ALICIA CARABALLO’S PORTFOLIO
ADVISOR: DR. ANDREA GREENBAUM SOUTH FLORIDA AUDUBON SOCIETY INTERNSHIP APRIL 22, 2014
TABLE OF CONTENTS
Audubon Website Edits
Miscellaneous Audubon Documents
Professional Writing Samples
Letter of Completion
This portfolio contains all the assignments I have completed while interning with the South Florida Audubon Society, as well as a collection of writing samples and assignments that I completed while attending Barry University’s Professional Writing program.
While I worked as an intern with the South Florida Audubon Society, I was mostly responsible for maintaining their Facebook page and editing their existing website copy. I also contributed three articles for the site and a style guide, as well as other documents.
I am glad I chose to complete my internship with the Audubon Society. The team works hard on a daily basis to spread awareness about more than birds. They understand that the birds need a home, and they are committed to engaging the community as to what’s going on all over Florida with regards to the environment.
I learned so much about ecologists and environmentalists’ struggle to fight for the preservation of the Everglades and its inhabitants. This experience reassured my desire to be a part of something greater than myself. I am glad that I’ve decided to designate my career to the betterment of our world.
Every assignment I received I put all of my heart into, and I truly hope that it reflects in my work within this portfolio. This internship showed me that there are people who care, and that the success of a particular campaign or cause greatly depends on the engagement of the youth. The younger population is those who spread the word and have the energy to really participate in these causes.
This internship obviously gave me professional experience and reinforced my desire to write for a living; but it also helped me learn how the creative process is time and energy consuming, which I never thought about before. This especially applies to online work, since that takes a massive amount of time and energy that many do not have.
While with the Audubon, I was able to put my newly developed editing skills to good use, and I was finally able to explain just what a subject-verb agreement was for my superiors. I can thank my extensive study at Barry for these new abilities. But it wasn’t all about grammar and edits with the Audubon; I also applied a lot of the ethical
strategies that I learned in the Professional Writing program. I had to be kind in my responses when discussing revisions and apply a professional attitude throughout the internship. For me, the program at Barry University encompassed much more than writing pedagogies.
The Audubon was the perfect place for me to use my newly gained knowledge and to explore my future career goals. I found it a great place to practice being a professional and a wonderful opportunity to write about subjects that were locally relevant. I am glad that I was able to enjoy this experience. I will be taking a lot of the things I learned at Barry and with the Audubon with me into my career, and I will never forget the people who helped me along the way.
EXPERIENCE PART-TIME CONTRACT PROOFREADER – THE MANUAL MAKERS January – Present • • •
Proofread and edit Walmart direct mail and in-store catalogs Ascertain that layout and proper use of headlines and product information is accurate Maintain Walmart standards throughout all proofread documents
INTERN/GRANT RESEARCHER/SOCIAL MEDIA DIRECTOR – READING QUEER January – May 2014 • • •
Use internet and social media resources to discover new grants and forms of fundraising Perform public outreach through the maintenance and use of social media (i.e. Twitter, Facebook, and Wordpress) Maintain and track grant proposals and deadlines
INTERN/SOCIAL MEDIA DIRECTOR – SOUTH FLORIDA AUDUBON SOCIETY December 2013 – May, 2014 • • • •
Perform grant searches through Grantstation.com as well as through email correspondence and Internet research. Update and maintain all social media accounts (i.e. Twitter and Facebook) Create new content for the organization website Actively search for younger volunteers through public outreach and social media
TEMP. ASSISTANT–PRIVATE CAPITAL GROUP/DUAL GROUPE HOSPITALITY June – November 2011 • • •
Researched property history and background material/documents Located sites for hospitality events Wrote investment and sponsorship documents for property investors
EDUCATION NEW YORK UNIVERSITY •
Recently accepted to M.S Fundraising & Grantmaking program
BARRY UNIVERSITY •
September, 2014 – June, 2016
January, 2012 – May, 2014
BA – English: Professional Writing
SKILLS Fluent in English and Spanish, conversational in French; basic Raiser’s Edge experience; computer proficient; organized record keeper; extensively trained to proofread and edit for clarity, conciseness, and grammar; basic knowledge of copywriting; working knowledge of Adobe programs (Photoshop, Dreamweaver. and Illustrator); highly experienced with social media (Facebook, Twitter, Tumblr, and Wordpress);
VOLUNTEER WORK •
Urban Paradise Guild (2008-2012) – Activities included removing invasive plant species and replacing with native South Florida plants
South Florida Audubon Society (2011- present) – Contributing member and volunteer during turtle nesting season
ARTICLES FOR THE SOUTH FLORDA AUDUBON SOCIETY
SEA TURTLES ARTICLE Every year between April and September, three species of sea turtles make their way to the beaches of Broward County: the loggerhead sea turtle, the green sea turtle, and the leatherback sea turtle. The loggerhead, however, is the species most often encountered by conservationists. The South Florida Audubon Society (SFAS) is committed to ensuring the perpetuity of this ancient creature. Due to the over-development of coastal areas around the globe, the population of sea turtles has dramatically diminished. The accidental capture and intentional poaching of this precious animal for leather, shells, and other products has also contributed to the decline of the world’s sea turtle population. As a result, six out of the seven species of sea turtles are endangered. The State of Florida has pledged to protect sea turtles and their nests with the enactment of Florida Statutes, Chapter 370. The United States Endangered Species Act also states that "No person may take, harass, harm, pursue, hunt, shoot, wound, kill, trap, capture or attempt to engage in any such conduct to marine turtles, turtle nests, and/or turtle eggs." Unfortunately, despite the laws in place, beach communities aren’t aware of the damages done to these sea turtle populations, and some beachfront municipalities aren’t enforcing the sea turtle ordinances. White light on beach areas disorients the turtles, and some nests aren’t found in time before beach-goers unknowingly harm the hatchlings. SFAS is now taking an active role in the conservation of nests and rescuing hatchlings. Our goal is to make sure that all hatchlings from a nest make it into the ocean without disorientation or disturbance. Doug Young, president of SFAS, holds two Marine Turtle Permits from the Florida Fish and Wildlife Commission (FWC) for sea turtle hatchling rescue in Broward County. We now have availability for volunteers to work with us during the 2014 nesting season. Interested volunteers are required to meet the following requirements: • • • • •
Be at least 18 years of age Complete 4-hour training course and pass the exam with 90% or higher Attend at least 1 hour on-the-beach training (in April) Complete a 4-hour shift minimum at least one night per seven-day week Sign a commitment agreement for basic volunteer supplies (at no cost)
Interested volunteers can contact Doug Young by email at email@example.com by April 7, 2014 or visit http://myfwc.com/media/418304/Seaturtle_Guidelines_Sect1.pdf.
“HUMMINGBIRDS OF SOUTH FLORIDA” ARTICLE It’s difficult for any bird enthusiast not to love hummingbirds. Even though many of us in South Florida have not had the rare opportunity to witness these exceptional marvels of flight, hummingbirds are actually very common in our area. Florida is a home for 11 of the 12 species that winter in North America; and the hummingbird population of over 300 species are only found in the western hemisphere. As one of the smallest flying birds in the world, most weighing one tenth of an ounce, hummingbirds are named so for their ability to flap their wings about 12-80 times per second, which causes a humming sound. They are the only birds known to fly up, down, left, right, backwards, and even upside down. Most bird lovers admire hummingbirds’ ability to hover, which is done by circling their wings in a figure-8 pattern. These special birds have vibrantly iridescent feathers that most species are named for, but perhaps their most well known characteristic is their long bill, which finds nectar in long flowers. Besides nectar, hummingbirds are known to eat small insects, tree sap, and pollen. Because of their rapid heart rate (1,260 beats per second) and breathing rate, hummingbirds need to eat very often. In their typical swift style, hummingbirds use their long tongues to lick nectar from flowers up to 13 times per second. However, many species of hummingbirds are now endangered because of habitat loss and destruction. The South Florida Audubon Society is committed to bringing awareness in our community of the hummingbirds’ shrinking territory. Luckily, hummingbird’s are loved and admired in the U.S, and many gardeners and birders enjoy catching a glimpse of them. They plant flowers that attract the birds and put out feeders so that the hummingbirds can find adequate food for their long migrations. You can help these beautiful birds by putting up a hummingbird feeder or planting flowers that many South Florida visitors can enjoy. Once you’ve set everything up, keep a look out for these and many more South Florida migratory hummingbirds: • • • • • • • • •
Ruby-throated Rufous Black-chinned Calliope Cuban Emerald Bahama Woodstar Buff-bellied White-eared Broad-billed
Contact us for more information regarding this extraordinary and tiny bird species.
