Photo Credit: SER Texas A&M Student Association - Bastrop Park Fire Restoration

On Interning at Island Press: A totally rad experience

Interning at Island Press has been nothing shy of a totally rad experience. The people, the conversation, and the work itself constantly leave me feeling humbly fortunate for the opportunity to grow here. I came to Washington D.C. all the way from Phoenix, AZ with big eyes and shaky hands after graduating with a B.S. in conservation biology and ecology, and just after spending two months in Kenya and Madagascar writing a freelance blog about conservation and humanitarian organizations I encountered throughout the trip.

I realized early on in my studies that I wanted to write things that inspire environmental conservation and altruistic ways of life, which is what attracted me to Island Press, a book publisher that prints “Solutions That Inspire Change.” The life of a field biologist, albeit a noble one also dedicated to information and education, was never the life for me. My right brain has always been the stronger of the sides; thus, creative inspiration is my language of choice. And I don’t know if you’ve ever read a scientific paper, but I’m not sure “inspiring” is an accurately descriptive term.

Photo Courtesy of Danielle Underhill
Danielle at the Ranomafana National Park in Madgascar where she learned about how community development projects have promoted both human and environmental health (summer 2015). Photo Courtesy of Danielle Underhill

I’ve been interning here since December, and I feel like I’ve learned so much already because I get to be a part of a body of moving pieces required to run an organization that’s making a real impact.  And FYI, interns aren’t here to do coffee runs; they are an essential component to the success of Island Press and the responsibilities given to each intern are reflective of that notion. As the social media and marketing intern, I’ve spent a lot of my time here writing tweets, generating blog topics, corresponding with authors about website content, transcribing videos, and also designing an ad. The majority of the tasks I’ve managed have allowed me to continue practice writing in a formal setting amongst experienced professionals in the world of environmental conservation.

While my time here has been invaluable for that reason, I’d have to say that my favorite part of this job so far has been developing an advertisement for the Island Press book, People Habitat. I’d never used InDesign software before this experience, and I spent a lot of time trying to get to know it, trying to create something sharp and representative of this organization. Despite being a sometimes challenging process, the work paid off and ultimately I created something that I’m really proud of.

This was the most rewarding experience to me because I was asked to do something totally new, something that daunted me every day, in truth, and ultimately I made something that Island Press can stand behind. While the continued opportunities for practicing my conservation writing skills will undoubtedly benefit me in my career, its moments like creating this ad for Island Press that offer the greatest opportunity to learn and build character. Frustrating moments when you’re desperately staring at the computer screen, praying for a creative solution to jump out at you, and the only thing you can do is keep trying harder until you succeed. I think field biologists call that evolution.