06/25/18 by Juanita Teschner
Two Stanback Summer Interns from Duke University are working at the Center for the Environment at Catawba College through July.
Jimena Perez-Viscasillas, a master’s degree student in environmental management at Duke’s Nicholas School of the Environment, and Rebecca Hall, a public policy studies major, are working with the Center’s Sustainability Outreach Coordinator Elizabeth Howard to help plan, develop and promote the National Environmental Summit for High School Students. They are also working to develop projects that will improve sustainability awareness and accessibility on campus. A social marketing campaign targeting sustainable practices at Catawba is a particular focus.
Perez-Viscasillas and Hall are helping to develop a survey to assess current attitudes and behaviors of campus students, faculty and staff on the subject of sustainable practices. “This study will help the Center gauge which behaviors to tackle in their campaign toward a more sustainable Catawba,” Perez-Viscasillas says.
Hall is pleased she has been tasked with helping develop several policy proposals and briefs based on research she and Perez-Viscasillas are conducting. “As a public policy studies major, I am using my class work to help inform these briefs and approaches,” Hall says. “Through these initiatives, I have learned about social marketing and about policy within non-profits and educational institutions.”
Hall notes that she has been able to get first-hand experience with the research and recommendation aspects of policy that she studied in her classes. “Having the opportunity to implement the skills that I have developed during my coursework in real life has been a wonderful experience,” she says, “and the practical knowledge that my internship at the Center has provided me will be invaluable as I continue in my studies.”
Perez-Viscasillas says she values the experience and insights she has gained into how a small non-profit works. “In this sort of environment, everyone works with a little bit of everything and everyone’s input is important,” she says. “It has been a really pleasant experience because of that. I have felt less like a traditional intern and more like a temporary member of the team. The environment is one of constant collaboration, discussion and communication, which is very enjoyable.”
Dr. John Wear, the Center’s executive director, speaks highly of the Stanback interns. “They are exceptional young women who are eager to take the initiative and tackle projects head-on,” he says. “It is a real joy to work with them.”