“REMEMBERING MIRIAM WAGNER” MEMORIAL ARTICLE Few of us can say we know someone who’s had a life-long commitment to a worthy cause. The South Florida Audubon Society was lucky enough to have a Board of Directors member who contributed most of her life to the improvement of our local birding community. We recently lost Miriam Wagner to cancer, but her memory and contributions will always be with us. Miriam was introduced to nature at an early age. As a young girl, she was born and raised in Brooklyn, but would spend summers in a family cottage in the Adirondack Mountains. Her older brothers would take her canoeing and hiking, which is how she became fascinated with birds. After college, Miriam took jobs in the city and even worked at the New York Automobile Club. After a short stint as a kindergarten teacher, she got married and devoted her life to her family. Being married to a husband who spent most of his time in flight was a challenge for Miriam, but she kept her head held high and put her natural independence to good use. Miriam, her husband, and first-born daughter moved to South America in the early 40s, where Miriam instilled a love for nature in her daughters, as well as a love for words and books. Throughout her life, Miriam spent much of her time travelling the world. She flew to more countries than most of us ever will, spanning every continent. However, no matter where Miriam spent her time, she made sure to find a place to admire birds. When she later moved the family to Florida, Miriam enjoyed birding at Loxahatchee, Ding Darling, Green Cay in Boynton, and the Withlacoochee River. Miriam devoted her life to more than birds. Adventure was something she cherished, and her life never lacked it. She fought a small bull in Ecuador, caught salmon in British Columbia, snorkeled in Polynesia, biked in France, and traveled by narrow boat in England. Her daughter, Anne, notes that her mother was a life-long learner, who was still taking advanced French classes at the time of her passing. Miriam also knew how to work a computer; “Not bad for someone born in the 1920s, when telephones weren’t common in households,” says Anne, whose fondest memories of her mother include hiking in England and France. “Nothing kept her down. She hiked with us barely a month after she'd had a mastectomy and her first round of chemotherapy, when she was in her mideighties.” Friends were held onto for life. Miriam’s oldest friend knew her as babies in carriages. She was a well-loved woman who accomplished many things, including awards. While working at Insight for the Blind, Miriam spent thousands of hours volunteering her voice to recording books and magazines. She was nominated for the Alezander Scourby Narrator of the Year Award, and the staff referred to her as the “Stunt Reader” for her ability to pronounce difficult technical terms and foreign words. Mount Holyoke College even awarded her the Alumnae Medal of Honor for her "noteworthy services" to the college.
The Audubon recently planted a fruit tree in memory of Miriam and her contributions to the South Florida chapter. Known for always approaching problems or setbacks with, “this too shall pass,” Miriam had many friends and admirers who loved her for her positive attitude, unlimited energy, and naturally friendly nature. She may be gone, but we at the South Florida Audubon Society will never forget her.
CONTENT EDITS FOR THE AUDUBON WEBSITE
All content edited for The South Florida Audubon Society is available at the link below.
Once at the site, visit the edits section of the menu to review edits for the following pages: • • • • • • •
Birding the U.S. Birding with the Audubon Birding Hotspots About Us Birds Fighting Birds Feeding Birds Talking
All of the content I created for the Audubon website is also available at the link.
MISCELLANEOUS DOCUMENTS FOR THE SOUTH FLORIDA AUDUBON SOCIETY
STYLE GUIDE FOR THE SOUTH FLORIDA AUDUBON SOCIETY
PURPOSE South Florida Audubon Society (SFAS), based in Broward County, is dedicated to fostering conservation through local, regional, national, and global environmental advocacy and activities throughout South Florida. Our primary focus is birds, other wildlife and their habitats, for the benefit of humanity and the earth’s biological diversity. Over the years, our following has grown exponentially, so it is important that we communicate with the community correctly and concisely. Our website is our primary form of communication, and we appreciate the support we’ve received during our time here in South Florida. We’ve created this style guide as a cornerstone of our website, so that our followers and supporters find the site simple to use and accessible. Our brand is simple: it’s all about the birds and the wildlife, and our online style is meant to reflect just that.
LOGO SFAS’s logo reflects our attitude toward birds: we want them to thrive and live peacefully. Therefore, we’ve chosen a simple logo that mirrors this belief. The SFAS logo should only be used at the beginning of a document, left aligned, and at the top of the page. The size of the logo should be reasonable, and shouldn’t cover too much space or overlap any words within the document. When using the logo, it should be completely used. No part of the logo should be cropped or removed from the document, and the colors should remain the unaltered. COLORS
All pages on SFAS’s site will use “Century” font, size 12. Headings will be in bold, size 16. Secondary headings will be size 14 without bold. Italics will only be used for emphasis and quotes.
The following is an example of “Century”: ABCDEFGHIJKLMNOPQRSTUVWXYZ 0123456789/.,:;‘’“” TONE Because SFAS depends on the support and backing from the Broward County community, we must appeal to those who want to see us succeed. In order to attain this success and continue to receive the approval of our community, the tone of our website must be enthusiastic and energetic. Our goal is to motivate our followers and newcomers into action. At the same time, we are asking for help and encouragement, so it’s essential that we inform the community of the important place held by SFAS with regards to birding, environmentalism, and conservation. WEBSITE COPY Following the AP style commonly used in print and online media, SFAS’s website will include the following: TIME When using the time of day within website content, it is important to use the whole time and abbreviate the morning and afternoon as follows: -
2:30 a.m. 4:50 p.m. AGES
For ages, always use figures. If the age is used as an adjective or as a substitute for a noun, then it should be hyphenated. Don’t use apostrophes when describing an age range. Examples:
It was a 50-year-old doctor. The doctor is 50 years old. He is in his 50s. NUMBERS -
The numbers 0-9 shall be written as such. All numbers above 9 will be written out Examples: -
8 children ran into the yard. There were twenty children running into the yard. MISCELLANEOUS SOUTH FLORIDA AUDUBON SOCIETY
When starting a new page on the website, always use the organization’s complete name followed by the abbreviation in parenthesis. Every mention of our group after that first mention will be abbreviated. Example: The South Florida Audubon Society (SFAS) is committed to the birds. Therefore, SFAS strives to conserve the natural habitat that allows these beautiful animals to live peacefully amongst each other. SELECTED WORDS 1. When writing on the SFAS pages, always use the word “website,” not “web site.” This allows for consistency throughout the pages.
STUDENT BIOS FOR AUDUBON WEBSITE ALEX BALOSIE
Alex approached the Audubon with an assignment for an illustration course at the University of North Florida. The project: a poster design for an organization. Alex, a graphic design and digital media major, immediately considered the South Florida Audubon Society for his design. As a member of the South Florida community, Alex is no stranger to the Everglades and the local birds of our area. He grew up in Boca Raton, with two parents who immersed him in the natural environment of South Florida; and as a result, Alex developed a deep love for everything in the wild. Alex is an artist, and as such, thinks about the natural environment of South Florida from that perspective. “The silhouette of a sable palm or dead slash pine against the sunset is really cool,” he says. When he’s not creating new pieces, Alex likes to spend his time surfing, playing soccer, and practicing on his guitar. When asked involving the youth with SFAS, Alex has an interesting perspective: “I feel there's a stigma in the air where it's just not "cool" to be interested in nature. Ultimately I think it comes down to the individual to get over that. My parents always had me outside and took me to swamps and the beaches, now those are some of my favorite places. There's a beauty to nature that can't be reproduced, even in a photograph. I think immersing the younger generation in that beauty will open their eyes to it.” Samples of Alex’s work, as well as his contact information, can be found at alexbalosie.com.
ALICIA CARABALLO Alicia has been an advocate for marginalized parts of society since she was in high school. As a young girl, she would often be reprimanded for arguing with bullies. With help from her family and teachers, she eventually matured and found positive ways to help the defenseless. After exploring and volunteering for multiple organizations, Alicia found a way to help the environment while earning credits for school at Barry University. She’d been a member of the Audubon Society for a year before approaching president, Doug Young, about interning with the organization. Alicia now contributes to our website, social media pages, and grant research.
Alicia grew up in Miami, where weekends and school trips were often spent at the beach or the Everglades. Much of her curriculum in Miami included water conservation and animal rights advocacy. This led to Alicia’s fascination with animals and the local environment surrounding South Florida. When she’s not working or promoting a new cause, Alicia likes to read, write, and watch films. After graduation, Alicia intends on studying at NYU for her Master’s degree in Fundraising and Grantmaking. She hopes to continue to advocate for the rest of her life and plans to make a positive change in the way we approach the environment, education, and the arts.
TIPS FOR SOUTH FLORIDA AUDUBON’S FACEBOOK PAGE
The following is a short list of things to remember when creating content and posts for SFAS’s Like Page on Facebook.
