Meet the Interns: Oh hey, Selena!

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Each semester, WEA works with a cohort of excited and dedicated interns who join us to support our staff and the women we partner with in deeply impactful ways. They help us tell the story of our work, uplift the women leaders we work with around the world, engage with our supporters, bring their perspectives and energy to our office and operations, and so much more. We’re always so honored to have their touch strengthening the core of WEA’s work, and to be able to invest in their leadership as they continue to create change in the world.

This semester, one of the incredible young women we get to work with is Selena Neptune-Bear, a junior at Dartmouth College from the Penobscot Indian Reservation. Selena brings so much skill, integrity and dedication to her work and the things she’s passionate about (and she also has great taste in music). It’s such a privilege to have her on the team!

Name: Selena Neptune-Bear
Hometown: Indian Island, Maine

If you had a superpower, it would be (and why):
If I had a superpower, I would want the ability to speak every language. I love traveling and learning about other cultures, along with sharing my own. I think I would be able to meet so many interesting people and learn so much.

Why did you want to intern with WEA?
I am a Native American and Women and Gender Studies major, hoping to pursue an independent research study on the epidemic of violence against Indigenous women. And so, I first heard about the Women’s Earth Alliance through their Violence on the Land, Violence on our Bodies report and toolkit. I was doing a research paper for my Native American law and literature class and used the report, in large, to shape my argument. The connections drawn in this project were ingenious and I just fell in love with it.

Tell us about a woman who inspires you.
My biggest inspiration, right now, has to be congresswoman Sharice Davids. Davids, a Ho-Chunk tribal member became one of the first native American women elected to congress with New Mexico’s Deb Haaland, during this past election. She is also the first LGBT person to represent Kansas. However, it is her confident and unapologetic attitude that inspires me. Davids is not only intelligent but versatile. She is an activist, lawyer, former women’s MMA fighter, and stands up for human equality. Her drive to make it to congress, and be among the first to provide representation for native women, is something that gives me hope.

Why women and why the environment?
As a Penobscot woman, the environment is very much tied to my identity, shaping ceremonies, my tribe’s creation story, and providing my people with sustenance. And so, my culture places great importance on the environment and our role as caregivers and protectors. Additionally, I come from a matrilineal society, and so, the value and power of women has been instilled in me from a young age. To find an environmental organization that places the power of leadership in the hands of women was like coming home.

What does your life outside WEA look like?
As a full-time student, my life outside of WEA can be fairly chaotic. At Dartmouth, I am involved in our Native American Program, a member of our Movement Against Violence organization, along with Inclusivity and Diversity Chair of my sorority, Alpha Phi. I work with America Reads, traveling to nearby third grade classrooms to read and spend time with them. In my spare time, I enjoy spending time with my family and friends, being outdoors, or beading earrings.

What’s your favorite thing to do in the Bay Area?
I am new to the area. But I love visiting the Marina, and being by the ocean, along with reading in the Botanical Gardens near Golden Gate Park. I have been exploring and trying to take in as much as I can. However, I am from Maine, where the temperature is in the negatives this time of the year. And so, I think my favorite thing is not having to spend an hour brushing snow off my car and hoping I don’t freeze in the process.

What are you currently reading / watching / listening to?
I am currently reading The Hate You Give, a book written by Angie Thomas. It is about a sixteen-year-old girl and her life “between two worlds.” It addresses issues of racism and police violence with intelligence, and is so captivating. I love a wide range of music. I currently made a playlist for a skiing trip that I haven’t stopped listening to, that includes artists, like Carlos Santana, Redbone, Shaggy, J. Cole, Slightly Stoopid, and The Allman Brothers Band.

Meet the interns: Hi, Monzerrat!

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Wondering who is working behind the scenes to support our programs and operations this fall? Meet Monzerrat! Monzerrat is a passionate young leader with a soft-spoken way about her, who has readily jumped in to optimize our systems and support our growth and international projects. We are so lucky to have her on our team this semester and can’t wait to see the far-reaching impact she has for WEA women and the environment!

 

Name: Monzerrat Loza
Hometown: La Quinta, CA

If you had a superpower, it would be:
I would want to have the ability to communicate with animals! If I were ever in a situation with a “dangerous” animal I could speak to it and know how it is feeling.

