Being a part of the TESI team has been a transformative experience! The moment I stepped into the TESI office months ago, I felt more connected to the natural environment around me. Perhaps this appreciation was enabled by the office view that overlooked the Florida Museum of Natural History’s butterfly rainforest. Or maybe it was my morning walks inside the museum, where each exhibit visualized valuable Florida history. One thing is for sure, being a TESI intern has equipped me with a lifetime of knowledge, experiences, skills, and friendships.

Before I was an intern, I was a fellow with TESI’s Environmental Leaders Fellowship. I attended several workshops and an immersive week-long field experience focused on environmental research, education & outreach, and civic engagement. After this experience, I craved to continue enhancing my skills in these respective areas.

In my first few weeks as an intern, I learned more about the daily tasks of a TESI environmental communicator. Environmental communicators were tasked with sharing information about complex scientific topics in an inclusive and understandable language. One of my biggest, yet rewarding challenges was adapting my writing style to reach our target audiences. Until then most of my writing experience was in academia, and in research. In this role, I had to find better ways to communicate information in a brief yet detailed manner, to invoke readers to explore topics on their own. I also dabbled in research, graphic design, interviewing, writing, and – to my surprise – a bit of videography.

Working on social media posts for TESI’s Earth to Florida and Know Your Florida Instagram campaigns expanded my environmental literacy. After leaving my shift, the outside world felt different; not in the sense of the environment physically changing, but my appreciation and fondness immensely grew for the critters, rocks, plants, and animals around me – especially the common gallinule!

An exciting aspect of this internship was meeting people from different professional backgrounds. I had the amazing opportunity to enhance my writing skills and shadow twelve middle school teachers in a week-long professional development workshop hosted by TESI’s Scientist in Every Florida School program. The workshop focused on using artificial intelligence to identify shark teeth. Though I learned a great bit about artificial intelligence and its applications in our everyday life, the most valuable part of the workshop was speaking and learning from educators themselves. In my final task as an intern, I was also able to interview a scientist for an up-and-coming feature story on glacial research in Greenland.

One of my most proud moments was developing the TESI Environmental Leaders Network with three of my close peers. With each of our own experience and skills, we were able to create a database that connects undergraduate students with environmental opportunities and resources. I was honored to have written blogs to share with the network based on my personal experiences and professional development.

I am forever grateful for the entire TESI staff and the friends I have made along the way. I am eager to begin my next chapter as I continue to learn more about our Earth systems while strengthening my skills in communication and education. As I leave these museum doors on my last day, I am dedicated to bringing my knowledge, skills, and passions to raise awareness and advocate on behalf of our environment and communities.