My name is Mary Noyes and I am a Biology major. It is the summer before my junior year, and I have received the Whitman Internship Grant to work at a small seaweed company in Maine called Ocean’s Balance. Ocean’s Balance is a relatively new startup with three highly qualified founders, who are dedicated to helping improve the global food model. They are driven by their commitment to Maine industry, the environment, and great food.
If my internship at Ocean’s Balance has taught me anything, it is that there is no such thing as a “typical day” at a startup. At Ocean’s Balance everyone wears multiple hats. The three founders do everything from, kelp farming and harvesting, to product development and processing, to marketing and sales. Not only are they creating new products to bring to market, in a way they are creating the market as well… In my time there so far, I have fallen in to many different roles, primarily in marketing and production. My schedule is fluid, and I work whenever work needs to be done. Initially, I was shocked by the projects and how much responsibility I was given a new intern, however, as I began to realize how much they each carried on their plate, their delegation began to make sense.
I have spent many days in an old mill space processing and packaging the kelp so it is shelf ready, learning to use a heat sealer and apply labels while listening to podcasts. I have traveled across New England to do tastings of the various seaweed products in grocery stores, putting on a navy blue apron and a big smile, trying to get people to try Kelp Fudge.
I have filmed and edited promotional and informational material, creating and organizing content that can be used after I go back to school.
Today, I am in a coffee shop doing research for an upcoming pitch contest we’ve been selected to be a part of called Green Light Maine. I am researching the consumption and market value of Seaweed, and how it has changed over the past ten years.
There is no “typical day” for me to share on this blog. All I know is that every Tuesday when I walk into my Supervisor’s office, there will be something new for me to learn and then tackle simultaneously. It’s this “learn as you go” environment that has made my time at Ocean’s Balance so rewarding. I feel as though I am creating an entire catalog of skills I would have never gained in a traditional learning environment. Furthermore, I feel good about the work I am doing. It is bringing sustainable business to the state that I grew up in, and striving to improve that way people eat globally.
Experiences like Mary’s are made possible by the Whitman Internship Grant, which provides funding for students to participate in unpaid internships at both for-profit and non-profit organizations. To learn how you could secure a Whitman Internship Grant or host a Whitman intern at your organization, click here or contact Assistant Director for Internship Programs Victoria Wolff