Environmental Internships - Jaime Vaughan

Environmental Internships at WMEAC Lead to Careers – Jaimie Vaughan

WMEAC environmental internships seek out promising, young, environmentally focused students and recent grads to participate in WMEAC’s work. Because WMEAC has a staff of eight, the army of interns plays a crucial role in the organization and implementation of WMEAC’s multitude of programs. From LID initiatives, political advocacy, community outreach, and watershed education, to more behind the scenes work like research, marketing, graphic design, and event/fund development, interns have their fingerprints everywhere.

These environmental internships help young professionals to gain experience in the field they are pursuing, and can even connect them to future employers in the WMEAC network! For Jamie Vaughan, an intern on the water team last summer, this was the case.

Last May, Jamie started her internship with WMEAC as a joint intern between WMEAC and Trout Unlimited as part of TU’s Rogue River Home Rivers Initiative. “The joint internship offered a perfect balance of office and field work” she said, as her days were spent either in the WMEAC Office, out in Grand Rapids leading LID education, or in the Rogue River watershed carrying out green infrastructure projects and educating teachers and students about stormwater issues.

At the close of her WMEAC/Trout Unlimited internship, Jamie’s TU manager Nichol De Mol expressed that she would like her to continue working. And after a 6th month internship with TU, Jamie was offered a full-time position on the Rogue River Home Rivers Initiative! She now continues as the coordinator of the initiative.  For Jamie, the WMEAC internship served as a crucial segue into a fulfilling environmental career. She explained that “WMEAC introduced me to the vibrant environmental community of West Michigan. As an intern on the Water Team, I had the opportunity to experience many of WMEAC’s programs like Teach for the Watershed and Rain Barrel Workshops. I use all of the knowledge and experience I gained about LID practices and watershed education in my career with TU.” She continued, “It is my dream job, and I can say with certainty that I wouldn’t be here without the help of WMEAC.”

This is one of the main goals of WMEAC’s environmental internships—to prepare promising young professionals like Jamie for work in the environmental field, and to connect them with potential future employers in West Michigan’s environmental community. Jamie is not the only person for whom this vision has become a reality. WMEAC’s interns are scattered across a variety of organizations in Michigan and beyond.  But for many, the internship serves as a crucial stepping stone in the development of their career.

Jamie thinks highly of her time at WMEAC. She explains, “I would absolutely recommend an internship at WMEAC. I got so much out of my summer at WMEAC – diverse career training, a network of the West Michigan environmental community, a fun office atmosphere, great friendships with fellow interns and employees, and most importantly, a career that I love!”


WMEAC takes interns from a variety of disciplines, and these environmental internships are offered for the spring, summer, and fall seasons. Check out our internship postings at https://wmeac.org/internships/ and see how you could fit into the work at WMEAC!

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