Where Are They Now?  

The Ted Smith Conservation Internship Program started in 2000. Since that time, more than 300 talented indi­viduals from Alaska and across the country have participated in this life-changing opportunity, and as envisioned, many are now making their mark on the movement. Read how the program has impacted former interns, their career paths and ultimately, Alaska’s natural environment and the ways of life it sustains.

Samarys Seguinot-Medina

Samarys Seguinot-Medina

Samarys Seguinot-Medina

Samarys proudly hails from Puerto Rico. In 2009, she was placed at Alaska Community Action on Toxics, where she worked with residents of St. Lawrence Island in the Bering Sea who are suffering with serious health problems due to toxic pollution left behind by the military years ago. We’re grati­fied to report that today, while she completes her doctorate degree, Samarys is still at ACAT where she now not only directs their Environmental Health Pro­gram but is one of the lead scientists continuing to collaborate with the residents of St. Lawrence Island as they fight for their health and cultural survival. (Contributed April 2016)

Ben Jones

Ben Jones arrived at Cook Inletkeeper in Homer from Ohio in the summer of 2005 where he assisted with water quality monitoring. Ben credits the Conservation Internship Program with not only setting him on his career path, but his life path. Immediately follow­ing his placement, he started working at the Alaska Science Center—U.S. Geological Survey in Anchorage where he still works today conducting research on how the Arctic is responding over time to climate change related events like permafrost thaw, fire and erosion. Ben also went on to get his PhD from the University of Alaska Fairbanks and to marry Kelly Harrell—who participated in the program the same year! Kelly is another leader in the movement, serving as Executive Director of long-time grantee Alaska Marine Conservation Council, which was her host organization back in 2005, and where she has remained ever since. (Contributed March 2016)

Jenna Hertz

jenna backpacking headshot crop

Jenna Hertz

Jenna Hertz first came to Alaska from Michigan in the summer of 2009. Lured by its mystique, she accepted a Conservation Internship at the Northern Alaska Environmental Center in Fairbanks where she worked to raise awareness about the continued importance of protecting the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge. That experience was more than she had hoped for – she met amazing people who loved Alaska and worked hard to show it. After that first summer, she was hooked by Alaska’s beauty and heeded the calling to stay and help protect it and the ways of life it sustains. ACF is pleased to report that Jenna is still in Alaska today and now serving as Program Director for the Tanana Valley Watershed Association, a group working to preserve the Fairbanks region’s natural environment. Jenna is extremely grateful for the opportunity she was afforded through the Conservation Internship Program. She says of her time in Alaska: “Meeting people here has profoundly impacted my life in the way I want to live and the way to make a difference.”  (Contributed September 2014)

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