Grads Land Top Internships
Four 2013 Washington College graduates majoring in environmental studies have landed one-year internships with the Chesapeake Conservation Corps, positions that provide a stipend as well as on-the-job experience working with some of Maryland’s top environmental non-profits, agencies and organizations. And, a 2012 graduate who served for a year as a CCC volunteer has earned a fulltime position at her host organization.
“This year we had over 150 applicants,” says Tara Baker, program coordinator for the Chesapeake Bay Trust, which administers the CCC. Of the 26 chosen, four came from Washington College—the most from any institution.
Sam Hartman ’13 is working for the South River Federation, creating a living shoreline and boat access on the South River; Max Ruehrmund ’13 is at Hood College’s Center for Coastal and Watershed Studies (and taking free graduate classes at night); Amanda Anastasia ’13 is working for the Nanticoke Watershed Alliance, creating rain gardens in school systems within the watershed; and Jenny Lee ’13 is with the Chester River Association, working to list the river as a federal no-discharge zone.
“My job includes a policy project to prevent boats from dumping any sewage into the river,” Lee says. She’s also conducting “water quality testing, especially around the highly polluted Southeast Creek section, and various environmental education projects including doing a large tree planting with middle school students and conducting water quality tests with third graders.”
Ruehrmund says he’s in and out of the lab every day, “but basically my day to day is conducting water quality analysis on several rivers, creeks, and lakes, all over the county. I’m learning hands on practical lab practices and how to trouble shoot many of the issues one may come across when conducting water quality monitoring on such a large scale.”
Meanwhile, Elle O’Brien ’12 is the new education and outreach coordinator for the Midshore Riverkeeper Conservancy, a job the organization offered her after her Corps internship last year with the MRC.
“I am working on developing and piloting an environmental education program for two local high schools that includes seven in-class lessons and two field trips,” O’Brien says. “I also work with six elementary schools to teach the concept of waste and recycling. This is my priority right now, but I also do oyster restoration work, outreach, grant support and events.”
Baker says that this year, nearly half of the volunteers earned fulltime positions with their host organizations after their internships ended. “The people who come out of this program are inspiring, incredible with the things that they do,” she says.
This is the fourth year the CCC has matched young adults between 18 and 25—CCC “volunteers”—with host organizations to work for a year on environmental projects.
Funded by the state, the trust, and a partnership with Constellation Energy, the program pays volunteers $15,500 for the year and also provides extra training and experience beyond their project’s focus. High school students doing a gap year and new college graduates get hands-on experience and a fulltime position, while organizations get a fully paid employee.