Max Mukelabai Diversity Internship Program

Each year, the Conservation Trust for North Carolina supports promising future conservation leaders in 10-week paid summer internship positions at organization across North Carolina through our Max Mukelabai Diversity Internship Program.  This year, we are proud to support 16 interns and one affiliate.

Dia Adams, Center for Human-Earth Restoration

Dia was born in Brooklyn, New York and raised in Greensboro, North Carolina.  On May 9, 2015, Dia graduated from North Carolina Agricultural & Technical State University with a B.S. in Animal Science.  As an undergraduate, Dia was Vice President , then President of Swing Phi Swing Social Fellowship, Incorporated; an organization committed to affecting social change, supporting women in need of growth, and promoting higher intelligence as they develop true sisterhood.

This summer she will serve as the Conservation Field Educator Intern for the Center for Human-Earth Restoration.  In this position, she will lead groups of middle school youth in field conservation, restoration ecology, and environmental education programs.  Through this experience, Dia hopes to hone her leadership skills and find her path as an educator.

Carolina Arias, Green Opportunities

Carolina Arias was born and raised in Costa Rica and moved to Asheville two years ago to attend the University of North Carolina at Asheville, where she is an environmental studies major with a minor in women and gender studies.

Over the summer, she will serve as the Community Garden Coordinator Intern with Green Opportunities in Asheville.  In this position, she will facilitate the initiation of a new community garden at the Eddington Center, where Green Opportunities is housed.  Carolina is excited to be a part of the project because of the enormous environmental and social potential that community gardens offer; they are hubs for building relationships, spaces for learning and raising discussions about important food issues, and provide general environmental improvements.

Octavus Barnes, Wilson Botanical Gardens 

Octavus Barnes is a graduate of the University of North Carolina-Chapel Hill where he earned Bachelor of Arts degrees in History and Sociology.  Octavus currently serves as the Career and Technical Education Work-Based Learning Director for Wilson County Schools.

This summer, he will work with the team at Wilson Botanical Gardens as their Horticulture Education Intern.  Mr. Barnes has a distinguished career in youth development, serving as a camp counselor at Roy Williams’ Carolina Basketball Clinic and as a Court Counselor at the Department of Juvenile Justice in Chapel Hill.  He retired from the NFL where he played for both the Atlanta Falcons and the Carolina Panthers.  Octavus is interested in exploring ways that land and horticulture can be used to enhance youth development.

Ashley Bush, Preservation Durham

Ashley Bush is a native of Atlanta, Georgia and currently residing in Chapel Hill.  She recently completed her first year of grad school in UNC’s Department of City and Regional Planning where she studies transportation planning and hopes to focus on pedestrian issues.

Ashley will be working with Preservation Durham as the National Rosenwald School Conference Intern this summer. She is excited to learn how planning and historical preservation intersect.  Ashley is especially grateful to be able to complete this internship in downtown Durham on the remnants of Black Wall Street and to piece together how historical events have shaped our built environment and communities.

Gabrielle Carrero, EarthShare NC

Gabrielle, also known as Gaby, is a Brooklyn, New York native and has lived in North Carolina since 2010. Gaby will be working with EarthShare NC this summer as a Communications Intern.  Gaby is currently a senior at Fayetteville State University and will graduate in the fall of 2015.

She looks forward to working with the Outreach and Engagement Director and helping conceive a new workplace giving campaign for 2015. Gaby cannot wait to create “story snapshots” of the member nonprofits EarthShare NC works with. Gaby will be going to graduate school after graduation to obtain a master’s degree in Technical Communication/Writing.  In the future Gaby would like to join a nonprofit organization so that she may use the power of writing to inspire others.

Janelle Collins, The Conservation Fund’s Resourceful Communities Program

Janelle Collins is a native of Winston-Salem, North Carolina and a May 2015 graduate of UNC-Charlotte where she earned a bachelor’s degree in Marketing.

This summer, Janelle will serve as the Food & Farm Marketing Intern for The Conservation Fund’s Resourceful Communities Program. In this position, she hopes to learn more about the triple bottom line approach to conservation and to support farmers and other providers in rural communities with necessary resources.

Samantha Derr, Carolina Mountain Land Conservancy

Samantha Derr, a native of Greensboro, NC, earned a bachelor’s degree from Guilford College where she completed a double major in Environmental Studies and Political Science in 2014.

This summer Samantha will be working with the Carolina Mountain Land Conservancy, Bee City USA, and Monarch Rescue as the Pollinator Awareness Marketing and Event Management Intern. In this position, she will work to promote awareness of the importance of pollinators and pollinator conservation. Samantha hopes to learn more about conservation methods for pollinator populations and using social networking sites and other media in a professional capacity while raising awareness for a cause.  She also hopes to gain professional connections and lifelong friends. By the end of her internship, Samantha hopes to have a clear direction for the next step on her path to a career in sustainability.

Jay Harris, NC Department of Agriculture

Jay Harris is a native of Bunn, NC. He is a senior at North Carolina Agricultural & Technical State University where he is studying Agro-Business Management with a concentration in Food Industry.  In the summers, he returns home to work on his  farm where his family grows corn and soybeans and raises hogs.

