Supported by funds from Centre College’s Henry Luce Foundation Grant, Emma Jackson ’18 is working as a photographer and social media summer intern at Conserve Natural Forests (CNF) in Thailand.
CNF is a nongovernmental organization that aims to protect Thailand’s endangered species and forests.
Jackson has greatly enjoyed her internship so far, as each day has something new in store for her.
“Some days I am photographing the elephants interacting with their natural environment and the visitors, others I am learning about the hundred-plus different plant species in our demonstration forest,” Jackson said. “Every day I am working with my hands and seeing the impact that this small organization is making, and that fuels my passion.”
Leading up to her time in Thailand, Jackson explained how Centre prepared her well for the internship, offering the opportunity to take an immersive class in Thai language and culture last summer. As part of the Luce Grant, Centre launched the Summer Language Institute last year to offer students language courses in Malay, Thai and Chinese.
“We also spent a great deal of time talking about how Thai culture and the environment intertwine, information that I use every day in a part of the world where development often trumps conservation,” she added.
While Jackson has worked as an intern during previous summers, she describes working for a small organization like CNF as incredibly rewarding. She finds kindred spirits in staff members who are all deeply driven and passionate about the organization’s cause.
Jackson also says she enjoys the opportunity to practice her photography skills and to add to her portfolio. She aspires to bring what she learns back to her photography business, EKJ Photography.
By the end of her time in Thailand, Jackson hopes to become a better global citizen with a greater knowledge about the functioning of nongovernmental organizations in Southeast Asia. Additionally, as an international studies major, her goal is to build her understanding of the interactions between development, conservation and the environment.
After graduating next year, Jackson plans to continue doing nonprofit work and taking photos.
“I want to continue to tell stories and promote organizations that are changing the world for the better,” she concluded.
by Kathleen Murphy ’18
July 12, 2017