The Conservation Trust for North Carolina is excited to welcome the 2017 Diversity in Conservation Internship Program participants! Through this initiative we hope to encourage future conservation leaders by creating employment pathways to careers with land trusts, nonprofits, and government agencies.

This summer marks a tremendous milestone as we celebrate the tenth year and more than 100 undergraduate and graduate students completing the program, while building diversity and equity in the entire conservation movement.

This year’s program was made possible in partnership with CTNC AmeriCorps, the Land Trust Alliance, and the United States Forest Service.

Meet our 2017 Diversity Interns!

Kimani Anderson, Blue Ridge Forever

Kimani Anderson was born and raised in Brooklyn, NY. Anderson is a rising junior and a student athlete at University of North Carolina – Asheville, majoring in Political Science and Sociology. When not participating in track and field, Anderson serves as a peer mentor, member of the order of Pisgah, a member of the Political Science Club, and a member of the German club. This summer, he will be serving as a communications intern for Blue Ridge Forever.

Genevieve Barnes, NC Coastal Land Trust

Genevieve Barnes, a native of Raleigh, is currently completing her second year of graduate school at the University of North Carolina-Greensboro, pursuing a graduate degree in Communication Studies. This summer she will be working with NC Coastal Land Trust as their Marketing and Development Intern. This summer will provide Barnes the opportunity to gain experience in research and writing, while learning about NC coastal communities and conservation.

Gabrielle Benitez, Eno River Association

Gaby Benitez was born and raised in Austin, TX, and moved to Durham to attend Duke University. Graduating in May 2016, Benitez earned dual degrees in Biology and Environmental Science and Policy. She recently completed a Resident Naturalist internship at the University of Georgia’s satellite campus in Monteverde, Costa Rica. This summer she will be working with the Eno River Association as the Education and Outreach Program Assistant, developing summer programming such as the Festival for the Eno and the iWalk Eno summer camp.

Erin Bishop, United States Forest Service

Erin Bishop is a Chapel Hill native graduating from the University of North Carolina-Asheville with a B.S. in Environmental Policy and Management and a minor in Economics. Erin is currently earning her master’s degree in Environmental Policy and Analysis at Appalachian State University researching the California Air Resource Board’s carbon offset compliance program. This summer, Bishop will be working at the United States Forest Service in Washington, DC as their Volunteer and Service Resource Assistant.

Emma Bouie, North Carolina Sea Grant

Emma Bouie was born in Scotch Plains, NJ, and moved to Raleigh when she was ten-years-old. She is currently a senior at East Carolina University earning a B.S. in Geology. This summer Emma will intern with North Carolina Sea Grant, where she will be assisting with coastal landscape restoration. Her responsibilities will include marketing and communicating with plant nurseries and community partners.

Khrystle Bullock, United States Forest Service

Khrystle Bullock is a RAPS Intern at the US Forest Service in Washington DC. She has a background in Public Health and Neuroscience with a concentration in health disparities and health equity. Her passions also include environmental justice, urban planning and infrastructure, and community engagement. She plans to use her experience and talents to connect the relationship between environmental health and public health with the goal to improve human health, especially those from underserved populations. She will be engaging DC youth in the importance of environmental innovations and how to be a good steward in their community.

Melina Casados, Dig In! Yancey Community Garden

Melina Casados, from Lexington, NC, is a rising senior at Elon University where she studies Creative Writing and Communications. She has a passion for healthy living and is excited to be interning with Dig In! Yancey Community Garden this summer. Through her internship, Melina will help address food insecurity and learn about, advocate, and practice sustainable farming. She hopes to gain a better understanding on how to help spread the love for good food within communities.

Aaron Cinque, Piedmont Land Conservancy

Aaron Cinque, who lives on a small farm in Seagrove, NC with his wife, recently graduated from North Carolina Agricultural and Technical States University with a B.S. in Sustainable Land Management. This summer, Aaron will serve as the Communications and Conservation intern with Piedmont Land Conservancy. Cinque will help actively manage land under conservation easement and engage with the greater community to promote land protection and natural resource management.

