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 Jessica Levy. Read on to hear about Jessica's time at REEF, and how her internship helped her get where she is now.
When were you an intern?
Summer 2012 (May to August)
What did you like the most about your internship?
That’s tough—I liked a lot about it. I’d say two main things: 1.) The ability to volunteer with other community groups (this is actually what got me the job I have today!) And 2.) REEF volunteers/members. I met some incredibly wonderful people through REEF who were always eager to help out interns for no other reason than they were interns.
Was there a goal or focus you had going into the internship?
At the time of the start of the internship, I had actually been searching for employment for about 6 months after graduating with my Master’s. So, my goal was really to do well, make connections, and find a job!
Were there any big projects you worked on during the internship that had an impact on you?
Fishinars - Janna is my favorite person! Another cool project was the TWA Advanced Assessment Fish Survey team on the Vandenberg. (From 2009-2015, REEF, in partnership with Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission and the Florida Keys National Marine Sanctuary, conducted monitoring work on the Gen. Hoyt S. Vandenberg shipwreck, an artificial reef off of Key West. You can read more about REEF's past and current monitoring work here.)
What are you doing now?
I currently work as the Restoration Program Manager for Coral Restoration Foundation (CRF). With that, I manage all our nursery and outplant operation, our permitting requirements, funding obligations, and the staff/facilities that we have and need to support our restoration work. I also get to represent CRF in the coral restoration community and get to work with many other professionals who are working to further this field.
How has the REEF internship influenced or supported where you are now?
The REEF internship and scholarship support from Our World Underwater Scholarship Society got me to Key Largo. That was a big step. It also provided me with an introduction to the person (former REEF intern Stephanie Roach, now Tate) that I’d later be hired by at Coral Restoration Foundation.