Volunteer of the Year

Summer internships have a positive impact on Wheaton students, helping them to develop key career skills, build their professional networks and learn more about how businesses and nonprofits operate.

But the students also leave a mark on the places they work.

Rowan Lowell ’17, an English major from Woburn, Mass., recently received high honors for work conducted this past summer as an intern with the North and South Rivers Watershed Association (NSRWA), based in Norwell, Mass. Lowell was named the association’s Volunteer of the Year at their annual meeting on November 4.

“Rowan was an outstanding volunteer,” said Gabriela Silva, NSRWA director of development and community engagement. “Rowan was reliable, motivated and knowledgeable, with a great ‘can-do’ attitude, was always eager to participate in projects, demonstrated strong leadership when working with others, and provided excellent support to our organization in our scientific, database management, development, community engagement, educational and outreach programs and events.”

Lowell, who is pursuing minors in environmental studies as well as medieval and renaissance studies, assisted the organization with a variety of tasks during the internship, including updating members in their database, event planning, conducting invasive species surveys and analyzing water usage among local businesses.

“This internship was very different from any work I had done before, in the more scientific aspect and the significant amount of work entailed in events and recurring programs,” Lowell said. “More than a few times, I ended up barefoot and ankle-deep in marsh or incoming ocean tides to conduct species surveys. Although this job required a lot of time and energy, between the ordinary and the not-so-ordinary tasks, it was a novel opportunity that I will not soon forget.”

Among the lessons Lowell learned through the experience was the effort it takes to pull off a major event.

“The NSRWA hosts an annual Great River Race in which dozens of people take to the North River with kayaks, canoes and various types of rowboats to compete for the best time on this seven-mile course. This year was their 26th year holding the event, and I cannot begin to tell you how many hours of meetings, brainstorming, and organization goes into pulling this event off,” Lowell said.

The Wheaton senior was able to do this internship thanks in part to a Wheaton Fellowship.