Getting Oriented with Seaside Sustainability

On July 1st I started interning with Seaside Sustainability, a small environmental nonprofit based in Gloucester, Massachusetts. Their mission is to “passionately create sustainable oceans & communities by educating through action.” They accomplish this through work in environmental education, legislation, and technology. 

So far I’m working on two projects. The first is a data collection project that is a requirement for all Seaside interns. I am collecting contact information for teachers and administrators for every elementary, middle, and high school in the country, as well as information about their STEM programs. This will help Seaside expand the National Stem Honors Society program, which “is a chapter-based program that supports academic achievement in science, technology, engineering, and mathematics.”

I’ve also been working on the sustainability calculator project. The final goal for the project is to produce a web page on which people can answer a quiz about their lifestyle and a calculator outputs their CO2 emissions, waste production, and water consumption. A similar calculator can be found on footprintnetwork.org. However, the footprintnetwork calculator only calculates your CO2 production, while the Seaside calculator will have additional measures. So far I’ve been helping to formulate questions and do research mostly for the water section of the project. I chose to work on this project because my academic goal for the summer is to improve and practice my analytical and research skills. 

I have only been working for a week and I hope to be able to work on additional projects soon. At Seaside Sustainability, interns are encouraged to take on new roles and projects throughout the program. This will be a great opportunity for me to adapt quickly and gain confidence in changing circumstances. A personal goal of mine for this summer is to become more comfortable in new roles and environments.

One of my career goals is to learn more about nonprofit management and organization, such as how nonprofits fund their work, organize internally, and engage their constituencies to accomplish their mission. I still want to get involved in more event planning, development, and fundraising, but so far I have gotten a look at some of the internal structure of the organization. Seaside uses Trello to organize work in the internship program, which is an online project management tool that allows people to work on projects in teams, and have lots of instructions available virtually. In addition, the projects are managed by interns. It seems the internship program is able to run pretty autonomously. Here’s a picture of my personal Trello board, which was all set up for me when I started my internship, and made my onboarding process quite independent.

I’m meeting with my internship manager for the second time tomorrow to discuss what other projects I could get involved with. I’m looking forward to seeing what I’ll be able to learn and accomplish this summer!

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