Conservation Conversations: With Ellie Modlin-Unger
Our mission to Save Nearby Nature must be contagious as our four-week-long intern, Ellie Modlin-Unger, stepped in and fit without a hitch. In this Q&A, we sat down with Ellie to chat about her experience working with the team.
By Aaron Kershaw
Published August 13, 2021
Q: What were your expectations for this internship opportunity four weeks ago, and how did your experience compare with the expectations?
Coming into this internship, I thought I would be working on projects with only one small group of people. After spending time here, I’ve had great experiences working with many groups of people from different committees and teams.
Q: I understand you are a soccer player. Is there anything you’ve learned from the sport that influences your approach to teamwork?
Being in a team sport, you learn leadership and how to work with different personalities. Having been a team captain at times, I’m motivated to get work done effectively and efficiently.
Q: You brought your unique ideas and skillset every day into the office. First, do you feel the NVCT staff awarded you the freedom to express your talents? Second, do you think you’ve been able to improve upon your skillset due to working with the staff?
Yes, I have been able to decide which projects I want to work on and what topics to focus on. Working on projects for almost all the different committees (lands team, design, research) has improved my skills in design and research.
Q: Ideally, internships give young people the opportunity to apply their academic disciplines to real-world scenarios flexibly. Was it fun using all that you’ve learned in this real-world setting? If yes, how so?
Yes, I’ve put my communication and collaboration skills to the test for projects, as well as learning what an ideal day at a job would be (in the pandemic).
Q: How was your experience at the canoe/kayak cleanup of Dyke Marsh? Did the environmental cleanup increase your appreciation for protecting nearby nature?
I had a great time at the kayak cleanup; it’s a great feeling knowing that I did a good deed in helping the environment. You always see on TV or in ads the campaigns with all the pictures of pollution in the streams, oceans, forests, but you never really understand until you’re in that place yourself helping to clean up.
Q: The internship experience is only enhanced when an intern feels like them, and the rest of the staff are teammates. Did the NVCT staff make you feel like a member of the team? Did they increase your interest in using your skillset in a potential environmentally conscious career?
Definitely, I noticed straight away how nice everyone is and how everyone gets along. During my time here I have felt a part of the team and knew I could ask questions or reach out to anyone. For college, I am looking more into Environmental Science and Sustainability.