NOAA's Response and Restoration Blog

An inside look at the science of cleaning up and fixing the mess of marine pollution

An Intern’s Insights into NOAA’s Office of Response and Restoration

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This is a post by OR&R legislative and constituent affairs intern Christina Phang.

Now that summer is beginning to wind down, so too is my internship here at NOAA’s Office of Response and Restoration (OR&R). With only a little time left here, I’ve started to reflect on the great experiences I’ve had so far.

When I first found out I was accepted as a summer intern, I could barely contain my excitement! As an economics and environmental science double major, working at OR&R was akin to a dream come true. When I arrived my first day, I was incredibly nervous. Interns here have a history of tackling amazing projects. One previous intern, for example, helped draft comments on an agreement between NOAA and the oil and gas industry. Talk about intimidating! My worries were quickly eased however, when I met the friendly and enthusiastic OR&R team here at NOAA’s headquarters in Silver Spring, Md.

Like other interns before me, my work focuses on legislative and constituent affairs relevant to OR&R’s work on oil spill response, environmental restoration, and marine debris. On a day-to-day basis, I track legislation and key votes in Congress, provide comments on policy initiatives and research reports, revise briefing documents, and attend forums and seminars.

In my three months here, I’m glad to report I’ve never once been sent to get coffee—instead, I’ve had the extraordinary opportunity to attend Congressional hearings, draft write-ups for NOAA leadership, and meet inspirational people such as iconic oceanographer Sylvia Earle. It’s been a truly remarkable internship experience.

But aside from meeting ocean heroes, my favorite thing about OR&R has been that I’ve always been treated as part of the team. I sit in on the same meetings, tackle the same projects, and sit side-by-side with the nation’s best leaders in oil spill response, restoration, and marine debris. Every day I learn something new, and I constantly am astounded at the impact I’ve made.

Although I’ve been taught a great deal the past two years at the College of William and Mary (Va.), this internship continues to remind me that there is always more to learn. Thanks to my amazing mentor and coworkers here, I will be heading back to school in August armed with a host of new skills and knowledge. I couldn’t have asked for a better start to my professional career!

For aspiring interns with an interest in science, policy, or media relations, OR&R has a list of student internship opportunities. My advice? Apply. You won’t regret it!

Christina PhangChristina Phang is a rising junior at the College of William and Mary and is pursuing a double major in Environmental Science and Policy and Economics. On campus she is involved in Chi Omega women’s fraternity, William and Mary Students for Belize Education, and is a health outreach peer educator. Outside of the classroom, Christina loves traveling, going for runs, and sipping a good latte.

Author: Office of Response and Restoration

The National Ocean Service's Office of Response and Restoration (OR&R) provides scientific solutions for marine pollution. A part of the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA), OR&R is a center of expertise in preparing for, evaluating, and responding to threats to coastal environments. These threats could be oil and chemical spills, releases from hazardous waste sites, or marine debris.

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