F&M Stories

By Land and By Sea: Interns Advocate for Chesapeake Bay

On a hot July morning, Andrew Canjura found himself at the helm of a canoe on the Chesapeake Bay.

"I was engaging with high-school students who were really into environmentalism. Part of our canoeing trip was testing stream quality and organism life," said Canjura, a rising senior at Franklin & Marshall College.

Canjura is one of three F&M students interning at the Chesapeake Bay Foundation (CBF) this summer.

With offices in Maryland, Virginia, Pennsylvania and the District of Columbia and 15 field centers, CBF is the largest independent conservation organization dedicated solely to saving the Bay.

"Working with a nonprofit organization that deals intensively with environmental regulations, I have a chance to see how environmental organizations can drive positive changes through policy in the real world," said rising senior Yiqin (Helen) Ma, who interns for CBF's Annapolis, Md., branch.

Canjura is based at the foundation's Harrisburg office; rising senior Jack Entsminger works remotely for the Washington, D.C. branch.

Below, learn what a typical day looks like for these conservation interns.

Yiqin (Helen) Ma '23

  • Hometown: Shanghai, China
  • Major: Environmental studies, French minor
  • Activities on campus: Writing Center tutor, International Student Advisory Board

What is a typical day like?

I work remotely as a policy fellow. A typical day would start with a team meeting with my supervisor and other colleagues to check in on the projects I'm working on. Then, I spend the rest of my day on my projects, which include doing policy research and reaching out to government/agency officials on behalf of CBF's initiatives.

I supported CBF in collecting information about and reaching out to candidates running for Maryland's legislature this year [asking them] about their policy priorities and their positions on environmental issues. I am now conducting policy research on different states' approaches to incorporating environmental justice into legislation and providing support for CBF's initiative to come up with legislation banning plastic bags in Baltimore County.

What inspired you to take on this experience?

I wanted to do something related to environmental law this summer. I've heard of the Chesapeake Bay Foundation for a long time and I'm impressed by its dedication to saving the Bay through its active involvement in promoting policy change as well as education. Being a policy fellow at CBF is just a perfect fit for my interest in environmental law.

Andrew Canjura '23

  • Major: Government major, Environmental studies minor
  • Hometown: Saratoga Springs, N.Y.
  • Activities on campus: Men's swimming, John Marshall Pre-Law Society

What is a typical day like?

I'm hybrid, so on Tuesdays, I go to the Harrisbug office and work from there. The rest of the week is up in the air. One of the main things I've been working on is 'Get out the vote' strategy. I've been looking at recent Pennsylvania trends and also researching successful tactics, like [politician] Stacey Abrams' advocacy in Georgia, and trying to apply it.

I'm going in on Mondays for a camp, talking to youth in Harrisburg. It doesn't have to be [strictly] about environmental stuff — it's more like reaching out to the community and getting involved.

I've been working on other efforts in between: canoeing, testing stream quality or going on field trips. In June, I sat in on legislative meetings with an outside lobbying company, which was pretty interesting as they were talking about the budget coming up.

What inspired you to take on this experience?

I've always been thinking about being pre-law and going to law school, maybe even pursuing environmental studies or environmental law. But also, I really like the government side of it. Seeing the legislative side is really interesting — seeing how Pennsylvania representatives work and talk. My supervisor, a staff attorney, is an environmental lawyer, so I'm really learning about what she does. Also, it's a good opportunity to see what other environmental jobs or careers entail.

Jack Entsminger '23

  • Major: Government & public policy joint major
  • Hometown: Ashburn, Va.
  • Activities on campus: Men's rowing team (captain)

What is a typical day like?

Before starting my internship, I studied abroad in Copenhagen, Denmark, where I took a class on sustainability for about a month. The Chesapeake Bay Foundation worked with me to find a start date for the internship that accommodated me. A typical day at the office is a little different for me than most interns at other organizations. My office is currently remote full-time, so I do my work from the comfort of my own home. My schedule usually consists of meeting with people in the federal affairs office or sometimes even people from outside of the Chesapeake Bay Foundation. Interspersed between these meetings is when I do the tasks I've been assigned to work on by my supervisor and help the rest of the federal team when needed.

What inspired you to take on this experience?

I've always been interested in the connection between policy and protecting our environment. Some of the most pressing issues that we face now are things like climate change and environmental justice issues, which I believe can be solved by hardworking individuals creating policies to address them. The Chesapeake Bay Foundation is a great organization that is doing amazing work in the region that I grew up in and I appreciate the opportunity they have given me to work with them.

Strong Alumni Connections in Conservation

Chesapeake Bay Foundation President Hilary Harp Falk's career in environmental conservation began at Franklin & Marshall. The 2001 graduate interned with CBF in 1997, then spent another three years with the organization after graduation as an educator.

She earned her bachelor's degree in environmental science from F&M and her master's degree in natural resources from the University of Vermont.

Falk began at the Foundation in January 2022 after a 13-year tenure at National Wildlife Federation, where she rose to chief program officer.

F&M Launches Chesapeake Watershed Initiative

A three-year, $1.25-million grant from the Richard King Mellon Foundation supports stewardship and restoration in the vast watershed.

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