Working at the Thompson Earth Systems Institute since spring 2020, I’ve both learned so much about the state I call home as well as truly expanded my communication and professional skills. 

I have had the chance to writand report feature stories on a number of scientific topics, create monthly summaries of environmental news, help with multi-faceted media campaign highlighting the value of insects, create posts for the institute’s social media accounts and more. There are opportunities for journalism, multimedia, social media, science writing and graphic design in this multi-faceted job. 

Boardwalk in the MangrovesPersonally, my favorite Instagram post I’ve made for Know Your Florida was about how to tell different mangroves apart. Other favorite posts included when I was able to share surprising Florida facts, like that there are non-native capybaras and monkeys in the state. I also was able to use my data visualization skills to create one of our highest-performing posts ever, highlighting the best places to find seashells across Florida’s coasts.

My favorite piece for the Earth to Florida newsletter was our series about legislative bills, as I was able to explore environmental and agricultural legislation. It was interesting to scrutinize law and how it relates to scientific issues, something I hadn’t yet tackled in my academic career. On the other hand, my favorite long-form feature story was called Where They Go,” about how scientists are using technology to track marine animals and ensure their conservation. Interviewing scientists is always extremely rewarding and interesting.

I also am proud of my work creating a video called What are Earth Systems. It highlights the thinking behind TESI’s name. I got to combine animation, writing and audio skills to create this project. It took a lot of dedication and editing, but the final video has been shared with students and classrooms throughout the state. It was extremely rewarding to see my work having a real impact on Floridians. 

Overall, the TESI team is wonderful to work with. There is a lot of learning on the job, they provide great feedback and everyone on the team cares about your success.

 It is an uplifting internship environment that I would recommend to anyone interested in science or telling compelling stories. 

bottlenose dolphin

The best part of working at TESI is learning something new every day. I also love that I can be inspired by nature and my own scientific interests and then use that creatively in my work. The TESI internship has helped me gain valuable experience and advance my career in science communication, and I have been very grateful for the opportunity to work with them. 

Going forward in summer 2021, Ellen will be completing an internship in science writing for the NASA Glenn Research Center. Explore Ellen’s work for TESI by visiting her portfolio page, or follow her on Twitter @Ellen_Bausback.