A Legacy of Diversity

Max photo II

Max Mukelabai

In 2008, CTNC established an internship program for minority students with our state’s 10 historically black colleges and universities. Through this program, now expanded to the entire UNC system, CTNC, local land trusts, and other conservation groups introduce promising students to careers in conservation and introduce conservation organizations to potential employees.

Interns are placed with host organizations for full-time, 10 or 11 week, paid internships that provide hands-on opportunities to gain the skills and experiences necessary for a successful career in conservation. So far, 73 students have completed internships, and they all did significant and meaningful work with their host organizations.

Preference is given to rising juniors, seniors, and graduate/professional students. Minority students are encouraged to apply.

The program honors CTNC board member Max Mukelabai, a dynamic young leader who joined us in 2008 and passed away suddenly on July 8, 2011, at the age of 36. Max — born in Zambia and raised in Zimbabwe — brought a global perspective to our work and was deeply committed to our Conservation and Diversity Program. For more information, please contact Stephen Graddick, our Conservation and Diversity Coordinator at stephen@ctnc.org or (919)828-4199, ext 21.


Click here to meet the 2017 Diversity Interns.

Read what some of our alumni had to say about their experiences:

This summer I worked with an amazing mentor who has this incredible contagious enthusiasm for teaching, which made going to work fun and exciting. 

Kat Walston

Kat Walston

She helped me develop lesson plans, organize activities, and add some of my own ideas to iWalk the Eno Science & Nature Camp.  I created a box turtle project kit, which the iWalk campers and teachers used to help measure and mark box turtles, as part of a statewide research initiative to gather baseline data on population size and structure for the purpose of long-term monitoring. For more information visit the site http://boxturtle.uncg.edu/

My experience at the Eno River Association has taught me that I do have a passion for teaching conservation and working outdoors, which brings me one step closer in my career path.  I feel incredibly grateful for the Eno River Association, Max Mukelabai Diversity internship, and the Conservation Trust for North Carolina for giving me this opportunity.  The staff at CTNC are truly amazing and they helped me with my career development by having resume workshops, speakers, and networking opportunities. I am extremely appreciative of this experience.

Katherine Walston, 2013 Graduate of the University of North Carolina-Greensboro
2014 summer intern at Eno River Association in Durham.


Racheal Hammond

Racheal Hammond

Throughout this internship, I was embraced with the warm support of multiple organizations. Although the Conservation Trust for NC was not my host organization, they were so engaged and nurturing that I became associated with everyone there as well.

During the allotted ten weeks, I was able to polish existing or newly acquired skills that will be necessary for my long-term career goals. I was also able to develop new skills under the guidance of practicing professionals. My host site created an atmosphere conducive to learning. I participated in stewardship trips to monitor the conservation easements held by the land trust. I met with representatives of the city as well as banks in the area. I represented the NC Coastal Land Trust on Land Trust Day with Great Outdoor Provision Company

I especially appreciated the rich educational factor of this internship. I have gained so much more insight and knowledge about the field of conservation in general…

Racheal Hammond, Juris Doctorate & Master’s Candidate in City and Regional Planning, University of North Carolina
2014 summer intern at North Carolina Coastal Land Trust in Wilmington.