“I am very happy to let you know that you have been selected as part of the 2017-18 Public Service and Outreach Student Scholars cohort, with a likely Spring 2018 internship with the Marine Extension and Georgia Sea Grant.”
I read these words back in April, and I still remember my surprise. I had applied for the PSO Student Scholars program on a whim and assumed that my lack of knowledge about marine ecosystems our coastal communities would make me unqualified. To my surprise, not only did I get an interview, I was selected.
Fast forward to September, I was heading to the Georgia coast for Student Onboarding with a cohort of students based in Athens. Every year, students who are new to Marine Extension and Georgia Sea Grant participate in the two-day trip, where they visit the program’s coastal facilities in Brunswick and Savannah and meet faculty and staff. I spent the weekend pretending to know a horseshoe crab is and masking my surprise as my peers coolly de-headed local Georgia shrimp.
It was energizing to see the passion of faculty and staff at Marine Extension and Georgia Sea Grant who work at the coast. As they introduced us to our state’s coastal ecosystems through field and lab activities, I began to understand their passion; the depth and complexity of these communities and ecosystems make them worth studying and loving.
When I officially began my internship with the unit this semester, I was introduced to Emily Woodward, public relations coordinator for Marine Extension and Georgia Sea Grant. While working with her, I have gained experience writing press releases about upcoming events that are published on the program’s website. Working in communications requires staying up-date-on the latest Marine Extension and Georgia Sea Grant happenings. Because of this experience, I now have a better understanding of the all the ways in which Marine Extension and Georgia Sea Grant is working to improve coastal communities and protect coastal resources.
Additionally, I have been working with Mona Behl, associate director of Georgia Sea Grant, to measure the success of Sea Grant’s research program, which funds research projects at universities across the state. As a statistics major, I found myself in a familiar and exciting territory when I was given a dataset to explore for the purpose of articulating the incredible impact of our unit.
I am glad that the PSO Student Scholars program has led to fruitful experiences with wonderful people. I have been able to learn things about marine ecosystems and coastal communities that I never would have been exposed to without this unit, and I am glad that I have been able to apply my skills to help promote Marine Extension and Georgia Sea Grant’s accomplishments.
Learn more about the Public Service and Outreach Student Scholars program here.