College of Agriculture & Natural Resources
Environmental Science & Policy

Education and research at the Dolphin Research Center, FL

This past summer, Sara Reedy (ENSP, Marine and Coastal Management) interned at the Dolphin Research Center in Grassy Key, FL.  As an education intern at the Center, Sara gave daily public presentations on topics such as dolphin maternity, manatees, the history of Dolphin Research Center, and the various research projects being conducted at the facility.  Internhip responsibilities also included learning and performing supervised basic husbandry (medical) procedures, running guests through a program check in process, and creating a list of several personal and organizational goals to be completed during the internship.  

A large part of Sara's time was spent researching the highly controversial topic of Navy Sonar and its effects on cetaceans (whales, dolphins, and porpoises) and their environment and reporting her findings in a 30-minute presentation to the Education Department at the end of the summer. Additionally, she visited other marine mammal facilities in Florida Keys and presented live narration sessions with the dolphins.

Sara describes the real-world experience of living and working in the Florida Keys as irreplaceable, on both academic and personal levels.  First, it complemented her coursework in coastal and environmental science and environmental policy.  Second, Sara has always had an affinity for dolphins, so she especially appreciated gaining up close and personal personal knowledge about them, their interactions with each other, and the environments that they lived in.   As it was an unpaid internship, however, Sara had to plan ahead to supplement her experience by waitressing at a local restaurant in order to afford the cost of living and working in the Florida Keys.  She offset the cost of rent by applying for and getting the Bright Futures: Unpaid Summer Internship Scholarship Fund sponsored by the UMD Career Center.

Sara's not sure where her career will lead at this point.  She's also held a Federal Semester internship at the Department of Energy and plans to intern again before she graduates; but with all these experiences, she's going to be a great position to choose!

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