Work experiences are an important part of a student’s growth and career exploration. For many years, Discovery Hall Programs has hosted summer internships that have provided insights into marine science and environmental education.
In 2017, DHP was excited to host Jordan (JoJo) Brown, a senior at Oakwood University in Huntsville, and Linda Wyatt, a senior at Alma Bryant High School in Mobile.
DHP’s collegiate level internship has been supported by the Mississippi-Alabama Sea Grant Consortium for several years. This year, DHP worked with the Mobile County Public School System Signature Academy’s Internship Program to support this work experience for a high school student.
Tina Miller-Way, Chair of Discovery Hall Programs said, “We try to give our interns a robust introduction to the field of education and outreach in marine science. Thus, our interns are involved in all aspects of our summer programs: they help prep materials, assist in handling logistics, interact with the students and the public, and participate in all field activities, enjoying the seasickness, heat, and humidity along with our instructors.”
The experience was much more than Brown expected.
"I thought the internship was going to be more watching than doing," Brown said. "Instead I had the chance to help educate, research, and make connections."
One of Brown's memorable moments was having the chance to tag a shark during the Fins, Fishes, and Fisheries teacher workshop. She said she also gained a great deal of respect for plankton.
"I loved the hands-on experience, and being in the field. It makes me feel like if I went into marine biology that I wouldn't be lost," Brown said.
Brown will graduate in Spring 2018 from Oakwood University with a major in Biology.
For Wyatt, getting a look behind the scenes of DHP's summer programs gave her a new perspective. While Linda was already familiar with DHP through her experience with the 2016 MATE Regional ROV Competition, and her completion of the 2016 Marine Science Course for high school students, understanding the preparation and the work involved opened her eyes.
"The high school course gave me so much knowledge and the desire to strive to do more in the marine science field," Wyatt said. "However, you don't realize the same instructors and counselors that get up and go to breakfast with you stay up late getting things ready for the next day's activities."
Wyatt said she enjoyed helping out with the ROV workshop for teachers, and is looking to concentrate on doing more with ROVs in marine science. As a rising senior, Wyatt is still making her final college plans, but coming back to the Dauphin Island Sea Lab with University Programs is at the top of the list.
“JoJo and Linda were fantastic interns. They worked hard, never shied away from trying something new to them and always had a positive attitude, even during the last week of our long summer. We will miss them and wish them both a successful senior year,” Dr. Miller-Way said.