Meet Our Interns For Summer 2015

Project Gaia is excited to welcome three interns this summer. Quinn Heist and Phoebe Do are joining us on summer session from Gettysburg College, and Ellie Rice is joining us from Juniata College. They will be helping us with blogging and social media, fundraising, and research, promoting the use of clean, sustainable fuels for cooking around the world. We asked them to tell us a little about themselves and why they wanted to work with Project Gaia this summer.

What are you studying?

Quinn: Environmental Studies and Public Policy.

Phoebe: Mathematical Economics and Globalization Studies.

Ellie: Peace and Conflict Studies and Community Development, and minoring in Spanish.

Why are you excited about working with Project Gaia?

Quinn: I just returned to the U.S. after spending two semesters abroad in Tanzania. While I was there, I saw a lot of deforestation – it’s a major problem. Despite the serious environmental consequences, no real progress is being made on slowing or stopping the loss of forested areas. I saw people taking wood from forests all the time, not because they wanted to, but because it was the only option for cooking in their homes. I’m excited about working with a project that is promoting a sustainable alternative.

Phoebe: I’m Vietnamese, and the image of the woman collecting firewood with a child on her back is a reoccurring theme in Vietnamese textbooks and literature. Collecting firewood robs women of the opportunity to obtain education and puts a burden on children and families. It’s also an inefficient way to use natural resources. So I’m really excited to work with an organization that is trying to solve this problem, especially since the work I’ll be doing with Project Gaia is closely related to my independent research this summer as a Mellon Scholar.

Ellie: I just returned from a year abroad, first in India and then a spring semester study abroad experience with Rehearsing Change in Ecuador. After these experiences, I began to really understand the importance of development work that is not imposed from outside but instead is undertaken in partnership with the community with an emphasis on mutual cooperation and decision-making. I’m excited to be working with an organization that embraces that model.

What field/career would you like to go into after you graduate?

Quinn: Some fields I’m looking at include forestry or forest management.

Phoebe: I’m exploring my career options but I am particularly interested in economic analysis and phenomena involving globalization.

Ellie: I think I would like to work for an NGO, focusing on international development.

What do you like to do in your free time?

Quinn: I like outdoor activities. Hiking, fishing, gardening. I also enjoying reading fiction.

Phoebe: Creative dancing, cooking (and eating!), hanging out with friends, outdoor activities, going to the beach.

Ellie: Reading fiction, volunteering, hiking, walking with my dog, photography, cloud watching, video gaming. And keeping up with my friends around the world.

Can you share an experience or accomplishment that you had recently that you’re proud of?

Quinn: While I was studying abroad in Tanzania, during my first semester I studied in Zanzibar, which is an island off the southern coast. During the second semester my program continued in the northern part of Tanzania, but I had to get there first. I had to travel across Tanzania alone, while navigating public buses and ferries using Swahili. I got there on time with all of my luggage and books. I think that’s something to be proud of!

Phoebe: Last semester, I took the initiative to organize an event at Gettysburg College that focused on international cuisine, art and fashion, called BurgBurst. It brought friends from more than 20 countries together to accomplish a common goal and raised over $3,000 for the non-profit Heifer International.

Ellie: I’m really proud of the growth that I’ve been able to achieve while studying abroad for the last 9 months. I feel like I’ve grown in my compassion and empathy, as well as my ability to recognize and value other people’s realities.

By Rebecca Moreland