CREATING CONTENT •
Create content and posts that engage the audience. You want them to read, think, and opinionate. The idea is to have an active page with many people engaging in discussions. This page lacks that, so anything will help.
Remember to ask the followers questions. This will grab their attention and call them to respond or share what you post.
Keep post writing short and to the point. Too much text bores readers and they will eventually stop paying attention.
Use pictures and relevant links to short but informative articles. Online readers don’t like to spend too much time on one piece.
A weekly Bird Feather Quiz, in which followers guess the species of a bird based on a photo of just its feathers, is a useful tool to get likes and comments. At least one person takes a guess each week. This should be improved, perhaps by reminding them everyday that the quiz is still going on.
Most followers are from Miami and Ft. Lauderdale; the rest are from all over Florida and scattered throughout the U.S. Keep the content on the site strictly local to the Miami/Ft. Lauderdale area, since this will bring more involvement.
45% (the largest portion) of online followers are between the ages of 35 and 54, so make sure that the content in the posts speaks to them. These are working or recently retired people who are concerned with birds and the environment. Vocabulary should be at an adult level.
62% of followers are women and the rest are men. Since the followers are mostly women, a few scattered posts that women can relate to would be helpful in getting 22
them involved on the page. Posts about monogamous animals, mother birds, or anything related to the female gender will definitely appeal to their femininity.
Our followers are using Facebook at work, during the hours of 9 in the morning and 5 in the afternoon. Posts should be created during those hours, but try to concentrate on the afternoon, when the work day is winding down and users are using Facebook more frequently. Usually when a post is put up in the morning, fewer people see it.
Followers, more than likely the younger ones, are online after hours as well. There is a large portion of followers who use Facebook between 5 and 9, and since they are younger the content should relate to them. Volunteer opportunities or music-related posts that engage the younger group will help get them to spread the word or get involved.
These statistics change with the influx of new followers, and the hours that users are online varies every month. Check the Insights section of the Facebook page to make sure that you gain an awareness of who your followers are and what they’re up to online.
AUDUBON FACEBOOK POSTS
WEEK 1 January 17, 2014
ASSIGNMENTS This week was an introductory week into the work of the South Florida Audubon Society. I met with Nancy Boyle, a contributing member who runs the website, and we agreed to have a weekly meeting for half an hour in which she would assign me different things to write for the website. This week I was asked to create a style guide for the Audubon which will be used by contributors to the website as well as those who create documents for the organization. I spent an hour a day (Monday through Friday) – between research and writing – to create the style guide. I was also asked to create content for a new section of the Audubon website. Sea Turtle nesting season begins in March, and the Audubon is searching for new volunteers to help in the rescue of disoriented hatchlings. It took me about 2 hours to write the article using the information given to me by Doug Young, the president of Audubon. Finally, I attended a monthly meeting (3 hours long) at the Fern Forest Nature Center to discuss the upcoming events and volunteer opportunities with the Audubon. The crowd was mostly senior citizens, but part of my internship is to bring in a younger generation of contributors and volunteers. I’ve also been updating and maintaining the Facebook and Twitter accounts for the organization by adding links and information to the blasts. REFLECTION I’m really enjoying the work I do for the Audubon. There is a bit of a lack of organization between some of the administrative members, but I’ve made up for that by finding the time to meet with Nancy once a week. I’m looking forward to all the upcoming activities and contributions for this semester. I’m finding myself searching for new ways to gather younger followers on the social media sites, and I’m making it my own personal goal to grow the followers from 180 to at least a thousand by the end of the semester. The style guide is a great assignment because it’s something typical of businesses and organizations. Knowing how to create one is knowledge I’m thankful that I could earn.
WEEK 2 January 25, 2014
ASSIGNMENTS After my weekly meeting with Nancy, which took about 30 minutes, I was assigned some new tasks to complete on top of the uncompleted style guide for the South Florida Audubon website. I began my work this week with the Grant Station website. I spent an hour getting acquainted with the website and learned that keywords were very important in finding the right grants. I searched through the database and started to construct a spreadsheet that included philanthropic organizations, the grant amounts, and the application or proposal due dates. That took about 3 hours over the course of the week. As usual, I kept up the Twitter and Facebook accounts. In a surprising turn of events, I’ve been able to get some younger followers on both accounts, but the Facebook account has definitely seen much more action. I figured out that in order to get followers, I had to follow and communicate with existing organizations that are similar to the Audubon. Most of the posts were environmental quotes and blasts for upcoming meetings. I also posted some photos of rare birds, with credit to the photographer, of course. This all took me about 3 hours. Most of my week, however, was comprised of continuing my research and continuing the style guide for the Audubon website. During our weekly meeting, Nancy brought up some points about including the logo and the website colors into the style guide, and she also requested that I include an introduction that included the Audubon’s mission. At the end of the week, Nancy and I decided it best that she complete the creation of the style guide, since she is more experienced with the style and tone of the website. I spent 2 hours working on this for her. Finally, since we posted my article on the website about Sea Turtles, I was responsible for finding some images to be worked into the page. I spent about 30 minutes searching for images of loggerhead turtles that were available for public use, and I created a flyer to be posted alongside my article. This took an hour and a half.
REFLECTION While I spent my first week getting my feet wet, I’m beginning to get the hand of how things work at the Audubon. Doug, the president, is always busy, and Nancy spends the most time with me and helps me. I prefer to work with a woman, anyway, so I think it will get better as the semester goes on. I was very proud to have my Sea Turtle content published on a website, and I’ll definitely be adding it to my résumé as well as my portfolio. The style guide has proved to be a challenge. I never imagined that so many details were required in those documents, and Nancy made that very clear this week. I did, however, appreciate the experience. The Grant Station website is a very useful tool in finding the
right organizations and government entities that will fund the many projects and volunteer jobs for the Audubon. The creation of the spreadsheet was my idea, and I recommended it to Doug so that he could refer to it when necessary. I thought it would be a good way to keep track of upcoming application and proposal deadlines. I’m really looking forward to learning from Doug how to write the grants. Since it’s something I would eventually like to do for a living, I hope that I will learn many things that will help me in my future.
WEEK 3 January 31, 2014 ASSIGNMENTS This week was very slow with work for the Audubon. Everyone was getting ready for the upcoming meetings for the season. Now that it’s almost time to start the turtle hatchling rescue, it was up to me to organize the volunteer information and respond to all queries with details about how one could volunteer and where to go for training. These responses took me 2 hours. My 30-minute meeting with Nancy went well this week. She asked me to also fix up some of the pages on the website, since she knew that I had some decent editing skills. I started with the “About Us” and “Advocacy” sections. This assignment took me 2 hours as well. After Nancy reviews them this weekend, she will determine whether or not my work will be published. Most of my week was spent on social media. While I’ve been able to drastically increase the amount of followers on Facebook, Twitter is just proving to be very difficult, even though we get a few new followers every week. This week I spent 2.5 hours on social media, especially promoting February’s meeting and the speakers who would be presenting. This month one speaker will focus on the importance of forage fish to South Florida birds. The other speaker will discuss light pollution and it’s affect on our wildlife. Finally, Doug and I discussed a new grant that we’ll be applying for in the next few weeks. The National Wildlife Federation is offering a “Trees for Wildlife” grant, and Doug wants to apply for 100 trees. He asked me to look over last year’s application so that I could get an idea of what it would look like and what hasn’t worked in the past. We also discussed part of the grant, which was a planting event for students and adults to participate in, and how we could reach out to
the youth of the Broward community. REFLECTION This week wasn’t as exciting as I’d hoped, but Doug and Nancy assure me that things will pick up over the next few months. I’m looking forward to editing the website and will be happy to see my work online. It’s a great addition to my portfolio. I want to brainstorm on how to get younger volunteers involved with the organization, but it seems that I’ll be climbing uphill on that one. However, it seems that I have made a big change on the Facebook page, as followers slowly increase every week. I’ve also started to try and get followers involved by posting pictures of feathers on the page and asking followers to guess what bird the feathers belong to. This week the feathers belong to the great blue heron. I’m finding it difficult lately to find time for myself, as I’ve taken on this internship plus a virtual one, I work a part-time job, and I’ve enrolled in four classes. I feel a bit overwhelmed, but I know that if I can do this and not fail, then I can do anything. There are a lot of people depending on me, especially at the Audubon, and I don’t want to let anyone down. What I really look forward to is attending a meeting, where I can attempt to share the importance of getting the youth involved. It works for other non-profits in the area, like the Urban Paradise Guild and the Tropical Audubon. If I can encourage the older members to bring in younger members, there just may be an Audubon around in Broward twenty years from now.
