Monday, April 14, 2014

Meet our Spring Interns!

What's amazing, and talented and leaves us thinking it's too good to be true?  

Our WEA intern team!  

We have some serious love for these ladies – and for all of the rockstar interns who have supported WEA over the years.  They help us not only during our big events, but also in the day-to-day running of things, making our work not only possible, but THRIVE.

Because we adore them and their awesome skills, we wanted to introduce our current spring interns to all of you. 

We'd also like to send a big heartfelt hug and thanks to some of our previous interns from last fall and early winter: Molly Garritson, Monica Boardman, Germaine Lau and Bess Zewdie.

SOPHIE SPARKSWORTHY – General Intern

1. Tell us about yourself! What is your background and what has been your journey to WEA?  Born and raised in Lake Tahoe, I have always had a deep connection with nature.  Ever since I was little I felt very lucky to be blessed with the wilderness as my playground.  My connection with the wild inspired me to want to protect the bounty and beauty our planet has to offer.  Despite my love for the outdoors, growing up in a small town drove me to San Francisco to attend San Francisco State University to graduate with a Degree in International Relations, and a minor in Russian.

In my five and half years in the Bay Area, I have come to appreciate the vibrancy and vitality that comes from thriving urban communities.  I began to see disparities between communities and individuals more clearly than ever, and decided it would be one of my missions in life to help make positive changes.  After volunteering for community organizations, I realized my passions were focused around global injustices particular to the environment (water especially).  Seeing the work WEA did, I was able to see my two passions linked together to help communities thrive through supporting women.

2. What do you do at WEA?  My role at WEA involves supporting the general operations of the organization, like administrative assistance, and helping to maintain donor relations.  I am also working to support the Advocacy Network, which allows me a wonderful opportunity to research potential and current Indigenous environmental movements and efforts to mitigate the effects of climate change.  Part of this role includes blogging about these significant efforts made by Indigenous communities and organizations.

3. Share 2 unique things about you that your co-workers do not know.  Two unique things my co-workers might not know are that I have been belly dancing since I was 13 years old, and am currently teaching myself how to costume design.  Rather than keep pets, I raise carnivorous plans as well.

4. What do you see as the biggest challenge in the intersection of women and the environment?  The biggest challenge I see globally for the intersection of women and the environment is access.  Access to the resources, training, and participation in the decision-making process necessary to have more power in maintaining our ecosystems, and having a role in protecting the future of this planet.

5. Tell us about a woman who inspires you and why.  One woman who I find to be extremely inspirational for her strength to resist the USSR and create change for so many is Maria Cherkasova.  As a Russian journalist and ecologist during Soviet rule, she forced the government to adopt an environmental program, and address some of the severe ecological issues of the time.  Since then, she has run the largest environmental NGO in the former Soviet Republic.

6. Tell us one thing that surprised you about being at WEA.  I was surprised by the amount that play and work are incorporated together.  I was even more surprised to see the results of this combination with an incredible amount being accomplished.

7. What do you hope to get out of your time at WEA?  From my time at WEA, I hope to gain a strong understanding of the issues women face globally, and the surrounding climate change.  More importantly, I hope to gain a meaningful understanding for what people are doing to solve these problems, and what those efforts take logistically, financially, and personally.  I hope to gain the hands-on experience and skills that can be utilized for any cause I may involve myself in.


SOPHIA ROSE PENNELLA 
– Social Media Intern 
1. Tell us about yourself! What is your background and what has been your journey to WEA?  I grew up in Southern and Northern California, spending my school year in Los Angeles and winters and summers in Truckee near Lake Tahoe.  I was raised with an appreciation for the outdoors and a moral code to conserve our natural beauty.  Studying environmental economics in college, with geography, photography, and French as my minors, only crystallized those passions.

I graduated in December 2013 from Cal Poly, San Luis Obispo, and moved to the Bay Area.  I knew that while I was studying for the GRE and advancing my long-term goals of pursuing a graduate level degree in economics and natural resource management, I also wanted to gain some experience working with a non-profit organization doing international development or environmental work.  When I found WEA it was like my dreams had come true.  The organization seemed to be involved in everything I was interested in: development, sustainability, empowering women, co-powering organizations, and environmental management.  At the time I applied, they had no internships available, but I stuck with it and kept in touch, and soon enough one opened up!

2. What do you do at WEA?  I am the Social Media Intern at WEA.  I manage the daily postings on Facebook, Twitter, and LinkedIn, spread awareness of WEA's mission and projects, and connect with other like-minded organizations.  It allows for a lot of creative control and collaboration with the rest of the staff.

3. Share 2 unique things about you that your co-workers do not know.  I have a pet bird named Stella who travels with my family and me on any road trips we take!  I also would love to open an artisanal dairy products shop one day.

4. What do you see as the biggest challenge in the intersection of women and the environment?  Women, all over the world (including the West), need to be empowered.  They need to be empowered to realize that they hold the key to sustainable change and have access to the resources they need.  This empowerment lies in education (of resources, skills, ability to evoke change) and community building (within their own community, and outside communities and organizations).  The combination of these two factors equips women with the confidence and resources that they need to save our environment.

5. Tell us about a woman who inspires you and why.  My mother inspires me.  After being a stay-at-home mother for 18 years, she decided to go back and get a Masters degree in what she truly loved at the age of 50.  Not until she was 52 did she start her career and now she is a powerhouse!  She did not let age or time keep her from achieveing her dreams.
 
6. Tell us one thing that surprised you about being at WEA.  I was suprised at how comfortable I immediately felt at WEA.  The office feels like a home, and even though I can work remotely, I prefer to go into the office.  With that, the staff is incredibly sweet, helpful, and enjoyable to be around.

7. What do you hope to get out of your time at WEA?  I hope to be surrounded by like-minded individuals who are looking for unique and pragmatic approaches to environmental sustainability.  I hope to be inspired by and inspire my co-workers.  I hope to learn the workings of an environmental non-profit.  I also enjoy learning about social media, marketing, and public relations best practices.


Meet the rest of the talented interns that have worked with WEA throughout the years here!

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