Abigail Oakes

Communications Intern

2016, New College of Florida

Project: Inclusive Environments: Developing outreach for Latino communities

Abby's Mentors: Jennifer Walton, Sandra Chung, Liz Goehring, Claire Lunch

2013 Intern Abigail Oakes

About Abby

Abby Oakes was a sophomore at New College of Florida, studying the natural sciences, when she joined NEON's internship program. She had never studied ecology before, but came to NEON with interests in both science and writing. Spending the summer learning about the interdisciplinary work of NEON and how ecology relates to the general public, Abby says NEON is “a really neat place where you can learn about a lot of different things all at once.” Check out Abby's blog post A field day for interns (see Related Content below).

Note: After her NEON internship, Abby was awarded a Udall Scholarship (one of 50 nationwide) for college sophomores and juniors committed to careers related to the environment. Congrats, Abby!


How did you find out about the NEON internship program?

My friend sent me a link to the NEON website because they had met someone who worked there. They said they thought I might be interested in NEON’s communications program, and they were right!

How did you first become interested in the sciences in general?

I can remember being a really little kid and enjoying science. I loved space and nature, and always enjoyed science classes in school. I got to college and honestly didn’t know what I wanted to do, so I just started taking science classes because I remembered liking them as a kid.

Do you want to pursue a career in STEM?

If I do end up in STEM, it will be on the edges. I don’t see myself in academia as a researcher or out in the field collecting data. I like working with people, which is why science writing has made sense to me. I have been exposed to a ton of different STEM careers I didn’t really even know existed until now. It has opened my eyes to how many different things you can do and be considered a part of STEM.

What was the best part of this internship for you?

The best part for me was all of the professional experience I gained. I had never really worked in an office before, so even just that was valuable. I also met a lot of interesting people who helped me think about my future.

What was the most challenging aspect of this internship for you?

The hardest part for me was learning something completely new. I came to NEON with an interest in educational outreach, but really no experience. I did a lot of reading and had a kind of crash-course at first.

What would you tell future NEON interns?

I would tell future NEON interns that networking is one of the most valuable things you can do here. Everyone at NEON is really interesting and it’s definitely worth picking their brains. Also, they sometimes buy you lunch!

Dialog content.