Out West student blog

Zooming, around the Southwest

By Christina MacIntosh '22
Hometown: Brooklyn, New York
Major: English
Intern, The Natural History Institute



Why did you want to do this internship?

I was drawn to the Natural History Institute (NHI)’s goals of synthesizing the arts, humanities, and sciences in the study of nature and promoting greater environmental appreciation. My own interest in and love for the more-than-human world is informed by both my English major and my Earth Systems minor. Like NHI, I believe that the human-nature connection is important for both the wellbeing of humans and that of the environment, and that expanding the ways in which we view and engage with nature is important for fostering this connection. 

How does your role support the host organization’s mission?

NHI is at a pivotal time in its development, as it is almost five years old and thus exiting its “start-up” phase, as well as simultaneously exploring the possibility of resuming in-person programming. Given the changes required by the pandemic, the organization faces questions as to who its supporters are (local vs. national) and how NHI can engage with its various bases to further its mission. I am currently studying the results of NHI’s online analytics and surveys to gain a greater understanding of who is engaged with NHI and how NHI can best further its goals given this audience.

Describe one project you will be working on this summer.

I am analyzing the results of surveys put out by NHI and responses to the online programming of the past year. Through the results of this research, we are hoping to gain a better understanding of the demographics interested in NHI, so as to better tailor programming and content to their needs and desires. I am also working with the NHI team to craft a clearer narrative of the organization’s mission and work for both new audiences and donors.

How does this project relate to your studies and/or career goals?

This project has engaged with my studies of English and creative writing, as one of my primary responsibilities is to help NHI come up with a compelling narrative of the work that they do. This project also involves coming up with short phrases and jingles for the organization, which uses these same skills. In terms of career goals, I am interested in working for an environmentally-focused organization, so it has been great to experience a position that allows me to make use of both my humanistic and scientific backgrounds.

What do you like to do in your spare time?

I am currently training for an ultra-marathon, which I am running after my internship ends in August, so I have been waking up early for morning runs in order to avoid the heat. I’ve also been staying in a few different places – I spent a few days in Los Angeles before driving to Austin and staying there for a week, then spent a few days in Phoenix on my way back up to settle in San Francisco – so a lot of my weekends have been occupied by driving.


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