Why did you want to intern/volunteer with WEA?
I wanted to work with an organization that does empowering environmental work and on top of that works to empower women on a international level. I have found many times that organizations emphasize feeling a specific environmental problem or a social justice one, but WEA explores the intersections of both and I find that exciting and motivating.

Tell us about a woman or women-led movement that who inspires you.
The biggest inspiration throughout my entire life has always been my mom. She is the strongest person I know. She left everything behind in Mexico, learned a new language, took side-jobs as a house cleaner, and supported myself and my three sisters all on her own. She is the person I aspire to be like.

Why women and why the environment?
First and foremost, we are nothing without a clean, healthy environment and this directly intersects with women’s health. Women face a greater biological burden from the impacts that arise from climate change and substances humans put out into the environment.

What does your life outside WEA look like?
I just recently graduated from UC Berkeley and I am trying to figure out what I want to do with my life post-graduation. I enjoy warm weather and those are the days I like to take walks and find a park to sit at and read.

What’s your favorite thing to do in the Bay Area?
My favorite thing to do in the Bay is to explore good food spots with my friends once in a while, or to visit Dolores Park.

What are you currently reading / watching / listening to?
I am slowly but surely making my way through Isabel Allende’s The House of the Spirits. I find that I really enjoy Latino writers that dabble in magical realism and this is a great example of this genre. I am also currently watching the fourth season of X Files.

Meet the Interns: Hey, Alana!

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One of the best parts of doing what we do is meeting and working with the next generation of change-makers committed to a healthy and thriving Earth through our internship program. We’re honored to have had a chance to work with Alana this fall. Keep an eye out for her — she’s poised have a beautiful and lasting impact for women and our communities!

Name: Alana Young
Hometown: San Mateo, CA
 
If you had a superpower, it would be (and why): 
I would love to be able to fly so I can travel all over the world (and avoid Bay Area traffic!)
 
Why did you want to intern/volunteer with WEA?
I am passionate about environmental issues, global health, and women’s empowerment, and I think these issues are all deeply connected, so interning with WEA seemed like the perfect way to integrate all of my values into impactful work.
 
Tell us about a woman or women-led movement that who inspires you. 
I am extremely inspired by my grandmother. She grew up during a time when women were discouraged from going to school, but she still went to college and fiercely encouraged my sister and I to pursue our education and passions because she knew that education is vital for improving one’s life.
 
Why women and why the environment?
I profoundly agree with the way WEA frames this issue: when women thrive, the earth thrives. The environment and women are uniquely linked in that they are both beautiful sources of nourishment and life, yet they are often taken for granted and abused. If we can reverse our extractivist mentality about both women and the environment, I think we can mend past harms born of ignorance, selfishness, and inequality to ensure that women and the earth thrive far into the future.
 
What does your life outside WEA look like?
My life outside of WEA includes a lot of reading in bed with my dog, exploring San Francisco on weekends, taking care of my plants, and spending as much time as I can outside hiking and camping.
 
What’s your favorite thing to do in the Bay Area?
I love to explore the diverse art and culture that the Bay Area has to offer. You can usually find me on some form of public transportation trying to get to a museum, concert, restaurant, or art fair.
 
What are you currently reading / watching / listening to?
I am currently reading The Immortal Life of Henrietta Lacks (which is extremely important for anyone who has ever benefited from modern medical advancements to read so they can understand the deep intersections and inequalities involved with race, gender, education, class, and health) and a trilogy by Philip Pullman. For comic relief I have been watching Broad City and The Good Place. I am listening to Shakey Graves, Kendrick Lamar, and several podcasts including Nancy, Ear Hustle, and The Moth (all highly recommended!!).

Meet The Interns: Hi, Arianna!

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Wondering who’s helping to keep the magic behind our social media going this summer? Please help us welcome Arianna to our WEA intern team! She a senior at the University of San Francisco, and will be using her passion for writing and social change to support our communications and the women environmental leaders we work with around the world.

Get to know Arianna better below!

Name: Arianna Casabonne

Hometown: Brentwood, California

If you had a super power what would it be (and why)? If I could have one superpower it would be to teleport. Partially because I would love to be able to easily travel the world, but also because it would be so convenient to be able to show up where ever I need to be immediately. I would never have to commute or ride the bus!

