Megan, a student at the Massachusetts Maritime Academy (MMA) studying Marine Safety and Environmental Protection, recently finished a two month internship with NAMEPA. We sat down with Megan to get an understanding of the experiences she had with us, and how this internship will shape her future career.
Why did you apply to intern with NAMEPA? What skills were you hoping to gain?
"I was actually at a scholarship gala in the fall semester of my sophomore year where I met a man who was friends with the co-founder and CEO of NAMEPA. He asked me if I had heard of the organization and I had from a previous NAMEPA Chapter leader. He put me in contact with Ms. Carleen Lyden Walker who helped me understand what NAMEPA was doing to help the community gain knowledge on both the maritime industry and marine conservation. As a daughter of a merchant marine and a marine scientist, myself, I was intrigued. I wanted to learn more about the marine education field and how the organization worked. I also wanted to make my communication skills better and prove to myself and others that I can be a strong worker in the industry."
What was your favorite part of the internship?
"My favorite part of this internship was definitely interacting with the community. I was able to attend many meetings, presentations, and even a marine science knowledge competition where I was able to meet some incredible students, industry representatives, and fellow marine science geeks. I really loved how everyone I met was so enthusiastic about what they were working towards and it motivates me to find a career where I can show my passions as they have.
The best part easily was the visit to a local elementary school where I was able to create a lesson plan and teach it to the kindergarten class. Nina helped walk me through how I should handle the classroom and then I was able to take the reigns! It was such a fulfilling experience and I am grateful for the NAMEPA ladies to push me into the field."
What are your career goals? Where do you hope to be in 5 years?
"After graduation, I plan to work in the Marine Education field. Thanks to my NAMEPA internship, I realized there is much more to this industry than simply teaching in classrooms. Getting the community involved in ocean literacy and conservation is incredibly important. In five years, I hope to be doing something I love regarding the ocean, whether it is teaching sciences or working at a local marine education organization."
How will you use the knowledge and skills gained from your internship to further your career?
"One of the biggest skills I gained from this internship was the ability to converse professionally. I took place in phone conference calls, Skype conferences, webinars, in-person meetings, and networking luncheons. I had to professionally convey my background, my concerns and questions, and present knowledge to students and my supervisors. My previous jobs never had me communicating much with supervisors so this was a strong skill to gain for my future career."
Has your perception of the marine environment changed since you started with NAMEPA?
"I honestly thought that getting the community involved in marine education was much more difficult than it really is. All you need is a topic to talk about, a place to present it, and an audience to pass it on to. Working with younger students and after-school programs is a great opportunity to help the students grow up to live with the mindset of conservation. By getting the community more involved, we can help clear the pollution in the seas. There really is hope for the oceans and before this internship, I was becoming doubtful of our chances to save the seas."
How will you continue to involve yourself in the protection of the marine environment?
"As of the end of June 2017, there was no chapter head for the Massachusetts Maritime Academy NAMEPA Chapter. Working alongside Nina Quaratella, the Education and Outreach Manager at NAMEPA, will certainly help me get the chapter back up and running. As well as becoming the next chapter head, I will also continue to further my studies in the marine education and sciences fields. I will help my community become more involved in marine conservation by participating in beach and marina clean ups and educational lessons."
Thank you Megan for all your hard work to Save Our Seas!
Interested in becoming an intern? Check out our internship webpage or contact Nina at firstname.lastname@example.org.