An Unforgettable Summer

Written by Mai Shoua Lee
    Thursday, 23 August 2018
An Unforgettable Summer

As my summer internship comes to an end, I begin to reflect upon the impacts and memories made during my time at Urban Ecology Center. I remembered when I first received a call from Anna, the Marketing Manager about an in-person interview. My interest in photography went perfectly with the job duties. The interview quickly approached and I was nervous but, at the same time, confident about the interview and getting the summer internship. Two weeks later, I received the big news- I was hired! I was beyond thankful and super excited to learn, make memories and gain more skills over the summer. 

Summer approached and it was already the first day of my internship. I was standing in front of the UEC building with a backpack on and felt as if it was the first day of school. Silly to think that I still get nervous meeting new people, but everyone was so open and friendly to one another that it made me comfortable spending the rest of my summer with the UEC family.
During the first two weeks all the interns spend a lot of time getting to know each other and learning about the mission of Urban Ecology Center. I made some good friends during this time. There were so many activities for all the interns to learn and do before we were sent off to our individual teams. One of the highlights was a hike we went on with Tim Vargo, Manager of Research and Community Science. I learned a lot about Riverside Park that day.

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Tim Vargo telling a story to interns while on a hike at Riverside Park. Photo: Mai Shoua Lee

Once- all the training and icebreakers were over, I began my first official day with the marketing team. They welcomed me with a lunch at Thai Kitchen down the road from Riverside Park, and we talked with one another about our interest and goals in life. There was a point where I spoke with Markie- who is a Graphic Designer staff at UEC about her career path. She mentioned how she always loved designing and traveling. I was really inspired by Markie’s ability to pursue her passion for traveling while following her career goals.

Throughout the summer, I had the chance to photograph many amazing things happening at the Urban Ecology Center. For example, I went on a few Research and Community Science surveys and programs over the summer and learned a lot about different species in the parks. I even got to hear some great stories from the Research and Community Science department, which added value to my experience there. Another highlight of my summer was taking photos of kids that attended summer camp. Being able to capture moments where kids are smiling, enjoying camp and being amazed by wildlife is something I feel is important and beautiful to document. The joy and curiosity that all kids bring to summer camp here are what makes a picture perfect.

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Summer Camp 2018 (Camper holding a butterfly in clear container.) Photo: Mai Shoua Lee 

My time at Urban Ecology Center will be unforgettable because I’ve challenged myself, made new memories, and built upon my creative skills. Being behind the camera gave me the opportunity to learn and expand my knowledge about certain things I may or may not have known before and that is what made my internship the most rewarding experience.

Mai Shoua Lee

Mai Shoua Lee

Mai Shoua Lee grew up in Sheboygan, Wisconsin where she spent most of her time at the beach and gardening with her parents. After graduating from high school, she moved to Milwaukee and attended college at Mount Mary University and studied Graphic Design. On her free time she enjoys drawing, cooking and watching Youtube videos.


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