This summer, Jay will serve as the Agricultural Conservation Outreach Intern with the North Carolina Department of Agriculture.  He hopes this experience will lead to a career as an Agricultural Resource Professional.

Amanda Kelley, Bald Head Island Conservancy

Amanda Kelley is a recent graduate of UNC-Wilmington. She grew up in Fairfax, Virginia, and came to Wilmington to pursue a  B.S. in Marine Biology. Amanda is interested in the human dimensions of conservation and invasive species ecology.

This summer Amanda will serve as the Conservation Intern with the Bald Head Island Conservancy where she will conduct assessments on the Smith Island Land Trust properties. She hopes to learn more about land trust management, human engagement in conservation movements, and practice new field techniques that she can use in future conservation science endeavors.

Danilo Meyer-Arrivillaga, Ellerbe Creek Watershed Association

Danilo Meyer, often called Dani (Donnie), was born in Quetzaltenango, Guatemala but grew up in Durham, North Carolina. He is a junior at Juniata College where he studies Environmental Geology and Environmental Studies and is working towards a certification in Geographic Information Systems (GIS).

This summer, Dani will intern with the Ellerbe Creek Watershed Association where he will assist with watershed preservation and management. In this role, he will also work to expand community involvement by reaching out to neighborhoods, community groups, businesses, and churches through creek clean ups and environmental conservation advocating seminars. Through this internship, Dani hopes to give back to Ellerbe Creek by helping to clean it up, preserving the creek, and advancing environmental awareness in North Carolina.

James Porter, NC Coastal Land Trust

James Porter, a native of Raleigh, North Carolina, just completed his first year at Campbell University School of Law.  His interest in land conservation is derived from his early childhood experiences working outdoors with Raleigh Parks and Recreation. He also developed a profound respect for the environment while traveling abroad as a professional athlete. During his travels, James had the opportunity to volunteer within various communities worldwide and learn the importance of preserving scenic, recreational, cultural, historical, and agricultural land.

This summer, he will serve as the Legal Affairs Intern at North Carolina Coastal Land Trust. He hopes to gain quality legal experience this summer in the broad legal field of Real Estate Law.

Rozalia Romocki, Eno River Association

Rozalia (Roz) Romocki, a native of Creedmoor, North Carolina, is a junior at the University of North Carolina at Greensboro where she is majoring in Communications Studies with a minor in Social Work.

This summer, Roz will be the Assistant Coordinator for the Festival of the Eno with the Eno River Association in Durham. The festival is one of the largest 4th of July events in the Triangle. This summer she hopes to gain experience in public relations and event planning while developing strong  writing samples that she can use to build her career in media relations.

Aaliyah Singleton, Catawba Lands Conservancy

Aaliyah Singleton, a native of Charlotte, North Carolina, is a junior at North Carolina State University where she is majoring in Business Administration with a concentration in Marketing, and a minor in Sociology.

Aaliyah is excited to return home this summer to serve as the Marketing and Communications intern for Catawba Lands Conservancy. In this role, she will be responsible for writing and creating engaging content for the website, press releases, varying social media platforms and email marketing campaigns. Additionally, Aaliyah will assist in coordinating partnerships to promote community events and monitor and analyze campaign-related metrics. This summer she hopes to contribute her skills in public relations and marketing to showcase the important work of Catawba Lands Conservancy and gain more insight into the role of marketing in a non-profit setting.

Patrick Slaughter, Appalachian Trail Conservancy

Patrick Slaughter, a native of Durham, North Carolina, is a junior at North Carolina Agricultural & Technical State University where he studies Landscape Architecture.

This summer he will be the Trail Skills Training Intern with the Appalachian Trail Conservancy.  In this role, Patrick will refine his training in the practices of trail design, construction, and maintenance by teaching volunteers to build, repair, and maintain trails. He hopes to gain experience that will help improve his design process as well as his understanding of the Appalachian Trail Conservancy.

Darrien Staton, LandTrust for Central NC

Darrien Staton, a native of Charlotte, North Carolina is a junior at North Carolina Agricultural & Technical State University where he is majoring in graphic design. Darrien has a passion for art and design. He is a photographer for North Carolina Agricultural & Technical State University’s yearbook staff, and will be layout editor next fall.

This summer he will work as the Cultural Resources Intern.   In this role, he will use his knowledge of photography and videography to assist with documenting the LandTrust’s preserves.

Martha Williams, Affiliate*, NC Department of Agriculture

Martha C. Williams, a native of Fairmont, North Carolina, is a sophomore at North Carolina Agricultural & Technical State University where she is studying Agricultural & Environmental Systems.

This summer she will serve as a Conservation Specialist Intern with the North Carolina Department of Agriculture.  In this position Martha will plan, develop, and implement practices for soil erosion control, soil or water conservation, and sound land use.  As a member of a family that has been farming for four generations, Martha hopes to gain insights through this internship that she can share with her family and home community.

*Affiliates were recruited and trained through CTNC’s Max Mukelabai Diversity Internship Program, but are supported by other funding sources.