Ashley Berniche with the mascot for the LA Dodgers.
Nov 2, 2017
For most people, summer means taking it easy. But for Mocs, it means pursuing passions. Why choose sleeping in when you can teach children about the ocean? Why nap at the beach if you can work with Cherokee Native Americans? During their free time, Florida Southern students know that working hard and traveling to interesting places in order to learn something new is always the option of choice.
WHERE: Middletown, New Jersey
New Jersey Sea Grant Consortium
HOW: I was told about my job opportunity by a classmate in my organic chemistry class who knew I was a marine science major. I sent my resumé to the HR director at NJSGC. She gave me a call to set up an interview. During orientation (after I got the job) it was told to us (10 new people were hired) that we were chosen out of about 80 candidates for the position.
WHAT: My work at the New Jersey Sea Grant Constorium is marine science based so it directly correlates to my major. I learned more about my field in terms of the New Jersey shoreline. But I also found out that I really love to teach and I never thought I would. I still want to work in conversation and research but I think teaching might be in my future.
WHY: The most amazing part was being able to teach students from pre-k to seniors in high school about how important the marine and freshwater habitats are. That balance is everything. I was able to teach them about the differences they could make in their own lives to help out. Being able to teach children about the importance of the oceans is everything to me. If you can change the minds of children then they will hold those lessons close for the rest of their lives. I had a student who was wheel chair bound and he wanted to badly to go seining and I was not going to deny him this once in a lifetime opportunity just because it seemed like a difficult situation. I ended up putting him in a pair of boots/waders and I carried him out into the water. I put my arms underneath his arms and helped him seine. He was so happy and his teacher and aid were so thankful. They later told me that he often gets excluded because he is wheel chair bound. I’m glad that he could have that experience and I hope he won’t ever forget it.
WHERE: Bartow, FL
10th Judicial Circuit Office of the Public Defender
WHAT: I worked on a murder case and summarized 600 pages of discovery for an attorney. I loved feeling like a part of the team. I was responsible for outlining what happened at the scene of the murder. When I went to the crime scene I played out what happened. I explained to the murder attorneys what the discrepancies were in each persons depositions. It was amazing.
HOW: During the murder case I worked on, I was able to compile a list of neighbors who swore that they saw certain things and made a list of it on a map of the neighborhood. When I got to the crime scene, I walked to each neighbors house to see how accurate their sworn depositions were. I found a huge discrepancy with one of the neighbors and made a note of it for the attorney. The discrepancy was that one neighbor said their surveillance camera saw the entire thing, but when I went to that particular surveillance camera I noticed it was blocked by trees. I told the attorney who praised my thinking and ability to think of small things like that.
WHERE: Long Beach, CA
Aquarium of the Pacific
WHAT: I worked at the aquarium, so I’ve seen other students interning there before, and seeing them go through the program made me want to do it!
WHY: I am a double major in marine biology and psychology so this internship was perfect for me! I got to observe marine mammals every day and I learned a lot about training, which is all psychology based. For example, I got to see how positive reinforcement really worked. Animals get rewarded with food when they do a desired behavior, which is how they eventually train behaviors! I enjoyed training Max the seal the most. They don’t let you train him right away, you learn a lot before you are able to, so it was very rewarding when I finally got to train him towards the end of the summer. Throughout the summer, the interns had to come up with different ways to enrich the animals at the aquarium. I got to choose which toys to use or what combination of toys to use to see what each animal reacted most to. For example, the Japanese Snow Monkeys seemed to enjoy bubbles, while the California Sea Lions seemed to enjoy brightly colored toys.
WHERE: Fürstenberg, Germany
Ravensbruck Concentration Camp
WHAT: I love learning about history and how politics influenced the world we live in today so I really enjoyed getting to speak with people who had first hand accounts and getting to see artifacts in person. It definitely helps to put everything into perspective.
WHY: Being a political science and history major I tend to see the darker sides of human actions, but being on the trip and getting to meet survivors and the people who fight so horrible things don’t happen again was a good reminder that there are positive outcomes from studying politics/history. At one point one of our assignments was to examine an aspect of our choosing relative to the concentration camp, Ravensbruck, we were studying. Of course all of the basic topics, such as who was in the camp and why, filled up rather quickly so my group examined why the camp was where it is and how it’s location and surrounding area affected the operations and defense against the Red army when they invaded to liberate the camp. We thought it was rather important but also somewhat overlooked at surface level.
WHERE: Los Angeles, California
The Los Angeles Dodgers
HOW: Two summers ago I worked at a summer camp and became really close with my friend Sierra. She is from Los Angeles and her parents started a company that does photography for the Dodgers. They were looking for summer staff so Sierra told me to apply. I was able to get the job simply because she knew I was a hard worker from summer camp!
WHAT: Every summer the Dodgers have a summer camp for kids ages 6-12 that lasts one week and has three sessions. Our company would shoot this event and create photo packages for some of the kids in the camp. This camp was always a huge under taking because the photographers would shoot hundreds of pictures a day, and my job was to sort these pictures based on the team and the children in them. This was by far my hardest assignment of the summer, but my partner and I were able to create a system where specific photographers would shoot specific teams, but the kids who were getting photo packages would have a colored sticker on the back of their sock so we could identify who they were and what team they were on. Once we created that system, it made our job a lot easier.
