We are a small – but mighty – non-profit! And a big reason for that is our interns and volunteers.Â They are so key to our success and so much part of our achievements that we wanted to give them a shout out and make sure you know who they are. (Interested in joining DRCC/TAG as a volunteer or intern? Contact us at contact – at – duwamishcleanup.org and let us know how you are interested in getting involved)
Here is a look at some of our current and past interns:
My name is Mateo Espinosa, I’m a health physician graduated in my home country Ecuador. I have worked in primary health care in both rural and urban settings, and then I worked in health research policy for the Ecuadorean government. From these experiences I realized that health lies beyond the realm of medicine, which led me to work in community development projects for the historically oppressed and disempowered. More than actually helping these communities, I learned from them the importance of organization, solidarity and most of all to witness different ways of thinking, feeling and doing. All this sparked an interest to learn from what is happening around the world and particularly in the United States.
Now I’m enrolled in the Global Health Department of the University of Washington to obtain a MPH degree. My interest in the social determinants of health and environmental justice, together with a commitment to work with Native cultures, led me to DRCC and what they are doing for the Duwamish River and the communities that are part of it. It is a privilege to get to know everyone at DRCC and the broad number of people and organizations working to make the vision of constructing healthy communities.
Xin chÃ o, my name is Kevin Duong and I major in environmental health and minor in environmental studies at the University of Washington. I love to walk, hike, use public transportation, and spend time with nature. I am amazed by the diversity of plants, animals, gardens and landscapes as well as urban farming in cities across the country. I am passionate about food, and I cook fairly decent meals for my family.
Currently, I am an intern for DRCC working on the Duwamish Community Action for Clean Air project. I took the 35-hour training class from the American Lung Association to learn about indoor air quality. After the training, I am able to recognize hazards such as lead, dust, household chemicals, mold, and other air pollutants as well as using low cost or no cost methods to reduce risks. I have been conducting healthy home assessment in the South Park and Georgetown communities. I walk with the residents through their homes to identify simple changes that can improve their family’s overall health. A custom action plan, green cleaning kit, and doormats are provided without charge. I did community outreach, talked with project partners, attended meetings and created materials for project partners and the community (agendas, meeting minutes, flyers, website content & posters).
I am very excited about a workshop that we will be working on in a couple months. The workshop will teach the community how to build affordable air purifiers using a box fan and a MERV 13 filter. At the end, residents will get to keep it to improve indoor air quality in their homes.
In the near future, I would like to pursue a job that allows me work on air and water quality, or ensure that our food is safe to consume. I hope the work we do balances nature and city lifestyles. As a result, a future of urban forests in cities and in residential houses, clean air and water for future generations to come.
I am an Environmental Studies and Ethnomusicology student at the University of Washington, and am very fortunate to be a part of the DRCC. The role that the DRCC plays is crucial in helping the community connect to the Duwamish River, and to celebrating its beauty and diversity. I have learned so much from my experience with DRCC, including the health of the river, its superfund history, and about the environmental justice community that relies on the river. But most importantly, I have learned about the hard work it takes for non-profit organizations to run smoothly and how necessary non-profits are to the health of our urban environment. I hope to some day take my experience working for DRCC and apply it to my graduate education, either in public administration or environmental law.
Wafa Tacto Tafesh
Hello! My name is Wafa Tafesh I live in Maple Valley and I am currently a senior set to graduate in June from the University of Washington in the Department of Environmental and Occupational Health. I became interested in interning for the Duwamish River Cleanup Coalition after attending a boat ride down the lower portion of the river.Â I learned so much from the trip and I wanted to continue learning about Seattleâ€™s only river. So far in my studies with the DRCC Iâ€™ve learned about the outrageous contaminant levels and how this is impacting the community, the fish and other species of the Duwamish River.
After graduation I aspire to work with water quality and how it affects human health. In the future I hope to expand my studies to learn ways to engineer cleaner water and make it available to all communities.
When Iâ€™m not in school or interning for DRCC I enjoy playing tennis, going on hikes, and watching old movies.
My name is Angie Hong and I was born and raised here in Washington and Alaska. I am a Christian wife and mother of two children. I love the Northwest and enjoy local travelling, camping, water sports and anything competitive.
I am currently studying Environmental Health at the University of Washington and truly enjoy the dynamic interplay between government (local and federal), the environment (nature and its resources), people and industry, which happens to be the reason I pursued an internship with DRCC.
While working with DRCC I was surprised atÂ how difficult it was to get a simple answer on the levels of pollution in the Duwamish River. It seems as though this information would be easily accessible to the public, yet even though it is a public document and fully accessible to the public the reading level is extremely advanced! Opening a 20 something page document that is full of sentences that are highly technical is like dumping out a 2000 piece puzzle without a picture to guide you in constructing the puzzle. Even as a senior in college, (having studied calculus, physics and chemistry for several years) I am unable to read these documents and can clearly see how the public needs unbiased non-profits like DRCC.
My future goals are flexible at the moment.Â I plan to apply to graduate school to further my study in public health. If this doesn’t play out, I plan to get a job working somewhere in public health. I enjoy my work and my study but I see them as a smaller view in the grand scheme of things.
Laura West interned with DRCC/TAG in the summer of 2013. She is originally from Seattle and attends Whitman College in Eastern Washington. From helping plan the 2013 Duwamish River Festival, she gained a huge appreciation for all the work that goes on behind the scenes in festival planning. She also enjoyed the relaxed environment at the DRCC/TAG office and made a lot of connections with organizations around the Seattle area. Laura chose to intern with DRCC/TAG because she wanted to work at an environmental non-profit and was interested in Superfund site cleanup. In the future, she hopes to continue in the environmental field and is very interested in how energy and water issues will develop with climate change.
Hi everyone!My name is Natalia HaÅ‚as and I come from Poland. I am studying at Chemical Faculty of University of Technology in GdaÅ„sk (northern Poland). My course is Environmental Protection and Management. I am focused on chemical systems of environmental protection, especially water protection.
I had a pleasure to be an Intern with the DRCC in summer 2012. I spent there amazing 4 weeks. I found information about such internship via Elaine Packard, who is a member of Sierra Club in Seattle; and I have met Elaine through my friends from Polish â€“ American program Business Week.Â My favorite topic was Terminal T-117. I could not believe when BJ told me the story about this place. I am so glad that situation there has changed in past year. The second thing was contamination of Duwamish River. I knew that the river is polluted, but I had no idea how much. Amazing thing is that the DRCC works not only with scientists and government but first of all with people living on both sides of the Duwamish River.
I am moving to Seattle â€“ that is for sure. I do not know yet when, but it is my goal number one. I want to work in a place where I will be able to use my knowledge which I gained during my studies or in a field connected with organizations connected with Business Week program in Washington State.
I love psychology. People who know me say that I am pretty good with analyzing people. Maybe I will use that someday? J My hobby is simply working with people and managing. I could see in past year that this is also a thing which I can do in the future. I was Program Manager and I loved this job.