History major and Spanish minor Colleen Coyle ’19 (Logan, Utah) is interning this summer for the Foundation for Sustainability and Peacemaking in Mesoamérica. She was assigned to a project in San Blas, El Salvador, working with The Association for the Preservation of Sea Turtles.
“My primary duties have been to coordinate their social media and assist their staff within the small marine life museum they have built here, which means helping translate for American tourists,” Coyle explained. “I also help with the liberation of baby turtles here on the beach.”
Coyle said the organization has a small corral where eggs are placed after being collected from mother turtles, who lay their eggs on the beach late at night, and they are collected to prevent them from being poached and sold as delicacies.
“We have hatchings, and then the community comes and helps to set the baby turtles free into the ocean,” she explained. “One of the things that makes the organization unique is that this is completely community-based, and so everything that happens here is to enhance community relations, both of the human kind and the community of animals that exist here.”
Coyle said she was interested in this internship because she believes in their mission. She also feels that if she wants to study the history of a foreign country, it’s important not just to learn about what happened but to know its people and learn from hands-on experience.
“This internship has given me a chance to learn about the communities here and learn about how the history of this country has affected them in their own words, as well as how they are working to improve their communities through their actions,” she added. “This has become my passion, to know history through living rather than only through studying.”
Coyle’s summer internship has helped develop her passion for history and helping others.
“This experience has opened my mind to possibilities and ideas that I had never considered, fundamentally changing me for the better,” she concluded. “I have loved this internship, and I will never forget the time I spent here or the people I have met.”
by Kerry Steinhofer
August 17, 2018