WHY: My experience was outside of my major, but an important thing I learned that is applicable to any field is communication and management skills. Through this job, I had to learn how to work with personalities very different from my own and take on a leadership role where I had less experience than some of the people under me.
WHERE: Manhattan, Kansas
Kansas State University
HOW: My faculty mentor, Dr. Smith, recommended that I look into summer research programs to gain additional experience before applying for graduate school, so I searched for summer research programs in my field of interest, behavioral neuroscience. I came across the application at Kansas State and was very interested in the lab there.
WHAT: We designed a task to parse out three individual components of episodic-like memory in rats (what, where, and when), but with the current design, we believed we were only see the utilization of two components. My graduate research mentor and I sat down and brainstormed how we could alter the task to correctly parse out the third component. After reading many journal articles and thinking critically about the issue at hand, I proposed an idea to implement in the task to look at the third component. We altered the task to reflect the idea, which allowed us to further analyze the third component and perfect the task.
WHY: My lab members were very open and accepting, and made me feel like a vital member of the lab from the very beginning. I went into work every day knowing that I was going to be challenged intellectually and pushed to do the best research possible. This has helped me, not only as a researcher, but also in my everyday life. My summer research experience greatly increased my knowledge of my major. Most importantly, I was able to take the techniques and procedures I have learned in my lectures and utilize them myself. It is one thing to read about Pavlov utilizing classical conditioning, but when you use the techniques yourself, you gain a deeper and more profound knowledge and respect for the field.
WHERE: Ithaca, NY
WHAT: My project this summer, in a nutshell, was to incorporate a speech recognition software into a psychophysical experiment that determined a person’s olfactory threshold for a certain odor. The idea to use speech to collect responses was what I was given initially and my mentor gave me free reign to figure out how to make it happen. I spent hours searching the internet for signs that someone had tried to do this before (collect speech responses in the psychophysical programming) but I soon realized that nothing like this has been attempted, at least in the context I was looking for. But I was able to take the code that I found and manipulate it so that it would collect the speech responses when a recognition software was turned on. I had to work with the limited information I could find to do something that had not been attempted before, with new types of technology and software.
WHY: My mentor and lab group taught me loads during both project meetings and over lunch breaks. To try to summarize everything I learned, it can be said that this experience has assured me that I want to go to graduate school and study food chemistry after undergraduate college. One of the most challenging parts of my experience, that became a surprising strength, was my actual project. Going into the program, I didn’t know exactly what I would be working on or doing. I actually ended up having a somewhat heavy computer science/coding project. I had never even dabbled in that area so hearing that that was a major part of my assignment in the first lab meeting was intimidating to say the least. However, I quickly picked up the basics of Python language and the interface I was using. By the end of the first week, I had completed a large portion of the project already because I had picked up the coding so well.
WHERE: Washington D.C.
National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA)
WHAT: A large part of the experience was learning how to use NOAA’s internal systems and technology. I don’t really see myself as someone who is super technologically savvy, but this experience really allowed me to quickly adapt and learn about different technological avenues and of the resources offered by everyday programs that I would never have known. The hour plus commute and daily routine of an 8-5 job without pay was also challenging.
WHY: I was tasked with all different types of assignments that all had unique solutions. One of my favorite tasks was creating a social media campaign for the Biennial Report, which is a product of the Species in the Spotlight Program. This program highlights eight American marine species that are endangered and raises awareness and financial support to bolster conservation efforts. The Biennial Report is released every two years and details the population status of each of the Species in the Spotlight. My job was to read the 50+ page report and synthesize five Tweets and five Facebook posts from it. I had to think critically about what the American public needs and wants to know, how to get people to care, and how to broadcast this information to more than a million people (NOAA has a very large social media following). I ended up creating pun-containing and attention-grabbing social media posts that were accepted by NOAA Fisheries’ social media team that would be sent out on their Twitter and Facebook once the Biennial Report is released to the public. I am proud to think that because of me and my team, some people may actually know what an abalone is.
WHERE: Cherokee, North Carolina
Unto These Hills
HOW: Last year I attended SETC (South Eastern Theatre Conference) with FSC and received a callback from a theatre called Unto These Hills, but didn’t get the job. This year I again attended SETC, but didn’t get a callback from Unto These Hills. I noticed after SETC that Unto These Hills was still looking to fill spots for male dancers. I asked if I could send in an email for a female dancer spot, and they said sure, even though they probably wouldn’t use it unless a spot opened up. I sent in my dance reel, and within an hour the Artistic Director called me and told me I had gotten the job!
WHY: The whole point of us going to school for theatre is to better our skills and learn how to get a job in the industry, and then perform in a professional manner while you’re doing it. I got to literally experience this first hand by applying acting techniques I had learned in class to my character in the show, apply dance technique from my dance classes, and also practice auditioning throughout the season (we auditioned for a side series of shows throughout the summer). I also learned how to make connections and network, and act in a professional manner that makes me a good coworker to be around, onstage and off, which is what our professors are constantly preaching to us.
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