Miranda Johnson is a senior studying earth, society, and environmental sustainability. Originally from Aurora, Illinois, Johnson is also pursuing a business minor and a certificate in environmental writing.
This summer, I worked as a virtual intern for Seaside Sustainability, Inc., an environmental nonprofit based in Gloucester, Massachusetts, that focuses on ocean pollution, environmental education, and single-use plastics. As part of Seaside’s marketing team, I primarily worked on developing an editorial calendar, organizing a monthly newsletter, and doing public relations work.
In a more specific project, I handled public relations for a virtual event in June where attendees watched the documentary “The Story of Plastic” and attended a panel discussion with five experts in the environmental field. My other focus with Seaside Sustainability was on their Seabin sales team, working to get the word out about what Seabins are and to find sponsors to assist us in installing Seabins all along the northeast coastline.
Through my experience this summer, I learned several valuable things.
- A notable new skill that I’ve learned is how to approach work in public relations and event planning. For the “The Story of Plastic” event, I was tasked with compiling a media list, reaching out to all of the journalists, scheduling an interview with the executive director of Seaside and the Gloucester Daily Times, researching local news calendars and outlets to advertise the event, and following up about event-related articles from the attending journalist. These were all things I hadn’t done before, but I received direct supervision and assistance from one of Seaside’s board members who has been involved with an integrated marketing firm for most of her career and had a lot of insight to offer. I learned a lot of the nuances of PR, and I now have another useful skill that I can bring with me into future endeavors.
- I’ve found it valuable to be able to connect with virtual interns all around the world through this internship and have met so many people who are deeply interested in environmental work. We also connect with board members, like I mentioned above, since they oversee a lot of our larger teams. They’re all people who are established in their fields and have decided to volunteer their time to contribute to important environmental work. I’m grateful to be able to interact with so many different people who are passionate about the planet and have unique experiences to share.
- I’ve also learned both the benefits and challenges of working virtually, which has allowed me to cultivate some of the skills I feel I’ll need in a world where many jobs will likely remain virtual for the foreseeable future. Time management and communication skills have been incredibly helpful. Most of the work that I do involves working with small teams on large projects, and it’s been really interesting to explore the balance between having team meetings to break down work collectively and individual assignments to piecemeal projects together. The virtual internship experience has taught me how to navigate projects in the most effective way for everyone involved.
After graduation, my goal is to work for an environmental non-profit organization doing conservation and advocacy work to combat the global climate crisis. My internship with Seaside has provided me with a peek into the green industry, an exploration of the variety of work involved in the non-profit sector, and a broad network of peers who are passionate about the planet. I’m incredibly grateful for the Life + Career Design scholarship, as it has eased the burden of an unpaid internship and allowed me to focus on absorbing as much knowledge as I can.