Monday, January 8, 2018

The Evolution of a Save The Bay Internship

by Kaitlyn Cedergren, Save The Bay intern-turned-development assistant

During my senior year at Johnson and Wales University, working toward bachelor’s degrees in event planning and foodservice management, I was looking for an internship, but wasn’t really sure what I wanted to do. I stumbled upon Save the Bay’s events internship opportunity and decided to apply. Save The Bay headquarters are located at the very back of the Johnson and Wales Harborside Campus property on the Providence-Cranston line, and despite having lived on campus for the previous three years, the day of my interview was my first day stepping into the Bay Center. I think it was one of the best decisions I could have ever made.

Kaitlyn working the beverage table at Save The Bay's
2017 Artists for the Bay Show Opening Reception.
I began my time at Save The Bay as an events intern, soaking up as much information and taking advantage of as many opportunities as I could. I was also beginning my MBA studies with a concentration in nonprofit business. The timing was great, because not only could I use my major and help coordinate fun events like Taste of the Bay and the Save The Bay Swim, but I was also able to help in other areas of the organization, including volunteering and development. Those experiences, in turn, helped with my school work as I was able to apply real world examples to my in-class learning. I felt like my internship was giving me event experience and future career experience as well.

And in fact, after my four-month internship, I offered a part-time development assistant role, followed by an opportunity to help our Volunteer Manager as well. In my new role at Save The Bay, I do a lot of office work, but I am also able to connect with members, volunteers, and supporters while making thank you calls, while working at volunteer opportunities and events, and at our Bay Center or Aquarium. Making these connections is one of my favorite aspects of the job. Save The Bay’s team and our supporters are full of knowledge. I can say that everyone I have worked with at Save the Bay has taught me something new about the Bay or about the organization and its work. 

I am able to see, each and every day, individuals who want to make a change and use their strengths to do it. We are a small nonprofit with a mission to “protect and improve Narragansett Bay,” and to do this work, so many hands go into helping. The work isn’t just the education team teaching the next generation or the policy team fighting for legislation. It is also the marketing team sharing our messages, the development team cultivating relationship that can last over 40 years, the volunteers who cleanup the beaches and dig creeks in the salt marsh, and so much more.

Kaitlyn (left) with her cousins and mom
at Long Sands Beach in New York in 1997.
I am from a small town in Maine, with a beach within a mile of my backyard. I grew up on the water and I actually have a wave tattoo on my foot, so that I can always walk near the ocean. Every summer growing up, I practically lived on the beach, and I was an avid paddle boarder and kayaker. I was so excited when I moved to Rhode Island to have the water in my backyard once again. Between stressful classes, walking along the Bay has been one of the most relaxing things to do and is now a habit for my roommates and me. Now, coming to work each day and seeing the view of the Bay makes every day great.

Truthfully, walking into Save the Bay on my first day, I could tell you that there was water in the Bay, that it looked pretty, and that I had heard it needed help. Now I am able to share information about the critters that live in the Bay, talk about why the Bay needs protections, and most importantly, explain why Save the Bay does what it does. I am extremely appreciative to have the opportunity to work with an organization that allows me to grow individually and in my career.

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