WEEK 4 January 31, 2014
ASSIGNMENTS While last week was slow at the Audubon, this week went by rather quickly! We received an email from a student at the University of North Florida, and he asked to make a poster design for the Audubon. It was also part of a class assignment, but he wants to stay on board for future design opportunities. Doug took the opportunity to ask me to write a short bio for the new intern and myself. The bios will be posted to our website. It took me 3 hours to write this, between contacting the new intern and writing about myself. I’m never very comfortable about writing about myself, and I always struggle with what won’t come off as vain. The feather quiz is going really well. I figured out how to get more people involved on the Facebook page. One look at the analytics of the like page revealed that most of the followers use Facebook between 8 and 11 pm. This clued me into the fact that I should be creating posts at that time. I experimented with it this week, and my posts went from having less than 20 views to having over 40! I spent an hour each night, from Sunday till Thursday, creating posts. Finally, I’ve spent most of my time this week (5+ hours) working on fixing up the Birding page on the website. It’s currently very disorganized and all over the place. It makes it very difficult to read, so I’m working on not only editing it, but redesigning it as well. This has proved to be fun! REFLECTION Now that I’ve figured out how to get more people involved on Facebook, I’m going to research some techniques with regards to Twitter. It’s not like environmental people aren’t out there in Twitter-land, because I follow a lot of them! I’ve been using hash tags for every post, but I still can’t seem to find the following. I also realized that there’s competition in the wildlife advocacy world just like any other industry. I posted that the Audubon was looking for volunteers on a Sea Turtle conservation like page, and the owner of the group contacted Doug, the president of Audubon, to complain and yell at him. I felt really bad about it, but I couldn’t understand why someone would feel threatened by an organization that only has 200 likes when theirs has over 1,000. Things have started to pick up, and I’m glad about that. It seems I will be editing and redesigning a lot of the website for the Audubon, which is good because that page needs a new look. I’m also glad that there’s another student helping out with things. It will help the older members of the organization to understand my perspective with regards to online presence. Up until now, Nancy has been very reluctant to listen to me about the website, and I’m only trying to help. She is very territorial about that site, and I was intimidated at first, but now I’m beginning to understand her possessiveness over it. I certainly wouldn’t want some kid coming around to mess with my work.
WEEK 5 February 15, 2014
ASSIGNMENTS This week went by rather quickly at the Audubon. I think it’s because I’ve been so busy. I had my usual weekly meeting (30 minutes) with Nancy, and she gave me a very difficult assignment. I’ve been asked to edit and practically rewrite the “bird behavior” section of the website. She even asked me to link each bird to a website where users can hear the bird’s call. It took me 6 hours this week alone just to work on that. Our other intern, Alex, sort of quit, so now I’m the only intern working with the Audubon. Nancy and Doug are just going to dedicate one page for me on the site, which I’m somewhat proud of, since I wrote the bio information myself. Doug also sent me some material to study and go over so that I could familiarize myself with the grant writing process. I briefly reviews the files (30 minutes) and will start really getting into it next week. So far, I’ve only researched for grants and followed up on the deadlines, but it seems that I will finally get a look into the grant writing for Audubon. I also promised Doug that I would participate in this year’s Broward’s Water Matter Event. I will be with Doug holding down the Audubon booth, so I’m excited for that. Social media is starting to pick up after much effort on my part (3 hours). The weekly quiz is getting followers involved, and I’ve been posting more pictures at least 3 times a week so that users can remember we exist. It has certainly brought more likes to the page and people sharing our photos. I’m really excited. REFLECTION I was starting to worry about the grant writing aspect of this internship, especially since I’m almost halfway through it all, but Doug has assured me (multiple times) that we are going to get to it this month. I’m hoping that he’s serious. At least I have the online work to busy myself, even though Twitter is still an issue. Perhaps I should only focus on the Facebook page, since more people use it. I’m starting to realize that really young people use Twitter, so I’m going to have much more difficulty getting those followers. I’m glad that I have Nancy around to help me with most of my work. Doug really is all over the place, so most of his communications are via email. I can get really frustrated with that ever so often, but I just try to be as detailed as I can in the email messages. This week’s main assignment, fixing up the bird page, was a bit boring for me. I’m not very interested in birdcalls, and I don’t feel as though I have the authority to create the page. I’m scared I may have made a mistake, but Nancy assured me that she’d review all the links and make sure the photos match the birdcall. Hopefully this week I’ll get an assignment that’s a bit more interesting or exciting.
WEEK 6 February 28, 2014 ASSIGNMENTS This journal is comprised of the two hours of social media I worked on last week and the assignments for this week. I had my weekly meeting with Nancy on Monday (30 minutes) and she told me that she’s very happy with the editing I’ve been doing for the website content. She asked me to continue working on the web content for the bird pages and to take another look at the birdcall content I worked on a few weeks ago. We’ve decided to change the “Birding Field Trips” page so that it doesn’t look as cluttered as it does now. Nancy wants to remove the calendar and just create an elegant list of field trips so that it’s easier for users to scroll through. We also decided that some of the subpages in the birding menu should be consolidated. I started editing some of the pages, and haven’t finished yet. It took me 6 hours this week to work on the edits, and I spent another 2 hours on social media. REFLECTION I’m really excited about editing all these pages, since it will all go online and I’ll be the one who organized it. It feels really good to be a part of something that many people depend on. I get the same feeling when I edit the Walmart catalogs and I’m starting to understand how it feels to be out of college and in the working world. I’m tired of asking Doug to get me into the grant writing aspect of this internship, so I’ll see what he has to say next Saturday when I help him at the Audubon’s booth at Broward’s 12th annual Water Matters Day event. I’m really excited to network with others and spread the word about the social media pages. On that note, I figured out that re-tweeting and favoriting other tweets brings in the followers. This week I gained 10 followers on Twitter, so I’m excited about that too! I’m going to continue to try this and see how it goes for me. Facebook has seen a dramatic increase in outreach and activity. People are liking more posts, and every bird feather quiz so far has seen at least 3 guesses from followers. The edits are proving to be a difficult task. Nancy tells me that it’s all very much appreciated, and I’m glad to gain the experience. My only concern is that I’m not very savvy with HTML. I can only tell her how to lay it out, and hope that she does it. At least the grammar is improving.
WEEK 7 & 8 March 14, 2014 ASSIGNMENTS For the week of Spring Break, I was more than happy to do some Audubon work. I had my weekly 30-minute meeting with Nancy, who assigned me another edit job. I had to edit the “Birding in Broward” page for the website. That took me about 2.5 hours. I also spent another 2 hours on social media, but the really fun activity/assignment was Broward County’s 12th annual Water Matters Day. I was responsible for manning the South Florida Audubon Booth, and was there from 9am to 3 pm (6 hours). This past week was a little slower with the Audubon. I had my usual 30-minute meeting with Nancy, and she gave me 2 assignments. The first was to edit the “Burrowing Owl” page for the website (2 hours), but the second assignment seemed much more fun and interesting. Two loved and important members of South Florida Audubon members recently passed away, and trees were planted in their honor at Anne Kolb Nature Center. Nancy asked me to interview some people who were close to them and write an article about their lives and contributions to the Audubon. I received a small list of contacts and spent a total of 2 hours this week contacting and interviewing them. I then started my first draft of the article, which I gave Nancy for review. That took me another 2 hours. I hope to receive her edits this weekend so that I can finish the article and do these great people justice. I also spent 2.5 hours on Facebook, and we finally had a correct guess on the Bird Feathers Quiz.
REFLECTION I’ve never been to any special events for the environment, and I was extremely surprised to see so many people show up at Broward’s Water Matters Day! From the minute the park opened the event until 3 pm, there were thousands of people walking around. I was nervous at first, but after a few people came up to our booth, I felt much more comfortable. It felt great to answer questions for the participants. I realized that I’ve actually learned a lot about both birds and South Florida in just a small amount of time. Pictures were taken and I posted them on the Facebook page. It truly was an amazing experience. This week’s assignment was also insightful. I realized how important this cause is for so many people. The two people who passed away, Miriam Wagner and John Judy, had love from so many people. Interviewing Miriam’s daughter over the phone was great and I learned a lot about Miriam’s passion for birds and wildlife. John Judy’s family was unavailable for interviews, but I did have a chance to speak to the people who coordinated the tree-planting event at Ann Kolb Nature Center. It was difficult at first to communicate with them, since they are elderly, but after speaking up a few times they finally heard me clearly. I’m really glad that Nancy gave me this assignment, even if it was bittersweet. Hopefully she’ll like my article and I’ll have something to add to my portfolio that has true meaning to someone.
