both of which are known to prey on terrapins.  They have been replaced in my test tank by blue crabs. Unlike terrapins, which seem to be somewhat social and pretty curious, the crabs prefer to spend their days fiercely defending their position behind a rock or under a brick from their tank mates. When they are not fighting one another, the crabs are helping assess if the bycatch reduction devices (BRDs) used to prevent terrapin entry in crab traps also reduces the crab’s ability to enter the trap. By filming the crabs as they undergo the same trials with the vertical BRD, the horizontal BRD, and without a BRD, we can assess if the BRD orientation changes the way the crabs interact with the trap. Understanding this relationship is essential in balancing the conservation a threatened species and the commercial benefits of crabbing.

Rebecca holding a diamondback terrapin named Flora

As I look ahead to the school year, I am excited to begin analyzing the footage I captured at the aquarium this summer.  I am very grateful to the Davidson College Herpetology Lab, the South Carolina Aquarium and the Jolley Foundation for providing such a valuable opportunity, and I am hopeful that I can take all I’ve learned with me to future experiences in the field of environmental education.

Rebecca McKee ’14 Spends Summer Researching and Educating at the South Carolina Aquarium

Rebecca McKee ’14, the author of this post, is one of three 2013 recipients of a South Carolina Internship Grant provided by Davidson College and The Jolley Foundation.  The purpose of the grant is to allow students to participate in educational internships and to explore living and working in the state of South Carolina.  Rebecca will be writing one final post about her SC Aquarium internship in August.

Rebecca holds a Juvenile American Alligator for aquarium guest education.

The past four weeks working as an education and research intern at the South Carolina Aquarium in Charleston have been some of the most exhilarating days of my life. My weeks here at the aquarium are split between working with the education team and conducting research on the behavioral characteristics of diamondback terrapins with the assistance of the Aquarium’s Sea Turtle Rescue Program. In conjunction with the Davidson College Herpetology Lab and with the South Carolina Aquarium, I am examining the effectiveness of using bycatch reduction devices (BRDs) as a means to reduce the entry of diamondback terrapins. Because drowning in crab traps poses one of the greatest conservation challenges to this species, understanding ways to prevent their entrapment without reducing crab catch is very important to crabbing states like South Carolina. To research this concept, I film a group of 10-15 terrapins as they interact with crab traps without BRDs, with horizontally oriented BRDs, and with vertically oriented BRDs. Through the internship so far, I have recorded over 75 hours of footage on 38 terrapin, and I will analyze the footage later this fall. Because this is my first opportunity to do independent research I am learning quickly about the research process, animal husbandry, and how to troubleshoot problems that arise with the help of the turtle biologists in the Aquarium’s Sea Turtle Hospital, Christi Hughes and Kelly Thorvalson, and with the help of my Davidson College advisors.

While I spend the research days quietly observing terrapins as they undergo the same trials in an isolated location underneath the aquarium, my days as an education intern are much more varied. As a member of the education team, I perform educational shows, bring animals like snakes and turtles into the galleries to provide guests with the opportunity to interact closely with the various creatures, give tours of our “behind the scenes” operations at the aquarium, and run info carts featuring interactive games to help kids learn about specific animals or ecological concepts.  Because both people and animals are unique and somewhat unpredictable, every day and even every moment of my experience is completely different from the ones before. Although the daily variation in my tasks poses new challenges, it creates an environment of constant learning and growth.

Prior to my first day as an intern, I had never stepped foot into the South Carolina Aquarium. Having grown up in the mountains of North Carolina, I felt like I had entered a totally new world. When I listed to my supervisor list off all the tasks and the depth of knowledge of the marine world that would eventually be expected of me as a member of the education team, I could feel my pulse start to race. Within the first couple hours on the floor working the carts and walking around with animals, I found that my excitement to share what I knew with the guests far outweighed my initial apprehension. Seeing kids and their parents’ surprise and interest when I tell them about the special feeding technique we use with our green moray eel or how our eastern king snake, King Louis, is immune to copperhead and rattlesnake venom encourages me to learn things even faster.  Even though I perform generally the same shows and give the same tours, the guests will ask different questions, sometimes questions I have never thought to ask. Even with the same basic information delivered, I learn facts I did not know from my coworkers all the time, and constantly hear new ways of explaining the same concepts. So while I might have picked up the general information much more quickly than I thought I would, the dynamic, learning-centered environment the aquarium provides makes every day an educational one for both the guests and the staff.

Perhaps even more exciting than seeing guests respond to the interesting information, is seeing their responses to some of the sad realities many of the species in our exhibits face as a result of increasing habitat destruction, pollution, and other threats. When talking about problems like sea turtles consuming plastic bags or owls being struck by cars at night, it is obvious that many people there genuinely care about these issues. They care and want to help. As an environmental science major, I study lots of sad things—extinction, oil spills, droughts, etc. Many problems seem hopeless. When I watch how eagerly kids volunteer solutions like knocking down sandcastles to give baby sea turtles clear path to the ocean or cleaning up litter or slowing down near lakes and wetlands for turtles to cross, I see new hope for struggling species and our environment. People care about what they know about.  Through both my work with the terrapins and with the education department, I feel as though I am helping others learn about and appreciate the ecosystems right outside their door or off their docks, and I think that is the main reason I find this job as the education and research intern very rewarding.