Single-use disposable plastic bags are causing more harm than good for the environment. Even though they are convenient to carry groceries, they are anything but convenient for the planet. When improperly disposed of, a plastic bag can easily be carried by the wind to our oceans. Due to their lightweight design, even if it was thrown out far from water, it can still end up in the sea.
Did you know that NAMEPA offers an immersive internship program for high school and college students to Save Our Seas? Check out what our spring interns from high schools in Connecticut said about their experience!
Please describe your academic background.
Malini: I attend Staples High School in Westport CT, and will be attending Yale University in the fall to study global affairs.
Lauren: I attend Norwalk High School and next year I will be attending Providence College to study biology.
Jake: I attend Fairfield Ludlowe High School and also attend the Bridgeport Regional Aquaculture school. Next year I will be attending Coastal Carolina University.
Why did you apply to intern with NAMEPA? What skills were you hoping to gain?
Malini: I applied to intern at NAMEPA as I felt their mission and their unique position at the crossroads between policy and environmentalism would help me further my passion for both creating and implementing policy as well as teaching and championing protecting our Earth.
Lauren: Since I am not completely sure about my college and career plans, I wanted to have the opportunity to explore a potential future. I thought that NAMEPA was a good way to discover if I enjoyed working with a nonprofit, want to focus on environmental science, or had an interest in pursuing a career in marine biology.
Jake: At first I was a bit hesitant about doing an internship but this one was perfect for me because I wanted to find a way to help Save Our Seas and I see the effects of ocean pollution on a daily basis. I was hoping to be able to be active in picking up garbage by doing beach clean ups and I did get to do that I also learned about teaching lessons on ocean trash to elementary students.
Please describe your favorite part of your internship.
Malini: I have two favorite parts of my internship with NAMEPA. The first is when I helped organize a cleanup in partnership with Patagonia in Westport, which 80 of my fellow classmates and my environmental science teacher attended, and were so impressed with that they have attended multiple NAMEPA events and cleanups since. Another highlight of my time with NAMEPA was the 10 year anniversary celebration on the Hornblower in New York City. I was, and still am, so proud to be part of an organization that has such a far reach; I met everyone from maritime magnet school students and teachers to marine lawyers to leaders of global shipping empires.
Lauren: My favorite part of my internship was teaching the elementary kids about the marine environment, and creating the beach clean up video. Having the opportunity to design a lesson plan with the other interns about plastics in the ocean was fun and rewarding. We were able to collaborate in order to create something that a local kindergarten class enjoyed and learned from. I also liked making the beach clean up video. It was nice that we were given an outline but had the freedom to make the video our own. Additionally, it is nice that the video will be uploaded so people have access to it. Hopefully it promotes beach cleanups so that people will participate in their own.
Jake: My favorite part of my internship is going to the elementary schools and teaching the little kids on ocean trash and how they can do their part to get rid of it. I am always amazed at how knowledgeable they are about the problem of ocean trash.
How will you use the knowledge and skills gained from your internship to further your career?
Malini: I will use my understanding of the interconnectedness of the maritime industry as a guideline for how I approach other industries, and will use the conversational and advocacy skills I honed here to help me push my passions.
Lauren: I will continue to advocate for the marine environment, and hopefully incorporate the beliefs I have learned into my career plans. Aside from this, there are many social media, computer, and people skills I have gained from this internship that I will utilize later on.
Jake: I will use the people skills that I learned for the rest of my life and it will help me greatly in my career. I will also continue to Reduce, Reuse, and recycle.
Has your perception of the marine environment changed since you started with NAMEPA?
Malini: NAMEPA has shown me the breadth and depth of the maritime industry and how entrenched I, and our society as a whole, am in it. I feel as if I am more aware of how actions we take on land affect the marine environment.
Lauren: I have definitely taken on a new perception and further appreciation for the marine environment. I am more aware of the issues that are occurring, and of the beauty that the marine environment has to offer.
Jake: Yes, my perception of the marine environment has changed a lot from the aspect of all the jobs that are available in the industry. I never knew how many jobs there were. I also learned a lot more about how significant of a problem ocean trash really is.