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Internships solidify sustainability careers

Campus Life Sep 9, 2021
side by side images of two women
side by side images of two women

KOKOMO, Ind.— As a lifelong camper and hiker, Morgan Wareham dreamed of a career in the great outdoors. And Gabbie Orlando grew up with a passion for the environment, knowing she wanted to work in a field related to sustainability.

Both gained experience and confidence to pursue their dreams through internships this summer at Indiana University Kokomo.

“I think I learned a lot about where I want to go in my career, which is the whole reason to do internships like this,” Wareham said. She completed her degree in biological and physical sciences in August and worked as a naturalist at a kids’ camp in Big Sky, Montana, leading guided hikes and other programming about nature and the outdoors.

“I was thinking about teaching, and that’s something I would still be open to, but with older kids. I think now I’m more interested in working for the state or the federal government, with natural resources.”

After living in Montana for the summer, the Noblesville resident decided to make her home there, and will move this month. “Montana is a very different ecosystem and landscape from Indiana,” she said. “I learned a lot more about the environment, which was really interesting.”

Orlando served as one of 30 Indiana Climate Fellows at the Cope Environmental Center in Centerville. The fellowship was part of IU’s Indiana Sustainability Development Program (ISDP), a partnership with private, public, and nonprofit organizations in the state.

“The best part was realizing I could do it,” said Orlando. “I was nervous to do an internship and start my career in sustainability. After this summer, and the resources and opportunities I had, I am confident that this is something I can do.”

She completed her internship virtually from her home in Lansing, Michigan, planning climate change curriculum for elementary school field trips to the Center and booking speakers for its Sustainable & Attainable series.

Orlando was excited to have an impact through developing lessons for children, to encourage them to implement sustainability practices with their families.

“I focused on what they can do at home to prevent waste, like recycling, composting, and water and electricity use,” she said. “There were ideas for how to take what they learned at the Center back to their homes. We also taught about how humans can affect nature and the environment, both in positive and negative ways, and the responsibility that comes with that.”

With the confidence gained from her experience, she accepted another internship for the fall semester with the Indiana Department of Environmental Management, helping to develop a climate action plan for the city of Richmond, Indiana.

“I’m a lot more motivated to make a difference now.”

Education is KEY at Indiana University Kokomo.

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