WEEK 9 March 28, 2014 ASSIGNMENTS After a short rehabilitation week, I was more than happy to get back to my Audubon duties. I had my weekly meeting with Nancy, and she told me that my Memorial article for the deceased Audubon members need a bit more work. She also assigned me a new article to write for the website. This time she’d like me to write an informational article on hummingbirds, but focusing on the local species in South Florida. I was very excited to get started on this piece, especially since I’m fond of the birds that I’ve never seen in person. I spent an hour editing my Memorial piece and resubmitted it. I also spent about 2 hours researching the hummingbird. Writing the article proved difficult, as I didn’t want to approach it as though it were a research paper for school. It took me about 3 hours to write my first draft, and I submitted it to Nancy as well. I also had some time to meet with Doug last week and go over some upcoming grants and deadlines. We had a three-hour meeting and were able to discuss Earth Day activities (April 22nd). I told him that I might be available for some activities, but that I wasn’t sure about it since I was nearing the end of my internship and school semester. Finally, I spent an hour and a half on social media, since I was so behind with my school work and trying to get my articles done. REFLECTION I honestly don’t think I’ll be able to get any work done on grants. Doug sort of just showed me what was out there, and basically left it up to me to figure out. It was really confusing, and I told him that maybe we should have another meeting soon to really discuss how it’s done. It’s very difficult to keep up with his ADHD, but I’m trying to get used to it. Nancy has been so great with me over the course of this internship. She gives me all my assignments and makes sure to ask how I’m doing or feeling with it all. Through my hummingbird assignment, I was surprised to find out so much about those precious birds. Almost all the hummingbirds in Florida are migratory from up north. No wonder I’d never seen them before! I learned so much information; like keeping hummingbird nests is a federal offense and that they don’t like birdhouses. There are so many species of them and they’re found on every continent! Social media was a bit boring this week. I posted a clue for this week’s bird feather quiz (red-shouldered hawk) and no one has guessed it yet! I’m surprised considering it’s a South Florida local bird of prey. I may repost this clue until someone guesses it, but I also want to continue adding new clues since I only have 3 weeks left with the Audubon. I’m also starting to give up on Twitter, since we’ve gone dead at 76 followers.
WEEK 10 April 4, 2014 ASSIGNMENTS This internship is nearing its close, and work is starting to slow down. I expected things to be a little crazier this week, but it appears that the South Florida Audubon Society is also getting ready to move on. This week I had my usual 30-minute meeting with Nancy, and she let me know that there will be a special page for me on the website. We’d discussed this earlier in the year, but I didn’t take it too seriously since I’m only an intern. For this weeks assignment, she asked me to write a brief but jam-packed introduction to myself. As usual, I had a hard time saying anything about myself. I remembered that I’d already written a brief bio on myself earlier in the semester for the intern page, but Nancy assured me that this would be better, since the page was just Alicia-related. The introduction to my page took me 3 hours, between writing and revising it. I also spent more time than usual on social media this week (3 hours), since things were slowing down. Nancy asked me to write up a quick little list of tips for next week’s assignment. I haven’t started on it, but she made sure to remind me of this, since she will be taking over the social media accounts. I spent a lot of time commenting and liking other pages’ posts so that the online community could see that the Audubon is involved. Last week I forgot to include photos on the “Hummingbirds in South Florida” article, so Nancy asked me to find some high-quality pics of local hummingbirds. I spent about an hour on Creative Commons searching for decent hummingbird photos and found two HD photos of a ruby-throated species. Since were getting close to the end, I decided to get my evaluation out of the way. I met with Doug, the president of Audubon, this week so that he could fill out my evaluation form. We also spent some time discussing how the internship has gone and he asked me what could be done to make it better. I also asked him to tell me where my weaknesses were. We spent about an hour in that meeting, and I think we found some good information and possible policies to pass on to the next intern. Doug said we’d be meeting again once more before it was all said and done. Finally, I wrote a nice ad for the Audubon. They need new interns and will be posting online and at local colleges for the next person after me. They really need someone this summer, so I wrote a quick little flyer for them. That took me an hour. REFLECTION On the one hand, I am really happy that everything is almost over. There were very stressful moments this semester and I felt that I might not make it. The Audubon group has been so understanding and patient with me, even after my car broke this week. I thought that this internship would bore me to death, but I’ve learned so much so far and met so many great people, that I don’t think I’ll ever forget them.
With things slowing down, my mind drifts a little when I’m working on Audubon stuff, but I usually get through it. I’m a bit disappointed that I haven’t been able to work on grants, and I feel that those meetings with Doug were for nothing. He did, however, show me some paperwork and gave me an e-book that I will put to good use when I start my career. I hope that they have something really interesting for me to do before it’s over!
WEEK 11 April 11, 2014 ASSIGNMENTS To say things have slowed down is an understatement. I spent most of this week on Facebook, making posts and liking statuses and other organization posts. I searched for some articles to post on the page and a new Bird Feather quiz. This week the bird was a Great Crested Flycatcher. No one was able to guess it correctly. I spent 4 hours (wow!) on social media this week. I also had my usual weekly meeting with Nancy (30 minutes). She seems to be giving me fewer assignments, since she knows I probably won’t have time for anything new. She did remind me about the “Tips” document for her and/or the future intern. I created an elaborate but easy to read list of different ways to get followers involved and new people to like the page. This took me (3.5 hours). For my final project, Nancy has asked me to write an evaluative essay discussing my experience with the Audubon. She wants to use it for reference and for improving the Audubon intern experience. She told me that it is due on my final day next week. I received an email from her with quite a few questions like how my experience was, what I liked/disliked, ways to improve the intern experience, and what I recommend for future interns. I started this and it took me about 2 hours. REFLECTION I’m really looking forward to writing the final piece for Nancy and the Audubon. She has been so great and helpful throughout this experience. I didn’t know what I could do for her, and this is it! I have learned so much about birds and the environment this semester, and I think that going into fundraising and grant writing is really the right choice for me. I’m also starting to really enjoy the Facebook page. Even though very few people respond to the posts and the Bird Feather Quiz, we get at least two new followers each week. Writing the introduction about myself actually turned out to be therapeutic last week. I never thought I could do half of the things I’ve accomplished this semester, and once I listed them in the introduction, it all became real! Writing the tips for the next intern was a lot of fun. I had to look at all the analytics on the Facebook page (time followers are online, demographics, etc.) and I think I left just enough information for the next intern to get followers more involved. My mission this semester was to get younger followers, and I definitely accomplished that. Our new demographic is 40-55-year-olds, as opposed to the 60-75-year-olds. This next week will be my final week, and I’m looking forward to closing my internship with a positive outlook and a new perspective. Hopefully, I’ll be able to put all this great experience to good use in my future. That’s something else that Nancy asked me to write about: how my experience has prepared me for the future. I hope she likes what I have to say.
WEEK 12 April 18, 2014 ASSIGNMENTS This was my final week with the Audubon, and while I am somewhat glad it’s over, I feel like I haven’t done enough! This week I spend very little time on Facebook (2.5 hours). Our bird feather quiz this week was a Muscovy duck. I thought it would be interesting to use a bird that people see everyday. No one was able to guess it correctly, though. I also had my meeting with Nancy this week, but it took longer than usual (1.5) hours. We talked about so many things. She seems to be very pleased with my contributions to the Audubon, so hopefully they can find someone new that will be able to fill my shoes and do more than I did. I also met one last time with Doug over lunch. We had a final meeting about what I think could have been done better. I told him that I would have liked to work more with grants, and he apologized. I told him that it was all right, since I got so much more experience with the other assignments. The meeting lasted about 2.5 hours. Doug has ADHD so it’s very difficult to keep him focused and get him to stop talking. I never complain about it. My last 3.5 hours were spent polishing my final essay for Nancy. I added some information that wasn’t previously in the document, like how I was able to balance my school assignments, work a part-time job, and contribute to two non-profits over the course of one semester. REFLECTION Wow! So this is the end!? I can’t believe that I have made it this far. Just two and a half years ago I was a transfer student just starting at Barry University. I can’t believe how fast the time has gone by! This semester kept me busier than any other semester in my entire undergraduate studies. I’m very excited to see what lies ahead for me. This experience with the Audubon has been incredible, even though the organization is a bit unorganized. After all, most of the people with the Audubon are doing this as volunteers. Very few people who do anything for them are paid. Doug and Nancy kept me busy the entire time and I am more than grateful of their assistance and guidance. I hope that they are both satisfied with the work I have done over the past 4 months. My only regret while with the Audubon (other than not getting into grants) was my inability to grow a following on Twitter. I definitely increased the likes on the Facebook page, but it seems that Twitter is not my forte and hopefully the next intern or volunteer will be able to get a better handle on it. I am very happy with my experience and I will more than likely be using the pieces I’ve created here in my professional portfolio. This has been an amazing experience and if I could do it again, I would. Well, I want to progress, so in that aspect I wouldn’t repeat the experience, but I am happy that I will remember the Audubon fondly and not negatively.
