Devil Fish

Life as an MEM: A weekend in D.C.
by Emma Kelley -- February 13th, 2014

The Career Services Office here at the Nicholas School organizes a wide variety of networking events to give students the opportunity to meet potential employers.  This past weekend was the largest event of the year: The Duke/Yale Recruiting Fair in Washington D.C.  Each year, a long list of employers provide informational interviews for graduating and continuing students from both Duke University and Yale University.  Its an incredible opportunity to make connections within organizations you hope to work for, learn about internship opportunities, and even find a job.  This year’s event featured employers such as The Natural Resources Defense Council, Conservation International, The World Bank, and the African Wildlife Foundation.

Bright and early on the day before the Fair, two fellow MEMs and I drove up to D.C.  That afternoon, The Ocean Policy Working Group held an alumni panel we attended, but more on that from Shannon later…

We spent the night at Galludet University, where the Recruiting Fair was held the next day.  The Fair began bright and early in the morning, with interview lists posted around 7:30 a.m. and the first round of interviews at 8:30 a.m.  I didn’t have my first interview until 11:15am, giving me time to walk around each of the information booths set up by a wide variety of organizations, such as the Land Trust Alliance and the Cadmus Group.  I spoke with Conservation International, Ecology and Environment Inc. and the U.S. State Department about their organizations and the different opportunities for first-year students.

My first interview was with Fauna and Flora International, a non-profit conservation organization based in the UK and celebrating their 110th birthday.   I was interested in this organization because of their work creating and maintaining marine protected areas.  I also squeezed in another interview with NatureServe, which serves as a network connecting science with conservation.

The Recruiting Fair was a great experience all around and I will be sure to attend next year!

The next day, instead of bolting back to Durham, a few of us decided to spend our Saturday exploring my favorite museum in Washington: The Natural History Museum

We started in the Hall of Paleobiology …because that’s where the breakfast café is located.

It was incredible to walk around the different Dinosaur exhibits, carefully dodging strollers and rogue children, to see artifacts that have existed for longer than I’ve been on this Earth.  Also astonishing are the fantastic creatures that existed in the past, whose existence strains my imagination even today.  Take for example, the Mastodonsaurus, a creature with the body of a salamander and the head of an alligator.  I imagine what it would have been like seeing these beings all those years ago.  Walking through this exhibit takes me to a different world.

Next, we explored the Mammal Hall.  This part of the museum always reminds me of the incredible diversity of life that exists today and how much left I have to see of the world.  The set up of each specimen is also impressive, making the whole exhibit feel alive.


Emma and Dana exploring the Mammals Hall.
Photo credit: Emma Kelley


How giraffes must stoop to drink.
Photo credit: Emma Kelley

Finally, we arrived at my favorite part of the museum: The Sant Ocean Hall.  I’ve been here multiple times and always leave knowing something I didn’t know before.  There are different exhibits on evolution in the oceans, coral reefs, the arctic, giant squid, and even Megalodon.  New to me this year was an exhibit of Brian Skerry’s photography.  If you’ve read an issue of National Geographic, you’ve probably seen some of Skerry’s work.


The Sant Ocean Hall
Photo credit: Emma Kelley


Dana and Emma exploring Brian Skerry’s photography exhibit.
Photo credit: Emma Kelley

My favorite thing about the Sant Ocean Hall is the emphasis on ocean conservation.  The exhibits serve to inspire a sense of wonder and awe for the oceans, while also alerting museum-goers to the peril facing this environment.  The entrance to the exhibit highlights the responsibility we have to protecting our oceans and the different things we can do to help.


We depend on a healthy ocean…
Photo credit: Emma Kelley

All things considered, it was a great weekend to be an MEM!


Me with an Easter Island statue.
Photo credit: Emma Meschal




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