Tamia Dame, Southern Appalachian Highlands Conservancy

Tamia Dame is a native of Lenoir, NC and has been living in Asheville for the last two years. Currently she is a sophomore at Asheville-Buncombe Technical Community College where she majors in Environmental Studies with a concentration in Management and Policy. This summer she will serve as a Communication, Education, and Outreach Intern with the Southern Appalachian Highlands Conservancy dedicated to environmental sustainability and agriculture.

Kenneth Dunn, North Carolina State University

Kenneth Dunn was born and raised in Durham. He recently completed his undergraduate degree in Environmental Science from North Carolina State University and will be pursuing his graduate degree in Forestry this fall. This summer he will work at NC State as a Natural Resources intern, performing forest management and GIS work.

Jendayi Joell, Roanoke Chowan Community Health Center

Jendayi Joell was born in Bermuda, and raised between both the island and Winton, NC. She is a senior majoring in Environmental Science with a minor in Plant Biology at North Carolina State University. This summer, Joell will serve as the Farm to School to Healthcare Internship at the Roanoke Chowan Community Health Center, where she will communicate her knowledge of sustainable and organic farming practices to rural communities.

Khidhar McKenzie, Appalachian Trail Conservancy

Khidhar McKenzie lives in Stone Mountain, GA and is a senior at Tuskegee University where he majors in Agricultural Business. This summer he will be working with the Appalachian Trail Conservancy as their Conservation Leadership intern at both their Gatlinburg, TN and Asheville, NC offices.

Diamond McKoy, Men and Women United for Youth and Families

Diamond McKoy is a native of Council, NC where she lived until moving to Hope Mills, NC in 2012. She is currently a sophomore at the University of North Carolina-Chapel Hill where she is earning a dual major in Business Administration and African American Studies with a minor in Sustainability Studies. This summer she serve as the Youth Ambassadors Summer Program Team Leader with Men and Women United for Youth and Families to provide fresh produce for the community.

Taylor Mebane, United States Forest Service

Taylor Mebane was born in Ft. Hood, TX but has since lived in six other states and one country. Taylor is a recent graduate of North Carolina State University where she earned a B.S. in Environmental Technology and Management. Over the next few months, Taylor will be a Conservation Education Resource Assistant for the US Forest Service in Washington, D.C where she will work on a number of projects and programs geared toward public education of conservation.

Destiny Pratt, Blue Ridge Women in Agriculture

Destiny Pratt was born and raised in Bronx, NY. She currently lives in Greensboro, NC and is a sophomore studying Biology with a minor in Chemistry at Appalachian State University. Pratt will be the Local Food Systems Coordinator as the Blue Ridge Women in Agriculture working on their CRAFT program alongside the Watauga Food Council and Watauga Seed Library.

Valentina Quintero, Ellerbe Creek Water Association

Valentina Quintero was born in Caracas, Venezuela and raised in Madison, Alabama. A student at North Carolina State University’s College of Natural Resources, Val studies Environmental Technology and Management with a minor in Renewable Energy Assessment. Quintero will be serving as the Stewardship and Outreach Assistant for the Ellerbe Creek Watershed Association this summer where she will help organize events.

Jennifer Scott, NC State Historic Preservation Office

Jennifer Scott grew up in Fayetteville, NC, and graduated from Salem College with a B.A. in History and English. She earned a M.A. in Public History at University of North Carolina-Wilmington, where she focused on the histories of underrepresented communities. Jennifer recently completed her M.L.S., with an emphasis on digital libraries, at North Carolina Central University. She is the proud mother of a daughter and twin sons. This summer, Jennifer will intern with the State Historic Preservation Office as the NC Rosenwald Schools Publication Research Assistant.

Guido Shutz, Mainspring Conservation Trust

Guido Schutz was born in Germany, and has also lived in the USA, Mexico, and Argentina. He is currently majoring in Environmental Studies (B.S.) and minoring in Business Administration at Elon University. This summer, he will be working with the Mainspring Conservation Trust doing GIS and Aquatic Biomonitoring work in the Nantahala National Forest.

Chandler Whitfield, Coharie Tribe

Chandler Whitfield grew up in Clinton, NC, and currently attends Fayetteville Technical Community College where he is pursuing a degree in Criminal Justice Technology. This summer he will be working with the Coharie Tribe as their Great Coharie River Initiative Project intern.