In my interview for this fellowship, I made it clear that this fellowship was made for me. I truly believed that this experience was made for the 8th grade curriculum (what I teach!) and it was based in Wilmington (where I have LOVED living since I was 8!) and it was Kenan Fellowship (AMAZING experience for teachers!)- and so I fought hard to let the interview panel know that I really wanted this!
My internship experience has been amazing. I was fortunate enough to work with several different mentors in the field this summer. Since my internship experience was unique to my hometown, I got to spend a lot of time on the water! My first week I spent with Dr. Watanabe at the Harbor Island Aquaculture Research Station at UNCW which was focused on Finfish (Black Sea Bass). I learned a lot about the different experiments going on there, and a lot more about water quality to support my curriculum. I also learned a lot about Fish Nutrition and Nutrition in general from Dr. Alam. This may have been my favorite part of my internship because I am so interested in nutrition.
My second week was spent with Dr. Wilbur at the Shellfish Hatchery at CREST (Center for Research, Education, Science and Technology) at UNCW. Here I learned a lot about oysters and oyster farming. This experience was A LOT of work! I also spent time at an Oyster Farm in Cedar Island, NC which only enhanced my learning of oysters. This was one of the most beautiful places and pretty much the “edge of the world”.
I spent time with Mr. Tinga at Tinga Nursery and Mr. Garner at NCSU Horticulture Research Station. In both places, I learned a lot about crops, ornamental plants and NC history. For example, did you know that Castle Hayne used to be the flower capital of the US, before it was in California?
I also spent some time with Ms. Reedy at NC Farm Bureau in Raleigh, NC. I learned a lot about how Farm Bureau was a grassroots organization and how they really listen to what the farmers need and want. From there, we traveled to the NC mountains, another “edge of the world” place- Mitchell County. Here I learned about Christmas tree farming and beef cattle farming. I attended an Ag in the Classroom worship with some of the most amazing people I have ever met. I truly developed a love of the NC mountains and farmers across our GORGEOUS state.
All along, I worked with Ms. Hight, who is truly a salt of the earth woman. I want to be like her when I grow up. She cares so much for education and people. I could not have been more blessed to have her!
By July 17, I was home sitting on the beach I grew up on with my family, and I was exhausted- and happy. I could not have developed a MORE PERFECT internship experience myself. This experience was truly made for me.