Testimonial from Rhiannon Harvey, Duke University
I want to work as a marine biologist, so this program was a unique (and fun) way to experience several different methods of marine conservation, like sea turtle husbandry, biodiversity surveys, and cleaning trash off beaches. Since I was working in a large group of sixteen people I also learned leadership, patience, and how to contribute positively to the team, abilities that will all be useful in future employment. But aside from having a positive impact on my future employability, this program left a positive impact on the world around me. Some of these impacts are short-term, like cleaning turtle tanks. Turtle tanks are always going to get dirty again, but in addition to keeping the turtles happy and healthy we were able to ease the workload on the regular staff and give them more time to perform other important duties. Some of our other projects will have longer-lasting impacts. Examples of these are the biodiversity surveys, which will update and maintain databases used to track wild animal populations, and the website we created for the Thai Muang turtle conservancy, which will provide tourists with better information regarding marine ecology and conservation. However, these are only a few examples of the projects we worked on while in Thailand. GVI was very supportive throughout this experience, both before and after we arrived on site. The staff made sure to provide us with good information about our program through PowerPoint presentations and Skype calls before we left for Thailand, and after we arrived we received thorough training so we wouldn’t feel nervous or unsure about what we were doing. We were each assigned a mentor to consult with throughout the eight weeks, and I knew I could always seek help from my mentor if I was having a problem, either with something related to a project or to another team member. The GVI staff made sure we all knew that our safety and wellbeing was a priority, and they never gave us any reason to feel otherwise. This experience has been exciting, formative, challenging, inspirational, daunting, and rewarding, and I would happily go back to the beginning and do it all over again.
- Rhiannon Harvey, Duke University