Intern SpotlightFROM FRESHMEN TO SENIORS, INTERNS PLAY AN INTEGRAL ROLE IN CCA’S EFFORTS TO COMBINE CONSERVATION INITIATIVES WITH EDUCATION AT THE PARK.
Last October, CCA welcomed a team of nine students from UC Irvine’s Center for Environmental Biology, who joined the team at Crystal Cove to supplement their research and studies in informal science education that takes place outside of classrooms. A handful are also part of an innovative program at UCI called Cal Teach, in which students are working toward receiving a teaching credential while completing their degrees in science. The internship program has only recently launched, but is an important part in CCA’s efforts to improve science literacy and train the next generation of inspired science teachers.
UCI public health science major Hailey Laskey, who is also working toward a minor in earth and atmospheric sciences, will be helping CCA through September and has already had the opportunity to make lesson plans and work directly with K-12 students on the Marine Protected Area Citizen Science Cruises and the Berns Environmental Study Loop.
“CCA has helped me shape and identify myself as an informal science educator and a scientist,” she explains. “I always enjoy informal science environments and would love to continue to work at an informal science education facility.”
Interns also have the opportunity to evaluate programs in the park and start work on capstone projects, which contribute to CCA’s deeper goals of giving UCI students hands-on experience. In addition, CCA’s growing partnership with UCI creates effective bridges to K-12 students, as interns allow the organization to relate better to the younger community.
Among the many projects interns are working on is public outreach with UCI researchers. One focuses on a lab run by Dr. Jennifer Martiny that teaches beachgoers about the ecology of microbes and viruses in the ocean, Hailey says. This summer, she is working on creating a fun program that will bring the lab’s research to the public. Visitors can take part during the Wednesday Crystal Cove Community Days all summer long.
“I would encourage anyone who has an interest in teaching informal science education and writing curriculum [to intern with CCA],” Hailey adds. “It’s a great opportunity to gain hands- n experience and really get involved in something that could possibly be your career. By actually writing lesson plans, students will have something to bring to interviews and show future employers.”