PROFESSIONAL WRITING SAMPLES
FROM NEW YORK TO LIFE WORK (PERSONALITY PROFILE) Few of us can say our commitments aren’t built around self-interest. Every promise or decision we make must in some way be fulfilled for our own advantage. Some of us even make donations so that we can get a tax write-off the following year. It’s only rarely that we come across a person who fills their time with non-selfish acts aimed at making the world a little more livable. Devin Avery’s made a full-time career of providing for the planet. With an impressive array of credentials, Devin is uncharacteristically modest. “It just makes sense to maintain the world,” he observes. As president of Skywater, a company dedicated to providing populations with low-cost, high-quality water without significantly consuming electricity, Devin’s come a long way from his New York beginning. While he leans back on the couch in his living room and crosses his shoeless feet on his coffee table, he prepares to tell me just how he made it to South Florida, and why he’ll probably never leave. Once you’ve been to Long Island, you wish you’d grown up there. Devin, who pursued other experiences, left for college and never returned. “I had two brothers and two sisters, so I just wanted to see who else occupied this planet and hopefully get some privacy in the process.” After earning his bachelor’s of science in International Business at American University, Devin felt he hadn’t seen enough yet, so he picked a scholarship in what he thought was one of the most isolated places on Earth: Taiwan. By then he’d already picked up more than five languages, Chinese included, and felt comfortable enough to extend his soul to the other side of the planet. He studied International Relations at National Taiwan University, but soon realized that wasn’t enough. Devin wouldn’t be ready to return to the U.S without a little more exploring, so he headed to Germany to study for his PhD in International Law at the hardly pronounceable LudwigMaximilians Universität München. When I ask him how he applies all this education to what he actually does for a living, he shoots me a clever smile and says it’s all relative. “You need to know what you’re doing in my business, especially since we’re sending products across the globe.” When Devin decided to cross the Atlantic again, he knew that summers in the Hamptons and trips to the city wouldn’t suffice. He desired to be in the company of people who cared, and according to him, he couldn’t achieve that on Long Island. “I made a life in Pennsylvania, married a Chilean woman, had three kids, and did what I could to make the connections I needed,” says Devin. “I never thought of leaving until 9/11 happened.” After barely evading the tragic event, Devin decided the Northeast was no longer safe for him and his family. “I was supposed to be at a meeting in one of the towers that morning, but it was pushed up to the 10th, so when the planes hit and I realized that I had cheated death, I couldn’t take any chances.” He then decided he wanted a tropical environment, like Taiwan, where he could speak Spanish often enough and still do something for the planet. The abundance of wildlife and humanitarian organizations reeled him in, and the mostly sunny weather was the clenching hook. He worked for a few years at Broward County as a strategic development manager. This allowed Devin to settle into the Florida lifestyle. He made friends, found a home, and quickly established his involvement in some of the most respected non-profits in the South Florida area.
We take a walk around his property and Devin points to the shadowing oak trees scattered around his yard; we watch a few squirrels scurry between branches chasing each other as the sun pokes through the leaves, pouring light on Devin’s face. He tells me that the trees are what made him buy this house; that he wants to be close to nature. “It’s my battery,” he says, “to letting everyone know that this is a great world.” Skywater was founded in 2004. April Fools Day, as Devin makes sure to remind me. This was the year his ideas and goals would take shape and flourish. Skywater prides itself on bringing clean, healthy, and energy-efficient water to areas of the planet where an unpolluted glass of water may be days of travel away. Skywater has brought fresh water to places like Africa, India, and Central and South America. But, unfortunately, giving doesn’t pay the bills, as Devin respectfully admits. Skywater makes products for all markets. “Offices and communities can have a bit of air-water, too, if they’d like,” says Devin. An advanced technology that hasn’t been seen in previous water systems is what makes Skywater the leading supplier of water-producing products. “There’s competition, and a lot of it,” Devin explains to me as we take a look at his own Skywater system in his kitchen. For a moment I feel as though I’m back in science class learning something original and incomprehensible. I tell him that the product in his kitchen looks just like a simple water dispenser commonly found in offices and locker rooms, yet the water jug is missing. “Yes, that’s the point,” he tells me. “We don’t need to be taking water out of the streams and oceans, we can just take it from the air.” The air-to-water machines (also known as atmospheric water generators) created by Skywater range from simple household water dispensers to high-volume units that provide up to 300 gallons of water a day. Devin is quick to let everyone know that Skywater carries the only patented air-to-water products in the world. The brand has had so much success because of the process by which water is made: literally from thin air. According to Devin, the best source of fresh water on the planet is in the atmosphere. Skywater products recreate the condensation process by altering the point at which dew is created in the air. Water is literally created from humidity in our breathing air. The generated water is then filtered to remove toxins and Ozone (O3) is introduced, which purifies and cleanses the water. This leaves no after taste, much like chlorine does. The result: tasty, clean, and energizing fresh water. As we make our way back to his living room couch, Devin tells me how excited he is for the next phase of not only Skywater, but of his life as well. “It’ll soon be a part of my other company, Right Eco. Let’s clean the water and distribute products that are geared towards the success of human life,” he explains as he stares off into the future. At this point, it is more than clear to me that Devin’s sole purpose in life is to protect the world like a guard dog, but he denies it whole-heartedly. “What’s really important is that we educate children and protect the world. We’ve got to educate people from the beginning. If we pick up a piece of trash a day it might not make a difference, but if we teach our children to do it then eventually it’ll be a way of life,” he says. I’m left wondering what else Devin Avery likes to do for others, so I gather the courage to ask him if he has any other philanthropic pursuits. He shoots me an inviting smile, then tilts his head back and laughs. Devin claims he’s no philanthropist, but if we’re talking doing things for others, he’s got lots to share. “Well, remember, all these things I do are entrepreneurial after all, but I focus my time on education, ecology, the
environment, and right now I’m trying to create nutritional programs for the less fortunate members of Central America and the U.S.” Devin isn’t kidding. The man boasts duties within nearly a dozen foundations and companies including the South Florida Audubon Society, where he acts as vice-president; the Florida Association of Non-Profit Organizations (FANO); Greater Ft. Lauderdale’s Sister Cities International; Women’s International Film Festival (WIFF); Junior Achievement, as well as Smart Growth. He’s also the founding president of the South Florida Economic Foundation. Try asking Devin which group he loves working with most and he’ll tell you he doesn’t have a preference. “I couldn’t live with just one,” he tells me as he continues counting his involvement on his fingers. It’s no wonder he never wears a watch; there’s no time for himself. “Everything I do for others I do for myself,” Devin tells me. However, like most of us, he does find joy in many of the things we appreciate. The theatre is one of his favorite activities. “I also frequent hockey games and relax with friends at brunches and dinners.” He then starts to stare at the old grand piano sitting like an elephant in his living room. When I ask him about it, he tells me it was his mother’s piano. Devin says his parents are the ones who encouraged the values he now cherishes so much. “My father was a brilliant biomedical engineer, and mom held many jobs. She spent some time as an RN (registered nurse) and a substitute teacher,” Devin proudly explains. He takes another look at that piano and tells me just how much it means to him. “My first childhood project was putting that piano together piece by piece with my brothers and sisters.” He claims it’s just the way he was raised, giving and caring for others. However, Devin isn’t fulfilled with his life yet. “I hope to keep going on as long as possible,” he says. For Devin, the only direction is forward. By the time he reaches 60, he wants to have grown Right Eco to a company that produces positive change in the world. We’ve spent so much time on Skywater, that I ask him to further describe his new project. He tells me it’s all in the early stages, but Right Eco will be developing and commercializing sustainable and eco-friendly technologies and products that offer a true positive impact to life on Earth. “It really is a beautiful world,” Devin tells me. He knows first-hand. For Devin, leisure is business, or better put, business is leisure. Trips to foreign countries are filled with important meetings, stops at nature preserves and environmental facilities, as well as low-income neighborhoods. These are the places he scouts for new ideas. It’s his creative method. “I’d like to get into the mining, village, and building or construction market,” says Devin. “These people are often forgotten, and they need clean water, too.” He tells me that Skywater is looking to sell even larger machines than the ones they currently offer. For Devin, it’s the only way to reach those groups in society that are often overlooked. Devin opens his laptop and shows me pictures of his last trip to Honduras. The online album is filled with pictures of him and undernourished children, playing games in the rain and running food from the kitchen building to a dining hall where everyone eats. He explains to me that it’s an elementary school and that the nutritional program lacks funding. “That’s where I come in,” says Devin, pointing to a picture of himself in a raindrenched t-shirt and khaki shorts.
As our time together nears its end, Devin asks me a few questions of his own. Most of his queries involve my life plans, and I tell him about my future in grant making and fundraising. “So you’ve got the bug too, don’t you?” he asks. We giggle together for a few seconds and I tell him that nothing I do would ever compare to his efforts. Before I walk out, I ask him what his one wish for the world is. He stares at me straight-faced and serious and says, “that it survives.”
