Written by: Tessa Harvey
This summer at WMEAC, seven interns have joined the WMEAC team to learn and help in five different positions. They find themselves arriving from different backgrounds and with different skills, but have a single important commonality: their passion for the planet.
Being one of these interns myself, I’m sure I can speak for all of us when I say I am so grateful for the opportunity to spend my summer learning from and working for an organization like this.
So, without further ado, the summer interns:
Shelby Proffer is one of this summer’s Environmental Education interns. She’s a Grand Valley State University senior studying natural resources management and minoring in biology. She was interested in working with WMEAC because of the organization’s love and passion for the environment, which she says mirrors her own. “[During my time here] I’d like to get more experience with educating Grand Rapids Youth about the environment,” she says.
In her free time, Shelby enjoys hanging out with dogs.
Malory Maletic is WMEAC’s summer Recycling intern. She’s a senior at Aquinas College studying sustainable business. She’s a Grand Rapids native whose family has always found themselves involved in the environmental circle, so WMEAC was a natural step for her. When she heard the organization was hiring, she was excited to find a position she says fit her experience and interests to a T.
Kimberly Yang is WMEAC’s summer Fund Development and Engagement intern. She is a junior at Kalamazoo College with a major in economics and East Asian studies and a minor in political science. Last year, she worked on an election campaign in Kalamazoo that inspired her to continue her support of environmental efforts in West Michigan. During her time here, she would like to focus her attention on how environmental advocacy can be a concern for all, and the repercussions of environmental issues on marginalized groups.
Kimberly will be studying abroad in Beijing, China to work with an environmental organization that analyzes the effects mass pollution has on society.
Ben LeFebre is also a summer Environmental Education intern. At Northern Michigan University, he studies environmental studies and sustainability as well as geographic information systems. Ben says being a Grand Rapids native, he has “always known about WMEAC and the effort they put forth… to help reconnect citizens to the environment.” He says he feels a connection to the city and would do anything he can to contribute to its resilience.
After spending time working in an orchard last year, he has developed an interest in growing grape varieties used for wine. In his free time, he enjoys finding live music and exploring the sand dunes along Lake Michigan.
Natalie Thompson is the summer Policy intern. A lifelong West Michigan resident, Natalie is a junior at Kalamazoo College, where she studies political science and mathematics with a concentration in environmental studies. She has had a longtime interest in both public policy and environmental issues, and says WMEAC has provided her with an opportunity to explore both.
In her free time, Natalie is an avid reader, works at a bike shop, and enjoys 80s music.
Diana Barker is this summer’s Water Programs Event Planning Intern. She has a bachelor’s degree in philosophy with an environmental studies minor. Right now, she is working on her master’s degree in public administration with a concentration in nonprofit management and leadership.
Diana grew up in the upper peninsula of Michigan, which fostered her love and appreciation for nature and her desire to preserve the natural world. In her time at GVSU, she learned the importance of environmentalism, especially here with close proximity to the Great Lakes. She says she is inspired by WMEAC and the work done for the community and the environment here in West Michigan and is thankful for the opportunity to intern.
Which leaves me. My name is Tessa Harvey, and I am WMEAC’s summer Eco-Journalism and Blogging intern. I am a senior studying journalism and multimedia design at Central Michigan University, where I work as editor in chief of the school magazine. I was drawn to work at WMEAC because of my passion for the environment and writing stories about people and the issues that affect them. I look forward to writing and reporting for WMEAC all summer long!
In my free time, I enjoy adding to my much too extensive knowledge of pop culture (okay, watching Netflix), creating editorial graphics, reading, and yoga.