College interns migrate through NOAA Fisheries Services Southwest
Regional Office in Long Beach, California as often as the seasons change, bringing new
faces, new ideas and loads of enthusiasm.
This summer, for instance, four college students passed up sunny skies and warm sandy
beaches for the opportunity to work as interns and part-time employees at the regional
Erika Robbins is a marine biology graduate student at Duke University and assisted the
Habitat Conservation Division in determining the species that require protection under
essential fish habitat (EFH) guidelines in Southern California. Valuable information that
she will incorporate into her masters project at Duke.
Erika intends to apply to NOAA Fisheries Service immediately after graduation to
continue her work in EFH, especially after her enjoyable internship.
"I like that this internship gave me the opportunity to work not only in the
field, but in the office as well," she said.
The highlight of Erikas internship was being in the right place at the right time
when editors from Seventeen magazine called looking for a profile of a female
marine biologist. After a quick conversation the editors were sold on her experience and
placed her profile and photograph in the October 2005 Back to School edition of the
Lia Protopapadakis, also a graduate student at Duke University, will be Erikas
roommate this fall in Durham, North Carolina. Lia volunteered her summer to study economic
impacts of fishery closures.
"Its really great being here and getting a feel for what its like to
work in NOAA Fisheries Service," she said. "Im interested in how things
get worked out at the international level and then get translated into action at the
Lia will graduate in 2006 and is looking to relocate to Hawaii where she can work on
international fishery issues.
Cari Wilkinson, a marine biology and zoology major on break from California State
University Long Beach, worked in the Sustainable Fisheries Division and entered
information to track tuna imports into the United States.
"Its just data entry and you dont need to be a rocket scientist to do
it," she said, "but I know the connections I make here will help me in the
future after I graduate."
Cari plans on applying to NOAA Fisheries Service or Fish and Wildlife Service after
graduation but is also interested in teaching high school biology.
Celia Barroso, a marine biology major at California State University Long Beach, enters
data on marine mammals that strand or wash ashore on the beaches in California. She is
also a volunteer at the Marine Mammal Center in nearby San Pedro where she likely cares
for some of the animals she enters in the database.
"This is a good experience and helpful to learn a lot from everyone around
you," she said.
Celia left NOAA a few weeks before school started to study marine mammals off the San
Juan Islands. She will finish her undergraduate degree in 2006 and then apply to graduate
school to continue her studies in marine biology.
Now fall has arrived and a new group of interns has arrived. Kristin McCully and Rimma
Osipov have come from just up the road at UCLA while Brian Owens comes from California
State University Long Beach.
Whatever their school affiliation or season of arrival, these interns play an important
and valuable role for NOAA Fisheries Service Southwest Region.