PUBLIC SERVICE CAMPAIGN PROPOSAL ABSTRACT As a result of mayor Carlos Gimenez’s promise to reduce resident taxes, the Miami-Dade Police Department has suffered a loss in funding. This proposal aims at earning financial support for a countywide campaign that will raise awareness of the likely severe consequences of Mayor Gimenez’s 2012-2013 budget plan. The campaign will educate the residents of Miami-Dade County and generate discussion of any possible solutions to this challenging circumstance. INTRODUCTION Background Before elections in 2011, Carlos Gimenez assured Miami-Dade residents that their taxes would be decreased. He planned to enact this promise by reducing the money spent by the county. After taking office, Gimenez began his proposed cuts, keeping his promise to Miami-Dade residents. Many government programs, including libraries, juvenile facilities, and public service departments, are suffering from a lack of funding and a decrease in employees; However, the agency losing the most funding is the police department. The PBA (Police Benevolence Association) rejected the proposed cuts to county funding, and Gimenez soon threatened to lay off over 100 off police officers.1 The PBA then sat down with the mayor’s office to negotiate an agreement. After weeks of deliberation and dispute, the mayor and the PBA agreed that each and every police officer employed by Miami-Dade County would suffer a new pay cut. Officers soon saw a significant reduction of their bi-weekly salaries. The MDPD (Miami-Dade Police Department) agreed to the budget changes in order to avoid layoffs. Officers now pay up to 9% of their paychecks (a 5% increase from last year) for their healthcare benefits and $50 biweekly for their take-home vehicles. Officers also conceded to a 50% decrease in overtime pay and a reduction of holiday pay from twelve paid holidays to just two.2 Because of the pay-cuts, many officers are taking early retirement and are searching for other forms of employment. This may prove to be problematic, since the department has halted all hiring procedures due to lack of funding.
Del Marmol, Sebastian, & Rapado, Donna (2012, January 19). PBA Files Grievances over Miami-Dade Police Layoffs. NBC6. Retrieved from http://www.nbcmiami.com/news/local/PBA-Files-Grievances-Over-Police-Layoffs2 (2012). Police FY 2012-13 Department Budget Presentation (Department Reorganization and Efficiencies). Retrieved from http://www.miamidade.gov/budget/library/FY2012-13/budget-development/MDPD-budget-presentation.pdf
Concerns Citizens of Miami-Dade County will soon suffer the consequences of Mayor Gimenez’s budget cuts. As officers continue their early retirements, fewer officers are on the roads and responding to calls, and the amount of detectives is expected to decrease as well. MDPD has already done away with the cargo and auto theft specialized units and decreased specialized units that focus on homeland security, agricultural patrol, and community policing.3 If the amount of specialized units in Miami-Dade County continues to decrease, fewer burglars, sexual offenders, and high-level criminals will be caught and convicted. The Miami-Dade Police Department predicts that 250 officers will retire within the next five years, while an increasing amount of officers are retiring from the force of 1,070 to find more lucrative forms of employment.4 As a result, residents will experience longer wait time for officer responses, higher crime rates, and fewer criminals being caught and convicted. “Minutes count!” said 46-year-old officer, Thomas, when asked about the consequences of longer wait times.
CONSEQUENCES TO CONSIDER Sociocultural The mayor’s cuts have angered county employees, particularly police officers, but many residents are unaware of the county downgrades. Those who are aware of the changes don’t realize the long-term risks that result from taking funds from the MDPD. The budget cuts have diminished the number of officers patrolling. This decrease in manpower has jeopardized the safety of officers on the job, while it has also increased the possibility of home invasions, robberies, and burglaries. Many officers have begun to feel distanced and unappreciated by their community and feel that the general public isn’t aware of the daily risk involved in their duties. Officers understand the need for law enforcement in the Dade County community and are doing a lot with less. “We’re performing the same jobs with much fewer resources,” says Perla, a 43-year-old police officer. If the public were aware of how the budget cuts could affect their own lives, many residents would feel compelled to petition the mayor to reconsider his 2013 budget plans, or even vote for another candidate in the next election. Economic Gimenez released the budget plan for 2012-2013 in which public safety will only receive 7% ($107,573,000) of the $1.63 million budget.5 The concessions made by the PBA has caused each and every officer financial hardship. Residents of areas with higher crime rates may also find themselves in economic adversity because of increased burglaries and 3
Sharman, Amy (2012, June 29). No police layoffs but department has faced pain. Retrieved from http://www.politifact.com/florida/promises/carlos-o-meter/promise/958/no-lay-offs-police-or-firefighters/ 4 Jones, Elgin (2012, May 31). Miami-Dade County: Cop Shortage. South Florida Times. Retrieved from http://www.sfltimes.com/index.php?option=com_content&task=view&id=10034&Itemid=183 5
(2011). Budget-in-Brief. Retrieved from http://www.miamidade.gov/budget/FY201112/adopted/Volume1/budget-brief.pdf
robberies, which is an increasing problem in Miami-Dade. “The burglaries and robberies happen a lot, but there is definitely a pattern. In the summer, when more children are home, the burglaries decrease. Yet when the fall season and the holidays come along, the burglars are back at it again,” said Patty, an MDPD officer. Furthermore, Miami-Dade County will eventually receive less revenue from court fees if fewer criminals are caught. With the county receiving less money from court costs, more budget modifications may occur in order to balance spending and funding of essential county agencies.
PROPOSED SOLUTION What Should We Do? This proposal aims at both education and engagement; a county-wide public education campaign will work to increase awareness and general public support for the police. Miami-Dade County residents will be more willing to support their local police department when they understand the consequences they might face in their neighborhoods. A complementary goal is to improve the negative view of Miami-Dade officers by encouraging officers to participate in community activities where residents can learn what being a police officer means and the value of a well-funded police department. Activities will be held in local parks and police stations where officers will hold Q & A sessions, discuss local crime issues, and hold demonstrations. If members of the community are engaged in relationships with the police, they will be happy to support the officers who put their lives on the line daily. How Will This Address the Problem? By making more residents of Miami-Dade County aware of the significance of cutting the MDPD budget, this campaign will generate community support for the police officers and encourage Mayor Gimenez to find other ways of cutting the county’s budget. Police morale will improve as officers once again begin to feel appreciated by their community. Citizens will also feel as though they are working hand-in-hand with the police department to create a safer community for everyone.
GOALS & OBJECTIVES
Campaign Materials In order to gain a clear perspective of police morale and expected consequences of budget cuts, surveys and questionnaires will be given to both residents living in Miami-Dade, as well as officers currently employed by the county. This research will help us to focus on the strategies of the campaign. Billboards and print ads in local magazines and newspapers will be used to raise countywide awareness. These advertisements will include a website where residents can find information on the MDPD budget cuts as well as the consequences of the cuts and how their lives will be affected. The website will include a petition for residents to sign to ask Mayor Gimenez to modify his budget plan. The advertisements on billboards and in newspapers and magazines will depict a crime taking place. The crime, most likely a burglary, will attract all members of the community because it is a crime that everyone can fall prey to. The ads will highlight the importance of having a well-funded police department and create a county-wide concern for the safety of its citizens. MDPD officers and other county employees will participate in the bi-weekly community activities where residents can learn more about the dangers of not having enough officers on the road, as well as what the daily life of an officer entails. Over time, more and more members of the community will attend the interactive meet-and-greets, will respond positively to the ads, and will encourage their friends to participate in the bi-weekly activities.
Campaign Strategies This campaign will emphasize security and protection, two aspects of an active, positive society. By focusing on informing citizens that their personal safety is being jeopardized, they will quickly realize that lower taxes mean fewer police officers, which means more crime. The crimes depicted in the advertisements will create a sense of impending chaos in the community, and the seriousness of the message will incline citizens who view the ad to visit the website. The website will include videos of high-ranking officers discussing their views on the new budget, as well as their forecasts for the crime rates in Dade County. The speakersâ€™ tones will be serious and will show extreme concern for the future of not only the police department but the living environment all residents share. The website will also include crime-rate statistics and statements from victims who have already begun to see the declining abilities of the police department. This will bring anxiety to the website visitors, who will in turn spread their knowledge and sign the petition on the site. Sharing the website and its petition on various social-media sites will also help spread the word that the budget cuts cause serious repercussions for residents. There will also be a schedule of events where citizens can attend and show support for
their police department. These meet-and-greets will create an emotional bond between residents and officers, since they will have stories and faces to put to the police department. CAMPAIGN RESULTS The fear of losing safety will motivate residents to investigate the issue. Seeing a crime depicted that they could be a victim of will grab their attention and add shock value. With an uneasy feeling residents will visit the website and realize that a strong police force is necessary in a constantly-growing community with high-crime rates. The word will spread throughout the county as residents begin to feel unsafe. Newscasts and documentaries will begin to be aired as residents grow wary of the approaching budget plans and elections. Citizens will begin to share the information and will grow a deeper understanding of police work. Through the bond created at the meet-and-greets, residents will begin to advocate the importance of police officers and demand that Mayor Gimenez modify his current budget to suit the needs of the citizens and the police officers. If the mayor doesn’t show support for the police department or take heed of the needs of the residents, they will most assuredly vote him out of office.
