New College of Florida students were among a group sharing their experiences from paid summer internships during a presentation Oct. 28 at the Community Foundation of Sarasota County.
Thomas Kane, Olivia Siegel, and Anna Wright were among 12 students from institutions from the Cross College Alliance who received their internships through a program funded by an anonymous donor. The Cross College Alliance is a partnership of local colleges including New College, University of South Florida Sarasota-Manatee, State College of Florida Manatee-Sarasota, Ringling College of Art and Design, and the John and Mable Ringling Museum of Art.
Wright, working with a student from State College of Florida, studied marine microfauna in the Sarasota Bay. “It was really experimental learning,” she said. Wright worked in labs at University of South Florida Sarasota-Manatee, USF-Tampa, and Mote Marine Laboratories, gaining lab experience as a freshman. “It opened up so many opportunities I didn’t know were available to me,” she said.
Working with the Sarasota Bay Estuary Program, Kane worked on mapping seagrass scarring caused by boat propellers in the Sarasota Bay in order to raise awareness of the damage being done to the underwater flora. “To say it changed my life is an understatement,” Kane said.
Siegel, whose work was sponsored by the New College Public Archaeology Lab, spent her internship developing an e-booklet on history and archaeology uncovered in Sarasota in order to spark discussion on what to preserve as the coastal environment changes.
The anonymous donor reached out to the CCA and funded the paid summer internships, working with various entities on projects related to environmental conservation. The event at the Community Foundation of Sarasota served as a chance for the students and supervisors to thank the donor via video messages, as well as provide an opportunity to attract more potential donors.
At the end of the ceremony, CCA officials announced that the anonymous donor had committed to funding the program for another year.