Our Fabulous Summer Interns!

Posted on Jun 16, 2016

Summer hasn’t even officially started and we already know our Summer 2016 Interns are going to do amazing work! Read below about their unique experiences and what they will be working on this summer.


Jennifer Leech

Friends of Casco Bay,

Photo by Kevin Morris

Jennifer Leech is our first legal intern, or properly speaking, extern, as she is dividing her summer between taking courses at Vermont Law School and working as a legal research assistant to our Casco Baykeeper Ivy Frignoca. Jenny has been looking into Maine laws pertaining to aquaculture operations on tidal flats and investigating options for disposing of dredged sediments from around Portland’s working waterfront.

When you meet this cheery, inquisitive aspiring attorney, she first asks about you, so you may not find out for a long time that her life experience includes being a decorated Army combat veteran who served in the Persian Gulf War, a pilot of Chinook and Huey helicopters, and a professional classical musician who has performed with national and international ensembles and symphonies. She enjoys hiking, kayaking, and running Maine’s Beach to Beacon Race and the Down East Sunrise Trail Relay. After she and her husband launched their own environmental consulting firm, she decided that legal skills would help them hone their campaigns to protect the environment.

A Maine native, Jenny is delighted to be able to spend some of the best time of the year in her home state. She and her family were living in North Carolina before moving to Vermont. Maine would be lucky to lure her back home after law school.


Joshua Clukey

DSC03205Our summer intern Josh Clukey is a student at Southern Maine Community College (SMCC), the latest addition to a long-term affiliation between SMCC’s Marine Science program and Friends of Casco Bay, dating back 40 years. Joe Payne, Casco Baykeeper Emeritus, and our own Research Associate Mike Doan are graduates of the program. Mike is now mentoring Josh. Josh’s passion for the ocean evolved early. His grandparents live on Chebeague Island, and he comes from a “mixed family of educators and lobstermen” who supported his interest in marine science. Growing up, he attended several marine science summer camps from Bar Harbor, Maine, to Pigeon Key, Florida.

Josh is working on creating precise directions to more than 140 Nabbing Nitrogen sampling sites to be assigned to volunteers, who will collect water samples for Friends of Casco Bay on July 10th. After that, he will continue to work with Mike on clamflat research at Wolfe’s Neck in Freeport.

Even as a first year student, Josh already has had the opportunity to work on two genetics research projects. One, with SMCC Professor Brian Tarbox, compares the mitochondrial DNA of migratory blue fin tuna caught in the Gulf of Maine with known mitochondrial DNA from separate spawning stocks on either side of the Atlantic. Josh also engaged in a short-term course at Mt. Desert Island Biological Laboratory, looking into how eelgrass responds to environmental stresses on a genetic level, to try to understand why eelgrass beds are disappearing in this region.
After completing his Associate’s Degree next spring, Josh plans to continue his studies at University of New England or University of Southern Maine. By starting at SMCC, Josh figures he is saving about $80,000 on his way to achieving a Master’s degree in Marine Science. In addition, Josh gets to work with us!


Meghan Suslovic

MeghanSuslovicIf you were to ask Meghan Suslovic what worries her about the future, you might expect her to mention keeping up her grades or deciding on a career. Instead, she talks about sea level rise and its impact on coastal communities, from Portland‘s Bayside neighborhood to Boston Harbor to rapidly shrinking tropical islands.

Meghan is a rising senior at Smith College in Northampton, Massachusetts, majoring in Environmental Science and Policy. There she has been deeply involved in a year-long climate change initiative, which will be making recommendations on sustainability to the president and trustees of the College. Next semester, she will be based in Mystic, Connecticut, in a Maritime Studies program, which will include extended field work along the Pacific, Atlantic, and Gulf Coasts.

Until then, she is volunteering with Friends of Casco Bay on our new, year-round data sonde monitoring effort on Cousins Island, collecting continuous data to document the health of the Bay. She is also working on mapping existing and proposed aquaculture sites in Casco Bay.

Her favorite activity to date has been supporting a team of volunteers from RBC Wealth Management, who sprinted through the Old Port last week stenciling 109 storm drains in less than two hours.