The experience of a not-so-old volunteer

Morgan manning the RAE booth at the 2016 Summit.

Being a college student in today’s world can be intimidating. The job market is becoming more competitive, and things like volunteering can definitely set you apart. As I sit here in my final year of college and think about the best things I’ve done for my career, Restore America’s Estuaries immediately comes to mind.

I was RAE’s communications intern in the fall of 2015, and from day one I could tell that this organization would do great things for me professionally. I contributed to website content creation, social media posting, and much more. I had the opportunity to attend meetings with outside organizations, attend online marketing conferences, and even ghost write an article for a publication.

As I was looking for more ways to get involved in RAE’s work after my time as intern ended, I decided to volunteer at the 2016 Summit in New Orleans. Not only was I able to work in an awesome city, but I was also able to get an idea of what makes a successful conference.

My volunteer duties included everything from running the RAE booth to registering attendees. No matter what I did, I was guaranteed the chance to network with leaders in their field and learn more about working in the environmental sector as a whole. Being in a professional atmosphere with so many people that share the same passion for preserving nature as I do was extremely rewarding.

In my down time, I was also able to attend lectures and workshops with the other conference attendees. I educated myself about living shorelines, blue carbon, environmental communications, and more. I learned much more from these workshops than I did from my college classes (shh, don’t tell my professors)!

The skills I developed while volunteering with RAE continue to help me today. I will soon graduate from the University of Florida with a degree in journalism. My next stop will be Huanchaco, Peru where I have secured a spot with an environmental volunteer program. When I return, I will be searching for job opportunities, and I can guarantee that my friends from RAE and the relationships I formed at the Summit will be instrumental in determining my career path moving forward.

Learn more about becoming a volunteer at the 2018 Summit in Long Beach, C.A.

Morgan Johnson was a former intern at Restore America’s Estuaries.