Name: Jacqueline Alvarez
Where are you interning? The Deering Estate, which preserves the 1920s era Miami estate of Charles Deering, Chicago industrialist, early preservationist, environmentalist, art collector, philanthropist and first chairman of the International Harvester Company.
What do you do there? I work with children who go on field trips to the Deering Estate. I teach various activities pertaining to biological and environmental sciences, including dissections of squid and fish, the scientific method, archeology-based activities and the importance of keeping our oceans clean. In addition, I lead mangrove hikes and cleanups.
How did you get your internship? I heard about it through a biology major emailing list, and I applied because it seemed fun and different.
What projects do you work on? Teaching children the importance of biological science and the impact this has on our world.
What has been the coolest thing that’s happened during your internship? I think the coolest thing that I get to experience in my internship is having kids tell me that they want to grow up and be scientists, biologists or ecologists because their experience was so much fun. I feel like in teaching them so young I get to have a positive impact on their life that they can continue to learn about and pursue.
What do you like most about your experience? I love feeling that I’m doing something important and contributing to my community. Also, it’s pretty great getting to spend some time outside and with nature. I wouldn’t get to do that very often if it wasn’t for my internship.
How does your internship connect back to your coursework? The Honors College courses allows you to dive into subject matter that interests you and perhaps doesn’t pertain to the subject matter of your major. I think my internship mirrors that because it’s different, and I do it because I love it. Being in Honors has taught me the importance of branching out and trying to be the most well-rounded person I can be.
What have you learned about yourself? I’ve learned that my fears and doubts are only as big as I make them out to be. Before being at Deering, I had a phobia of snakes but I’ve been able to overcome that and it has shown me that any obstacle can be overcome. I’ve also learned how important I consider being a good teacher and role model to be. Regardless of the field you’re in, you can always better the world by sharing your knowledge and helping others be their best.
How have you expanded your professional network? I have had the pleasure of meeting various other individuals pursuing degrees in biological sciences, which has been very helpful. I believe creating a network of people who are doing similar things can give you the support needed to pursue your goals.
How has it help you prove yourself in the “real-world?” In the “real-world” there are various expectations and responsibilities that come with being an active person in the community and in a job position. I think having an internship is a great step in formulating work ethic, given that it has been my responsibility to work diligently in order to do the job to the best of my ability.
What advice do you have for those beginning the internship process? Step out of your comfort zone and do something different because it might surprise you. Being a pre-med student most of my activities consist of shadowing and volunteering in hospitals. This internship is completely different and involves other aspects of science that I now can appreciate on a deeper level.