By Kelly Mercer
For weeks before I selected my major, I struggled with the decision. At the time, it seemed like nothing would ever be more important. My major did not just dictate my class schedule for the next three years, it shaped my entire life. As an avid sailor, I took to the water to clear my head. Out on the Charles River, with the wind whipping through my sail and the waves spraying my boat, my future seemed clear. I knew in those moments, as the boat leaned with the wind, that I wanted to dedicate my life to studying water policy so that my children would be able to sail without fear of polluted waters. The next day, I declared my major in Environmental Studies.
Now, nearly three years later, I find myself sitting in a cubical in Washington DC typing a blog entry for the Environmental Protection Agency’s Office of Water. It almost seems surreal! I am so grateful for the path that has led me to this internship. I have been able to meet countless interesting people and enjoy so many amazing experiences – like spending a summer as a deckhand on an 80-foot environmental education vessel. My time at Wellesley College has allowed me to immerse myself in my intellectual passion and undertake meaningful research. All of these experiences – as a student, intern, and water-sport aficionado – are with me while I work in our capitol.
As I begin my summer with the Office of Water, I find myself eager to wake up at 7:30am, navigate the metro, flash my U.S. EPA badge, and get to work. For the next eight weeks, I will be interning with the Office of Water, Communications. Here, I have the amazing opportunity to read reports and articles on a variety of water-related issues and learn how this information is communicated with the public. I am able to attend meetings and webinars on fascinating subjects and engage in the U.S. EPA in ways that I never expected. It is the perfect summer experience. At the end of each day, I go for a run through the National Mall and along the Potomac. As I glance at the children sailing and rowing, I hope that a few of them will find their passion in environmentalism.
About the Author: Kelly Mercer is a senior at Wellesley College. She is excited to be spending her summer interning with the EPA in the Office of Water, Communications as part of the Wellesley-in-Washington Internship Program.