As a transfer student to the University of Florida, the experience of landing in a completely new place isn’t novel, but it always feels like the first time.

When I started at UF, I had resigned myself to keeping my head down and focusing on my studies — until I saw the opening for the UF TESI Environmental Communicators Internship. Lacking experience but overflowing with excitement and ambition, I sent my application.

In the beginning, I would grow frustrated with my writing. I would joke with my supervisors that I didn’t like all the red text up and down my documents (their editing). But the time and practice that I was able to dedicate to my writing and creative process during this internship was truly invaluable.

From crafting fun and informational social media posts to drafting and writing my very first story, this internship guided me in perfecting my science writing skills and truly understanding the meaning of environmental education. Every day, I would stroll into the office with a new idea. And over time, there would be less and less red text on my drafts.

(See posts above on Instagram at @UFEarthSystems & @KnowYourFlorida)

It’s hard to pick a favorite task from this position. My most challenging was composing my first feature story. The story, titled, “Breathing Life into Florida’s Receding Shorelines,” is my crown jewel, and probably one of the most frustrating experiences I’ve had in writing. Not because I didn’t like it, but because it truly challenged my confidence as a writer, researcher, and journalist. By putting aside my insecurities, I created something I was proud of. My mom even printed out a copy in celebration of getting it published.

living shoreliens

Many students leave this position with a favorite topic or activity that they learned about. Mine became education and outreach. Communication is a huge part of science, even though it is often overlooked. Being able to effectively translate and share scientific research and news in a digestible, engaging, and awesome way is a skill I hope to continue developing, growing, and eventually pursuing in the future as a career. Being an Environmental Communicator is the type of experience you wish to hold on to forever, and better yet, to share will all those you meet.

This internship had the potential to be many things, and for me, it showed me that being proud and excited about my work didn’t make me cocky, it made me confident. I learned how to put my ideas on paper and communicate them to a larger audience. I realized my love for science education and programming and discovered how to make a career out of it. For me, this internship was an intervention.

My confidence in myself and my work grew, and that is something to be celebrated.

View my work at the following link: Patricia Escobar Torres Portfolio

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