Amanda Niles is an intern at Malama Kauai. She is a masters student from the University of Montana who is seeking a degree in Environmental Studies. She helped support the 2019ʻs Kauai Volunteer Week and was involved in many hand-on projects throughout the year.
Q: What did you hope to learn/gain during your intern with Malama Kauai? Did you indeed learn/gain those things?
A: From my time spent as an intern with Malama Kauai I was hoping to learn and gain an increase in my knowledge of environmental justice issues taking place in Hawaii and community-based resistance to environmental exploitation through sustainable solutions which improve upon the health and wellbeing of the land, community and Hawaiian culture. Professional development skills associated with the organizational operations of environmentally focused community-based nonprofit including gaining hands-on experience in environmentally and culturally sustainable agriculture practices, community outreach and education, and environmentally and culturally respectful marketing strategies. Professional connections through involved networking with members of the Hawaiian community who share in my interest of the protecting and preserving Hawaii’s natural and cultural resources from environmental exploitation. I was able to meet all of my learning objectives in one degree or another.
Q: What was your favorite part as an intern?
A: My favorite aspect as an intern was meeting and working with so many amazing and passionate people dedicated to preserving Kauai’s land and culture.
Q: What were you most excited about accomplishing as an intern?
A: I was most excited about gaining hands-on experience working with the land, culture, and people for which I have dedicated so much of my time and energy during graduate school.
Q: What did you enjoy most about being on Kaua`i?
A: I enjoyed the natural beauty and kindness of the people most being on Kauai.
Q: What surprised you most about living on Kaua`i?
A: Many things surprised me but the geographical and social division between different communities was one of the most surprising.
Q: What type of professional skills did you gain through your internship?
A: I believe that through meeting all of my learning objectives I was able to gain many professional skills but specific knowledge and skills associated with the organizational operations of environmentally focused community-based nonprofit which I will continue to build upon.
Q: How do you feel this internship helped with your future career and life goals?
A: The experience of being on Kauai and working hands-on with the community has been unbelievably valuable. I believe my experiences and the connections I have made will help aid me in my future goals and hopefully future opportunities working on sustainability issues in Hawaii.
Q: If you had advice for a future MK intern, what would it be?
A: I would advise renting a place on the Northshore and having your own transportation is a must!