Over nearly three decades, REEF has welcomed more than 100 individuals to REEF Headquarters to spend a semester immersed in the marine conservation field. This month, we highlight past intern Alexis Balinski. Read on to hear about Alexis's time at REEF, and how her internship helped her get where she is now.

When were you a Marine Conservation Intern?
I interned during the summer of 2013.

What did you like the most about your internship?
I loved the fact that I got to be involved in diving and education programs. I’m a graphic designer by trade and I knew that my career after college would most likely not afford the opportunity to get out and be in the field educating people directly, so I definitely enjoyed that part the most.

Was there a goal or focus you had going into the internship?
Gaining experience with diving and education was a goal for me, but I was also focused on experimenting with how my chosen career (graphic design) could be applied to my other favorite field of interest: marine conservation. It was definitely a successful experiment!

Were there any particularly memorable projects you worked on during the internship and if so, how did these impact you?
I helped establish some collateral pieces and branding from a design standpoint while I was there, specifically for the very first REEF Fest event! A lot of that stuff is still used for the event to this day so I’m proud of that. I also spent a lot of time organizing the storefront. It’s changed a bunch since then, but that actually made a big impact on me because it was the beginning of my interest in exhibit design!

What are you doing now?
I am the in-house Graphic Designer at Mote Marine Laboratory & Aquarium. My job includes designing everything from publications, to collateral, advertising, and all the exhibit signage in the Aquarium. It’s my dream job!

How has the REEF internship influenced or supported where you are now?
I literally wouldn’t be where I am today if I hadn’t interned at REEF. Not only did they give me a variety of opportunities to expand my portfolio (designing all sorts of flyers, signs, shirts, etc.) as a designer, but it solidified my commitment to the marine conservation/science field. Furthermore, REEF is really well known in the Marine field, so I’m convinced that having that internship on my resume was the reason I got the job at Mote! I’m forever grateful to the experience I had at REEF. It’s not an exaggeration when I say it was a catalyst that set me on my current career path.