TIMELINE Steps An initial 3-week period of research is necessary before the campaign launch. During this time, residents will participate in questionnaires in order to determine the awareness of the budget cuts made to the MDPD. Police officers will also be interviewed and participate in questionnaires so that the affects and employee morale can be determined. The information is essential to the secondary research that will be conducted by performing internet and official document research. An additional 3 weeks will be required to design valuable print and billboard ads that will grasp viewer attention. The graphics will be alarming and relatable to each and every resident of Miami-Dade County. This emotional reaction will inspire members of the county to share the information they’ve found and will quickly create a public concern for the future of the Miami-Dade Police Department.
Campaign Length The campaign will run for 6 months to a year. The ads will run continuously throughout the campaign, as well as the petition. The police community activities will occur twice a month during the campaign at various locations throughout the county. During the
campaign, the locations of advertisements will increase. This will portray the importance of this issue to the community. The more ads are seen by members of the community, the more inclined they’ll be to discuss and attempt to resolve the issue. During election time, more print and billboard ads will be released, with the intention of frightening the mayor of losing his supporters. Hopefully, Mayor Gimenez will be inclined to respond positively toward the needs of his residents and change his budget plan. This campaign will encourage the mayor to return the previous funding to the police department at the request of the community.
CONCLUSION Why this issue is Important The longer these budget cuts continue without rebuttal from the community, the faster crime rates and response times will increase; the mayor will continue to remove funding from the police department because of the lack of awareness in the county. Police officers will feel disregarded and their work ethics and determination will diminish. When residents realize the jeopardy of their safety, they will feel enthused to contribute their efforts to the police department. WHO WILL BENEFIT Everyone in Miami-Dade County will be happier. Residents will feel they have attributed to their own safety and will have a new understanding of the police department and its contributions to the city. Officers will once again feel appreciated and supported. With hope, the mayor will feel as though he’s actually attended to the public and their need for safety in a city filled with so much crime. With the funding from your organization, this campaign will create a consciousness never-before-seen in Miami-Dade County. You can help the residents feel more involved in their community and change the public’s view of police officers in Miami-Dade. Your support will help decrease crime rates and remind criminals that the MDPD is hot on their tails, and so is the community. Lawbreakers will be discouraged to commit crimes thanks to your contributions.
WARNING SIGN (HINT FICTION) PUBLISHED IN BARRY UNIVERSITY’S WHAT OFT WAS THOUGHT JOURNAL
“Why don’t you play some video games, Nick?” “I don’t wanna.” “Why, baby?” “I wanna watch you put on makeup. Can I put some on, too?”
BUS OF SHAME (COMMENTARY PIECE) In Miami, we don’t do public transportation. It’s just not part of our composition. It’s an aberration. It’s social suicide. We all complain when we’re blocked by a stopping bus, the shadow of the block-like vehicle hovering upon us like a thunderous cloud, and we ask ourselves the same thing every time we see a bus in Dade County: “who actually rides those things?” But the most prevalent question is, why do we feel this way about public transit? Why do we see bus-goers hiding behind a newspaper or a pair of imposter shades when they’re at the stop? What’s the stigma? Why are the buses empty? If you’re a Miami-native, you know that living under the merciless sun is worse than being a noodle in a soup bowl. It’s hot down here, and it’s not amusing. We run from our parked cars into the air-conditioned bliss of our destination, never thinking twice about what a blessing cooling systems are. We want to escape the heat, and we can’t do that at a bus stop. If professionals actually committed themselves to waiting for a bus during rush hour, they’d be disheveled and drenched in sweat by the time they arrived at work. They’d probably be late, too, since the buses in Miami never arrive at the scheduled time or don’t pass by often enough. This makes going anywhere on public transit take twice as long as any car ride. Oh, and there are always the psychopaths to worry about, too. Crazy people live everywhere; Miami is no exception. They won’t always be at the mall or at Publix, but you’ll find them riding the public transit system. Sometimes they’re seen napping on the bench at the stop, tongue hanging over their bottom lip. It’s a turn-off for those of us who briefly consider using the transit system. When we see those senseless souls hoping with all their hearts that the bus will grace them with its presence, that same feeling we have when we see panhandlers on the highway exit is conjured up: we just don’t want to be bothered. We’re all about our cars down here. Every gas station offers quick and affordable cleaning, parking is usually abundant, and every year more and more lanes are added to our highways. A car is part of our image; it defines us. If you don’t have a car, you’re a loser. If you opt for public transportation, you’re a poor loser. There’s no humility in South Florida. Even those who use public transportation are ashamed to admit to it. Because our cars represent our position in life, taking public transportation would destroy anything we’ve worked to conceal behind it: our financial status, our date-ability, and our ugliness. Yes, we’re all ugly down here in Miami. We’re vain, we don’t let others cut us off without a fight, and we scream at each other when we screw up. We’re all heirs to the city; but with the power spread this thin, all we’re really doing is hiding behind a veil of affluence. So where did this notion of Miami’s glamorous setting sprout? Go back to 1998’s hit, “Miami,” by Will Smith and take a look at how he tells us, “hundred thousand dollar cars, everybody’s got ‘em.” The song epitomizes the idea that Miami is solely for the wealthy, and that anything west of I-95 is basically non-existent. Naturally, you’ll find the city’s more prosperous citizens near the beach, Brickell, or the Gables; but most of them are from other cities. The misconception that to be from Miami is to be riche, fabulous, and worldly has caused such confusion amongst Miami-natives that we’re ashamed to admit we aren’t these things. This is why we see so many BMWs and Audis on our drive home from
work; only they’re not going home to the Gables. They’re going home to the suburbs: the small municipalities that aren’t really Miami. Sure, they have the newest iPhone, drive semi-new models of luxury cars, and spend their paychecks at trendy bars and restaurants; but they go home to a studio-efficiency where rent is only $600 a month – utilities included. Unless the County can install air-conditioned bus stops, create new and faster routes, and make public transit seem glamorous, we aren’t going to be riding the bus in the near future. It seems that even those who have suspended driver’s licenses would rather risk getting behind the wheel before considering public transportation, as hundreds of thousands are caught driving each year while knowing their license is suspended. People in places like New York and Paris may proudly take public transportation without a second thought; but in Miami, we’re too opulent for the bus.
Click the buttons below to reach my personal blog, a gardening blog created for a multimedia composition course, and my professional blog that contains even more professional writing samples
LETTER OF COMPLETION
BY NANCY BOYLE, EDITOR AND WEB DESIGNER FOR SFAS
Alicia has been an intern with South Florida Audubon Society for the past 12 weeks, from late January to April, 2014. She completed her Bachelor's Degree and was accepted into NYU for her Master's Degree during her time with us. 'We welcomed her with open arms and lots of work. SFAS is a small organization run by unpaid volunteers. Our website was, and still is in need of massive revamping, and is the result of of a lack of overall planning and follow-through by a series of amateur web designers with differing visions for the site. Alicia has made some wonderful contributions to our organization, and we have enjoyed her fresh and open outlook. We wish her the best for her future. Following is a short bio Alicia has composed about herself.
Hopefully, this portfolio has demonstrated my skills and aptitude for professional writing. I have been educated extensively while at Barry University and put that education to use during my time with the South Florida Audubon. I hope to begin the next phase of my life successfully and will always look back with gratitude at the people who have guided me along my journey. My time at Barry University has prepared me for a successful career as a writer and a creator. I look forward to using my lifelong passion for writing for the rest of my life. My next step will be to earn my master’s degree in Fundraising and Grantmaking at New York University and begin my career in the development sector of the non-profit industry. I plan to dedicate my time to writing grants and raising awareness for various causes, especially education. The South Florida Audubon was a wonderful place to begin my non-profit experience. My writing skills were put to good use, but I also learned how to work creatively with others who shared the same goals. This internship reassured my desire to work in development, and I feel lucky to graduate while knowing that I am making the right career choices. It has been a wonderful experience to be a part of Barry University’s Professional Writing program and I know that I made the right decision to apply two and a half years ago when I was searching for the right university. With any luck, the realization of that choice is evident in this portfolio.