Wrigley Institute Environmental Communications Internship

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Shape society’s understanding of environmental issues

Science communication and storytelling is an essential skill in the 21st century. As society grapples with challenges at the intersection of environment and society, science communicators help move research out of the laboratory and into the minds and hearts of decision-makers, the public, and next generation change-makers.

Eligibility: Open to continuing USC undergraduate students; preference given to majors in Environmental Studies, Cinematic Arts, and Communications. 

The 2023 Wrigley Institute Environmental Communications Internship application is now closed. More information about the next cycle for the Wrigley Institute Environmental Communications Internship applications will be released early 2024.

2023 Internship Projects

See below for areas of focus for the 2023 environmental communications internship.

The 2023 Wrigley Institute Environmental Communications Internship application is now closed. More information about the next application cycle will be available in early 2024. 

Graphics For Plastics: Visualizing Sustainable Solutions 

Advisor: Megan Fieser – USC Dornsife Department of Chemistry

The Fieser group is looking for a Communications Intern to help make graphics that allow us to communicate our sustainability plastics research to different audiences. Graphics to be developed include: table of content graphics to graphically communicate our publications, cover art for particularly exciting manuscripts, graphics for our outreach website, graphics for our scientific presentations, and graphics for our educational aims, as well as a t-shirt design for the year’s beach cleanups. Each year, we also come up with new options, depending on the intern’s interests.

Coastal Policy Communications and Outreach

Advisors: Karina Alvarez and Phyllis Grifman – USC Sea Grant

This internship will support analysis and communication of the results from the 2023 California Coastal Adaptation Needs Assessment. Practitioners in California’s coastal counties generally recognize that climate change will impact their communities and coastline. Yet, these communities are at different stages in developing and/or implementing climate change adaptation plans. This survey is the fourth in a series of longitudinal surveys (in 2005, 2011, and 2016) that evaluate the needs and challenges of individuals working along California’s coastlines to prepare for the effects of climate change. The intern will support the analysis of survey results, help create various materials to communicate survey results (graphics, social posts, StoryMaps, etc.), and contribute to the final survey report.

Photographic Storytelling from the Field on Catalina Island

Advisor: Kathryn Royster/Jessica Dutton – USC Wrigley Institute

This internship position will be based at the Wrigley Marine Science Center (WMSC) on Catalina Island for the summer. The intern will focus on producing professional-quality photos, and possibly videos, of research and educational activities taking place in and around Catalina Island. Applicants for this internship should submit a portfolio of their journalistic or marketing photography with their application. The person selected for this position should expect to spend at least 5 days per week on Catalina Island and may work evenings or weekends. Shared housing and meals at WMSC are included. This position requires participating in activities such as kayaking, snorkeling, hiking, and camping. AAUS or PADI diving certification a plus.

Information to Advance Sustainable Seaweed Farming

Advisor: Amalia Almada – USC Sea Grant

Interest in seaweed farming is at an all-time high in the U.S. and globally, since some kelps have well-established potential to become competitive food, pharmaceutical, and even biofuel crops. With an eye toward this industry, researchers are developing important safety features to prevent domesticated kelp strains from potentially interbreeding with and impacting wild populations. An intern will help develop a public education and communication program about ongoing research and demonstrate how this work is relevant to social policy, commercial licensing, and the expansion of seaweed farming. The intern will support the development of an interactive StoryMap website with compelling infographics to outline and address common misconceptions as well as the virtues and challenges of ‘sporeless’ seaweed farming and seaweed farming more generally. The intern may also help develop training videos for hatchery/farmer stakeholders showcasing these research techniques.

Communicating for Coral Conservation

Advisor: Carly Kenkel – USC Department of Marine and Environmental Biology

We are studying coral’s response to climate change, and specifically the ability of coral to adjust their anatomy in response to environmental cues (known as morphological plasticity). This project aims to address key questions on the causes and consequences of these changes in a foundational Caribbean coral species, Acropora cervicornis. Understanding the role of these changes in driving the success of coral transplants is essential information for reef practitioners and managers working to conserve and restore reefs. Interns will learn about coral biology and the role of plasticity in response to climate change, and in turn will create a translation of this research such as graphic illustrations, social media content, or short videos that will be shared widely through both USC’s and Mote Marine Lab’s communication platforms.

Climate Change Policy and Environmental Activism

Advisor: Shannon Gibson – USC Environmental Studies Program

Dr. Gibson conducts field and participant observation research at international climate summits, including World Social Forums, G20 Summits, and the United Nations climate negotiations (most recently COP27) in order to assess the impact of environmental social movements and activist networks. The intern will contribute to social media campaigns focused on environmental advocacy and scholar-activism, and related website design.

Elevating Environment and Equity

Advisor: Rachel Helfing, Curator of Equity Initiatives – Los Angeles Zoo

The Wrigley Institute/LA Zoo Communications Intern will practice intersectional storytelling, blending themes of environmental science, education, and equity. Working directly with the Zoo’s Equity Programs team, this intern will chronicle the Los Angeles Zoo’s Paid Internship Program. Activities at the Zoo may include shadowing the Conservation and Learning & Engagement internships, conducting interviews, taking photos, and creating content for the Zoo’s public blog, social media, or website. This intern will have the opportunity to practice and expand upon their storytelling through project-based learning, co-creating their program with their Zoo and Wrigley Institute mentors.

Past Projects

Check out some of the work completed by previous environmental communications interns! All interns produce a summary video and blog post for the Wrigley Institute, plus specific deliverables for their project: websites, photos, graphics, social media posts, and more.

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