Fairfield U student is semi-finalist for ‘Best Internship on Earth’

This hawk is an example of one of Tebben Lopez's wildlife photos.

Happy Earth Day!

What better way to celebrate than with a paperless story about a local college student who just got one step closer to winning “The Best Internship on Earth” — a chance to spend her summer sharing her love of the outdoors with children around the country for the Sierra Club, a national grassroots environmental organization based on the west coast.

“I’m a member of the Sierra Club, so I get different newsletters from there, and I saw this internship advertised and it was just perfect,” said Tebben Lopez, 19, a first-year student at Fairfield University. Lopez is a journalism major, who focuses on photography. “It’s the culmination of everything I’m interested in and everything I want to do. It just seemed like an amazing opportunity, and I didn’t see any downside to trying.”

Check out her video application:

Lopez graduated from Shelton High School in 2009, before taking a gap year to volunteer with children in Ecuador.

“It’s funny how this works out, because I kind of really developed this very strong passion to work with kids, and to help them while I was in Ecuador,” she said Thursday. “I kind of did a pre-school, beginners’ school to get kids used to the idea of going to school and getting an education, and it just really endeared me to kids.”

If she beats out the other 24 semi-finalist to land the internship, Lopez would win the opportunity to work with kids on a daily basis this summer, while exploring the outdoors.

“Basically what happens in the program, is that I pack up and go over to the Sierra headquarters in San Fransisco, and from there, I go across the country doing different outdoor programs with the youth,” she said. “So basically I would be getting to go out and see kids and have an amazing time — experience rafting, hiking, nature walks, things like that — and I would be posting a video blog pretty routinely, and definitely taking a lot of photos.”

Yeah. It sounds like a dream, but the whole point of internships is to hone your skills for your professional life down the road, right?

“My dream is to work for National Geographic,” the budding photojournalist said. “So they’re similar organizations, about growing consciousness, and just being able to develop the photography and the video skills at the internship would be a great help for me.”

There are two rounds left, but Lopez said she suspects she should know her fate pretty soon.

“The internship does start in June,” she said.

Maggie Gordon