Why did you want to intern with WEA? I really wanted to intern with an organization that was doing work that I could identify with on a more personal level, and WEA is just that! The current state of the environment and where we’re heading makes it absolutely urgent that we take care of our planet. Also, for as long as I can remember I’ve always felt passionate about women’s rights and leadership. WEA’s mission is a great fit for what I’m interested in and what I want to work towards.

Tell us about a woman who inspires you. My mom, of course! She works extremely hard and handles everything and everyone around her with patience, love, and kindness. I aspire to be a woman like her who is dedicated and hardworking but also kind and empathetic to people and the environment.

Why women and the environment? Women are disproportionately affected by environmental catastrophes. When girls have to give up on their education and future careers to help their families as a result of environmental difficulties, an inequality that already exists is deepened.

What does life outside of WEA look like? I love spending time writing, drawing, listening to music, and working on crafty projects. I attend a lot of music festivals and love trying new things with my friends. I just moved back from a 5 month stay in France so I’m working on growing my plant collection again.

What’s you favorite thing to do in the bay area? There is so many it’s impossible to choose! I live in San Francisco so of course I love Dolores park, Golden Gate park, and Off The Gird. I’m always looking out for artists I love playing at small venues in the city.

What are you currently reading / watching / listening to? The Gorrilaz just came out with a new album so I’ve been listening to that a lot, but I love so much music It’s impossible to name it all. Right now, I’m reading Joan Didion’s Slouching Towards Bethlehem. Every summer I watch a show called Big Brother with my friends and my mom. Although I don’t love reality TV, we get really into this show and schedule times to watch it together.

Meet the Interns: Hey, Sadie!

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WEA is ecstatic to introduce you to one of our newest interns, Sadie! Her passion and devotion to protecting women and the environment makes her a perfect addition to our Programs + Operations Team. Sadie will be bringing her incredible skill set and warm spirit to our team for the rest of summer, and we’re so honored!

Help us welcome Sadie and read more about her below!

Name: Sadie Gray

Hometown: pacific palisades, CA

If you had a super power what would it be (and why)? I wish I had the ability to teleport because being able to travel anywhere on the planet in an instant would be a dream come true!

Why did you want to intern with WEA? As a Global Studies major with a concentration in Development, I’ve spent time studying how international development can often be more destructive than beneficial. Many development projects go wrong or go nowhere because organizations do not work on local levels, overlooking communication with those they are trying to help. WEA stood out to me because it is different in this sense, WEA’s philosophy embraces empowerment and education of women in local communities where things like climate change and contaminated water are effecting their daily lives. I’ve always been passionate about working to protect the environment, but felt as though there was so little I could actually do to effect change. Once I came across WEA, my view changed because I realized I could be involved in an organization that creates tangible change with all the right people in all the right places.

Tell us about a woman who inspires you. I’ve long been inspired by the career of Maria Shriver. She’s been a champion of women from all walks of life. During her time as first lady of California, she created The Women’s Conference which donated millions to women’s charities. Her work covers so many different bases, from investing in female entrepreneurs, to providing health care – she has always has women’s rights and empowerment as the foundation of her career.

Why women and why the environment? women have time and time again proven that they are are resilient and eager to deal with issues facing the  environment, despite being unprivileged in access to resources, education, and information. Women often face the burden of being the sole farmer and water provider for their families, but as climate change challenges normalcy of their daily routine, young girls are dropping out of school to help their mothers. This only perpetuates the inequality gap we see between men and women. That’s why its so important that we make an effort to work for and with the communities of women who are willing to improve the future of the environment.

What does life outside of WEA look like? I am a student at UC Berkeley, but when I am not occupied with schoolwork I love spending time outdoors and being active. Spending time with friends & family, cooking and drawing are my favorite ways to unwind!

What’s your favorite thing to do in the bay area? My favorite thing in the bay is hiking up the Clark Kerr fire trails at sunset, the view from the top is amazing and the hike is short but steep!

What are you currently reading / watching / listening to? I am currently trying to learn Spanish so I am re-watching Grace & Frankie on Netflix, but this time in Spanish! I’m reading Sharp Objects by Gillian Flynn and loving listening to Leon Bridges and Jacob Banks.