H2O for Life Director of Finance/Volunteer Coordinator, Carol Collins, recently sat down to chat with Olivia Landiak. Olivia is interning with H2O for Life this summer and has been key to matching our curriculum with common core standards. Always eager to help, Olivia has also made improvements to other H2O for Life programs.
Carol: Tell us a bit about yourself.
Olivia: I was born and raised in Naperville, Illinois. I am the youngest of 3 siblings and we are all super close- I love them! I am going to be a senior at DePaul University where I am majoring in Environmental Studies and Sustainability. I am also on DePaul’s women’s club soccer team. Athletics have always been a huge part of my life, and after taking a break from soccer in high school, I decided I’d pick it up again in college! I have always been an athlete– soccer, tennis, track and water polo. Sports were always a centerpiece of my family, so not participating in them wasn’t much of a choice! I love being outdoors! I came to Minnesota to intern and love it here as there are so many outside activities. One of my hobbies is collecting sea glass whenever we’re at the beach and bringing it home to make jewelry. I love the ocean and creating things so it’s a good way to combine both! (Carol’s note: maybe we will see a piece or two at the Water Ball’s Silent Auction???)
Carol: How did you get interested in the environment and water issues?
Olivia: When I went to college I knew whatever path I took, it would have to involve the outdoors; I am not the office type and have known that for a while. During my sophomore year, I was at Hope College in Michigan and I remember talking to one of my professors about water issues becoming more upfront in the news. He’s the one who steered me towards Hydro Geology. Also, I wanted a career where I could help people, especially in the developing world. It’s almost as if there was a gravitational pull towards Environmental Studies and Sustainability.
Carol: What you’ve been doing for H2O for Life?
Olivia: I have been able to do a wide variety of things. I matched H2O for Life’s curriculum to the common core standards and made sure everything was relevant and up to date. I also set up social media for the Race to Reduce program H2O for Life is collaborating with. Lastly, I have been working on the Water Ball for the silent auction and helping paint rain barrels to sell at the Water Ball.
Carol: What has been your favorite part of your internship?
Olivia: Working on the curriculum, seeing all the lesson plans and everything H2O for Life provides for schools in the US to study the issues. My studies at school were more science based and not as focused on the education advocacy part. This has given me a different perspective and helped me become more well-rounded.
Carol: What will you take away from your summer here?
Olivia: Watching Patty work– going after any opportunities- and her gung-ho attitude. She is so well-connected and never crosses off any opportunity– you never know where something is going to lead!
Carol: Has anything surprised you about working for a non-profit or more specifically, H2O for Life?
Olivia: The biggest thing is the office staff! The ratio of the number of employees and how many people they touch! There are only 4 employees and the impact and ripple effect they have on the country and the world is impressive!
Carol: Would you recommend an internship to H2O for Life to someone?
Olivia: It is a great opportunity to see how a non-profit operates! How these passionate people working for H2O for Life can accomplish so much and help so many. I am currently in an internship class called Corporate Social Responsibility. We discuss the values that companies should base their operations around and how doing so can affect the company. It is so easy to explain H2O for Life as successfully demonstrating standards such as “striving for excellence,” “affecting a larger community” and “listening to the perspective of others.” They should be a poster child for corporate social responsibility! I admire how H2O for Life values their role in social responsibility and anyone would be lucky to be exposed to such a company.