As a fellow and intern with TESI, I have been able to meet many future leaders in the environmental field and learn valuable skills in environmental communication.  

Through various internships and fellowships, I learned more about my passions and interests. With experience working with the UF Institute of Food and Agricultural Sciences Extension and the George A. Smathers Libraries, I  learned about the interdisciplinary ways environmental science can be applied.  

Looking for another program, I applied and was picked as one of twelve members of the first cohort of the TESI Environmental Leaders Fellowship. Over the course of a year, I was able to meet peers from various majors who all share a passion for the environment. Through the program activities, we learned important leadership skills. Upon completion of this program, I was able to continue my journey with the TESI team and help develop the Environmental Leaders Network (EL Network), which serves as a hub where UF undergraduates can find opportunities to learn more about environmental research, education, and civic engagement. By reviewing the experiences of former Fellows, we were able to share these opportunities with a larger group of UF students interested in the environment.  

As I worked with the other Fellows to find partners who could share resources with the Network, develop promotional materials, and share information about the program, I also developed my skills as an environmental communicator, writing posts for TESI’s digital outreach campaigns. Throughout this process, I learned about writing easy-to-digest, science-based posts for social media. Summarizing news stories for TESI’s Earth to Florida newsletter and writing blog posts for the network also gave me a new glimpse into environmental journalism. Through learning how to educate others on environmental concepts, I was able to learn so much about Florida’s natural flora and fauna, encouraging me to keep an open eye as I explore nature.  

Spanish Bayonet Florida Leafwing Butterfly Bioremediation Reddish Egret

Just as a flower releases its seedlings for the next set of flowers to grow, I close this chapter of my life. I am forever indebted to the TESI Environmental Leaders Fellowship for opening the door to the broad world of environmental communication. As I leave this wonderful position, I am brimming with invaluable facts and resources that I can now help disseminate to others, whether that be forwarding opportunities to the TESI staff or sharing more Florida wildlife facts with co-workers.  

Moving forward with my career, I plan to take the skills I channeled working with TESI to be an effective environmental communicator in whichever role I pursue. As I further develop my skills in science communication, I hope to continue growing my portfolio with fieldwork and environmental reporting. Wherever my future may take me, I know that I not only have an adaptable set of skills but that I am part of a community filled with environmental leaders who support me and who I can support in future endeavors.