Maddie Warner: Summer 2022 Reflections

What did you accomplish with your host organization? What was the impact of your work?

Plastic Tides: Global Youth Mentor Program Social Media Intern

At Plastic Tides, I worked on a variety of projects to support the start of the Global Youth Mentor Program’s third year and the social media team’s efforts to share the organization’s mission and programming. My main project was to develop a grant proposal for a video interview series to highlight ocean environmental leaders. I finished out the summer with an initial draft of the proposal, and my supervisor asked me to continue on with Plastic Tides through the end of the year. I’m excited to continue my internship this semester and implement the project from the proposal.

I also worked with the social media team to create educational content about plastic pollution and alternatives to plastic for their Instagram and TikTok accounts, reaching an audience of 49k people. Through my work with Plastic Tides, I developed a project that will provide educational and career development videos for students worldwide, encouraging students from around the world to consider their personal impact on the environment and what they can do at home, at school, and in their future careers. The graphics and videos I created will educate thousands of people about plastic waste and ways to avoid relying on plastic and into a plastic free future. 

The Ocean Foundation: Deep Seabed Mining Moratorium Science Communication Intern

As an intern with The Ocean Foundation, I created a series of educational infographics, blog posts, and Twitter feeds about deep seabed mining (DSM). My supervisor and I started the summer by identifying the arguments surrounding DSM and determining which to target in a multi-pronged media campaign. I wrote and developed four blogs, created 16 original graphics, wrote 2 Twitter threads, and created one PDF style handout. The graphics reached a global Instagram audience of 4.6k and the tweets were retweeted by a variety of incredible ocean organizations and researchers. I’m hopeful that the blogs and other content I created with TOF inspire and encourage policymakers working at the International Seabed Authority (ISA) and on deep sea mining to continue to fight for the protection of the deep ocean. I hope that the products of my internship allow someone without a background in DSM to understand more about the threat it poses to marine life and biodiversity as well as why those minerals are not needed to meet the future demand of electric vehicles.
Read part 1 of the blog post here:

What were the benefits of this experience for you professionally and personally?

Plastic Tides

This experience helped me learn about a whole new area that I had no prior knowledge about. Previously I knew that the plastic crisis was important, but I had no idea the extent of plastic pollution or the widespread effect it has on the world and the ocean. It was so encouraging to read the stories of previous GYM Youth Leaders and see an incredible group of passionate 12-18 year olds working to make a difference in their communities and the world. Professionally, I developed new skills in graphic design, social media strategy, time management and more. I was able to connect and develop relationships with the Plastic Tides GYM and Social Media teams, building my network and creating long lasting friendships. I am so grateful for my team and the energy that each person brings to challenging plastic pollution.

Finishing up the last week of my internships!

The Ocean Foundation

My time with TOF was incredible on both a personal and professional level. I was able to dive deeper into deep sea mining, a topic that I’ve worked on a variety of projects during my time at MIIS and meet and work with a variety of people who work professionally on DSM. After writing about the International Seabed Authority, I was invited to listen in at the 3 weeks of summer meetings. It was powerful to see how the international community works together and to know that I witnessed history in the making about this incredibly important topic. I’m so grateful for the people that my supervisor introduced me to, and the internal meetings I was able to participate in. I developed connections with people throughout the organization and feel confident in my ability to enter the professional world with the skills I learned from my time at TOF. Personally, I was thrilled to develop my skills as a communicator and develop my knowledge base on deep sea mining. I was able to learn about the intersectionality of DSM and underwater cultural heritage, DSM and Indigenous rights, and DSM and the circular economy. 

Did your experience provide any unexpected discovery, self-reflection, or epiphany?

Plastic Tides

I was thrilled to realize how much I enjoy video editing and graphic design. I wrote, storyboarded, and developed three different videos over the summer which I had minimal previous experience attempting at the scale of a social media content creator. I’ve linked one of the video series I created below: a set of three short videos about trash that was found on Mars over the summer. I had so much fun creating short and informative videos like the ones below.

The Ocean Foundation

My projects at TOF required many reviews and edits, an area that I am still developing my skills. Working with multiple departments at TOF showed me just how important it is to check and double check text, colors, formatting, etc, and how beneficial it is to experiment and try something new. Working in two organizations on social media and communications highlighted the importance of following the expected branding guidelines and the creativity that can be incorporated. It brought me a lot of joy to figure out how to best communicate the information I had through beautiful colors and aesthetically pleasing designs. Science communication is definitely an area I hope to pursue in the future, whether through blogs, graphic design, presentations, or a different medium. I learned so much about the most effective methods and formats of communicating a variety of information that can often be dense.

One of the Instagram posts I created for The Ocean Foundation

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