Wednesday, October 5, 2016

New intern- Alicia Zhao

Hi everyone!

Alicia at the fish pier
My name is Alicia Zhao and I’m one of the new Environmental Policy interns. Originally from the Bay Area in California, I moved to Newton during my junior year of high school, then attended Cornell University in upstate New York. After graduating with a degree in Environmental Biology, I jetted off to Japan for an English teaching job, and two amazing years later, I have returned to the Boston area. 

I first became interested in environmental conservation while in high school. My AP Biology class required a year-long environmental service project, and as someone who has always loved animals and children, I chose to partner with the Massachusetts Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals. Working together, we created lesson plans about animal endangerment, which I taught to local elementary school students. This was a life-changing experience that pushed me to pursue environmental science in college, where I focused my studies on aquatic organisms and ecosystems. During my senior year, I worked at the Cornell Biological Field Station on Oneida Lake, researching the effects of invasive mussel species on lake dynamics.
Alicia in countryside Japan

Following graduation, although I was still passionate about the environment, I also wanted to explore my interests in education and Japan. To fulfill this dream, I decided to teach English at two elementary schools in western Japan. I was fortunate to have lived in the countryside during my two years there, biking past misty mountains and endless rice paddies on a daily basis. I became fascinated with the way Japanese people appreciate and maintain their natural resources, something which, upon my return to the States, inspired me to seek work at an environmental nonprofit organization.

Save the Harbor/Save the Bay, combining both my interest in education and environmental conservation, was the perfect opportunity for me. Despite the small size of the organization, there is a lot going on in the office, and I have already played a part in various projects. Some of these projects include organizing press clips, researching and writing about a species of algae infesting Boston beaches, making phone calls to local organizations, and participating in and writing press articles about our beach cleanups last week. Every day has been interesting and a great learning opportunity; I’m looking forward to the next few months here!

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