Skip to Content

Yonkers Students Intern at CURB as part of the 2023 Blue Team

by Blue Team Mentor Maykaela Ortilla

SLC CURB’s Blue Team is back for the Summer of 2023! The CURB Blue Team is a 6-week paid internship opportunity offered to ten Yonkers Public Schools students who have previously participated in our week-long Winter Water Academy and two mentors who participated in Blue Team the previous year. The students are conducting research on river pollution issues, exploring different scientific lab processes, discussing environmental justice, and planning a community event scheduled for Saturday, August 5th.

One of our mentors, Maykaela, interviewed 3 interns from the Blue Team. She has spoken with Theresa and Khadija from Cohort B as well as Leila from Cohort A.

Maykaela first questioned: what encouraged you to apply to the Blue Team? All of them highly valued their time spent at the Winter Water Academy. At the Winter Water Academy, they were first introduced to environmental science and environmental justice. They found these two subjects truly fascinating and found that CURB’s Blue Team can help them explore these two subjects. They also believe that the Blue Team can aid them in their future career paths.

Maykaela then asked the second question: what are some of the things you have learned as a member of the Blue Team? They discussed how they learned how to fish using a seine net, identify the different fish species living in the Hudson River, collect and process water samples, understand the significance of enterococcus, and the significance of environmental justice.

The third question Maykaela asked was: what are you most excited about as a member of the Blue Team? The interns discussed how they were excited to view all of the enterococcus results at the end of the internship and how they are exhilarated for our Outreach Day on Saturday, August 5th. They are excited to share our results with the Yonkers Community and to teach the public about environmental justice!

Maykaela then asked the final question: what are some of your goals as a member of the Blue Team? Each individual outlined different goals for themselves. Leila aims to use their Blue Team experience to aid them in their personal research and to learn how to communicate scientific data to both scientists and less STEM-oriented people. Theresa aims to learn as much as she can about environmental justice so that she can be a part of the solution. She wants to help other people understand and be aware of what’s going on in their surrounding environment. Khadija’s main goal is to educate herself on environmental issues and justice, research interesting and helpful data, and learn how to work in a professional space with others because she believes it is great practice for future experiences.

Ultimately, these interns are gaining many different skills as members of the Blue Team. They are able to experience collecting and processing water samples, handling aquatic animals, working with others, learning about environmental justice, and much more. These interns have only experienced Blue Team for a short amount of time, but have learned skills and concepts that they will utilize throughout their lives. The water quality data Blue Team is collecting will impact lives within their community and beyond, emphasizing the importance of their hard work.